Saturday, May 14, 2016

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) is regarded as the nadir of the series, mainly because Jason is not in it. Oh, there's a hockey mask-wearing killer on the loose, but he's an imposter. That revelation comes out of left field, makes absolutely no sense, and is completely forgotten about by the time we move on to Part 6. I wouldn't say the preceding sequels were great movies, but they still packed the occasional chill and moment of fright. A New Beginning is when the series passed over into so-bad-it's-good territory.

After opening with a dream sequence where Corey Feldman briefly reprises his role as Tommy Jarvis, the movie begins with a now grown Tommy (John Shepard), traumatized by his encounter with Jason, being sent to a halfway house in the middle of the woods with other "weird" teenagers. One of the disturbed teens kills a fat, annoying resident and is taken away, and before long, it looks like Jason is back and up to his old tricks.

The characters are stupid and annoying for the most apart, especially "Reggie the Reckless" (Shavar Ross), a kid who spends most of the movie wearing a red track suit, acting tough, and getting on everyone's nerves. Characters are introduced only to be killed soon after, and the supporting cast is filled with one-note schtick, including a couple of greasers and a redneck mother and son who never stop yelling. Even the kills aren't particularly interesting this time around.

Plot-wise, the movie tries something different, at least when it's not the formulaic business of a killer hacking up teenagers. Tommy is scarred from the previous movie, and he seems to be losing his mind. At times, he sees Jason when he really isn't there (like in the mirror behind him), and occasionally, Tommy has an outburst against someone who says or does the wrong thing. The movie pushes toward Tommy taking up the mantle, er, the mask of Jason and becoming the killer himself, which he seemingly does in the final scene (this development is also ignored in the next movie). Better vetted, this might have made for a fascinating psychological transformation for a horror movie.

But of course, we got to have the killer hacking up teens plot eating up most of the running time. The movie kind of, sort of, not really tries to build intrigue by suggesting Jason is still alive or Tommy himself might be the killer. When the killer is unmasked, the movie acts like it's a mind-blowing revelation, but most people watching for the first time are going to wonder who the hell this wiggler is.

It's Roy the Paramedic, a bit character shown near the beginning of the movie responding to that first murder. Good luck remembering his face. Turns out that fat, annoying resident was his son, and seeing him dead just drove Roy insane that he decided to impersonate Jason and kill everyone he could. Good thing the sheriff is around at the end to explain all that.

As bad as the movie is, it's not boring. It's packed with a lot of goofy, cheesy nonsense. The murder of the fat kid comes out of nowhere and is funny for it; the kid is so annoying, his death is welcomed.  Tommy, for a guy who spent the last several being treated for mental and emotional issues, beats up people like a trained MMA fighter. A rocker chick dances the Robot to a New Wave song just before getting killed. Supposed scares are unintentionally funny, and the whole inclusion of Roy and the explanation for who he is and why he does what he does is just so hilariously miscalculated.

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