Friday, April 13, 2012

The entire "Friday the 13th" series in a nutshell

By: Brandon Sites

Not sure what Friday the 13th film to watch this holiday weekend?!? Well, I am here to break down all the Friday the 13th films for you in a nutshell. Hopefully, this will provide you with the insight to make an informed decision. And remember, no swimming, drinking, smoking or sexing, if you want make it out of this weekend alive.

Remake: Technically well done, stylishly directed, but overall suffers from a lack of freshness. The story is too overly familiar and for a series known for innovative death sequences, the kills here are too paint by the numbers. Grade:  C 

Freddy vs. Jason: Why was this film called Freddy vs Jason? They might have as well called this A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 8, because Jason was a supporting character in his own film. This entry merged together two legendary horror characters rather clumsily. Grade:  C 

Jason X: Any time a series moves the action to outer space, that's usually a sign that the series has hit rock bottom. Jason X is no exception. Grade:  F  

Jason Goes to Hell:  It's an admirable thing to try to do something different to freshen up a long running series, but it's another to change the film up so much that it bears no resemblance to the other films in this long running series which is exactly what this final entry in the series is guilty of. Besides that, this entry fails to build up any suspense or terror and instead focuses on featuring gory, over the top set pieces with an emphasis on torture. However, the biggest problem with Jason Goes to Hell is the fact that Jason is barely on screen in his very own film! Grade:  F 

Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan:  Not enough of the film's action takes place in Manhattan and this entry is overlong by at least 10 mins. However, it is a technically proficient film with some unexpected character development and some nice creative touches here and there.
Grade:  C 

Part VII: The New Blood: Carrie vs Jason! Finally! Finally an entry that tries to break the mold and do something different. The plotting is fairly routine, but the battle royale between Jason and the film's female protagonist makes for an exciting final act. Grade:  B-  

Part VI: Jason Lives: So they added some humor this time around. So what! Too little. Too late. Just as bland and as uninspired as the previous entries in this series. Grade:  F 

Part V: A New Beginning: Opens up with a wonderfully stylish opening sequence, but then quickly falls apart. They could have had strong character development. They could have examined teen mental health issues. They could have drawn a parallel between the main character being so affected by the events of part four that he turns to violence. They could have..... THEY COULD HAVE. But unfortunately they don't. A predictable story told with unredeeming characters in unredeeming situations. This is the one entry in the series that disappoints me the most since there were so many great ideas that this film could have ran with, but didn't. Grade:  F 

The Final Chapter: Nothing new story wise. Nothing we haven't seen before, but this entry does have appealing characters, some genuine suspense & excitement, grisly kills and perfectly grotesque special effects by the legendary Tom Savini. Grade:  C+ 

Part III: This entry will be known for its 3-D effects. This entry is known for Jason getting his hokey mask. And this entry is a slight improvement over part two, but that's all faint praise. Just another uninspired slasher with another group of kids getting slaughtered one by one without any distinguishing characteristics. Grade:  F 

Part Two: The original Friday the 13th was known for its innovation, so that's what makes this sequel especially disappointing as it rips off every horror film in recent memory left and right, especially The Town That Dreaded Sundown & The Twitch of the Death Nerve. Grade:  F

Friday the 13th (1980): A little slow to start. A little wooden at times, but this is the slasher that started it all. Known for its legendary score, it's bloody special effects and most importantly, a legendary finale in which 50's star Betsy Palmer turns her wholesome image upside down to play a deranged maniac slaughtering sex starved teenagers holed up in a woodsy summer camp. The original Friday the 13th is the one that kick started the modern day slasher movement and set the bar to which others measure up to. Grade: B 

Overall: The original Friday the 13th pioneered a movement in the horror genre, but the subsequent sequels forgot to bring that same sense of innovation and the series got stuck doing the exact same thing over and over and over and over again. After awhile, the series was just stuck ripping off other films or even worse, itself, which is a pity when you think of how much the original changed the horror landscape. Any attempts at trying to do something different, we're just too little, too late. Average Grade:  D+


Pete said...

I remember loving numbers 2, 7, and the moment Jason knocks the dudes head off in 8 and even Jason X when Jason goes half cyborg!

Jamie Rosen said...

Jason X is the only one I've purchased, and I have to admit that a lot of what I love about it is probably what makes other people hate it -- it's basically a sci-fi comedy B movie. Although some elements are actually effective in a dramatic sense, like the poor girl who's so freaked out by Jason that she unwittingly (or not?) kills herself trying to escape.

It also has what is technically the highest bodycount of any slasher film, I believe, what with the space station being destroyed.

Erik (Drunketh) said...

Wow. That was harsh.