Thursday, 19 September 2019



Okay, okay, I admit it: Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning actually isn't very good. There, I've said it. Happy now? I've always maintained an irrational affection for this fifth instalment in the series, mainly because it was the first Friday movie I ever saw (indeed, one of the very first slasher movies I ever saw), and I saw it entirely alone in my local 1600-seat Granada. You can't buy memories like that. Even watching it again on VHS and DVD didn't kill the film for me. But then, most recently, revisiting it on the import Blu finally shattered any last illusions that it might not have been all that bad - it is. That clanging sound you hear is the scales falling from my eyes and shattering on the floor.

This is, of course, the one in which Jason only makes a token cameo appearance in a dream sequence and then it's someone else in the hockey mask killing off the local imbecile population of somewhere which isn't Camp Crystal Lake: it's a halfway house for disturbed teenagers, including newest arrival Tommy Jarvis who killed Jason at the end of Part 4 but is now troubled with nightmares. (Mysteriously he's now played by a grown adult 12 years older than early teenager Corey Feldman in Part 4 despite there only being one year between films.) But if Jason is actually, really, genuinely, truly dead, who's the hockey-masked killer picking off the patients, staff and sundry locals?

You do get a large body count: an assortment of nasty if MPAA-friendly deaths from some of the stupidest and least plausible machete magnets you've ever seen in even the dumbest of cheap sitcoms. Included in the halfwit roll call are: a top music star who lives in a Winnebago and who gets killed in a portaloo, a yeehawing redneck biker and his yeehawing redneck mom (rivalling the bickering store owners from Part 3 for irrelevance and irritation) and two stone-cold brain donors looking to pick up girls with phenomenally low standards. Dialogue and acting would be rudimentary in a below-average nativity play, and if it wasn't for Harry Manfredini's violin section working overtime while the familiar Final Girl routine is cranked up for the last reel it would be absolutely unwatchable.

The climactic battle in the barn with the lightning storm raging outside is really the only point at which the film comes to anything like slasher life, and it's hardly surprising that future instalments went back to Jason himself rather than an unlikely impostor: A New Beginning was actually An Unfortunate Diversion. It's not the worst of the slashers - it's never actively boring or offensive - but it is certainly one of the least of the Fridays overall and the weakest at least up to that point. And clearly it always was. Even my nostalgic soft spot for it has pretty much faded.


No comments: