Let’s be clear, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, the fifth movie in the franchise, was made for all the wrong reasons. In the fourth Friday film, erroneously titled The Final Chapter, Jason was well and truly killed by a pre-pubescent, bald-headed, machete-wielding Corey Feldman. But the film did well, grossing nearly thirty-three million (on a 2.6 million dollar budget); there was clearly more money to be wrung from Friday fans, so how could they end the series there?
Then again, how could they not? Jason was dead, his ugly head cleaved nearly in half. The answer? Make it without Jason.
Yeah, I know. Bad idea. And no, this will not be a positive review.
Friday the 13th 5 is the second film in an unofficial trilogy featuring the character of Tommy Jarvis, played by Feldman in part 4 and by John Shepherd here. Tommy is all grown-up but still messed by his encounter with and subsequent hacking of Jason Voorhees. He is taken to some half-way house in the woods, populated by a group of attractive and nubile misfits.
Tommy still dreams of Jason and completely loses his garbage when someone wearing a hockey mask begins killing off the other weirdoes. It becomes apparent we viewers are meant to wonder exactly who the killer might be. Is it really Jason, back from the dead? Is it Tommy himself? Or is it the EMT who looked all freaked after that first death?
Yes, I just gave it away but, believe me, you won’t care.
More than any other Friday film, A New Beginning relies on T&A to keep its audience interested. One scene featuring a naked girl lying in the grass goes on so long one wonders if the crew simply forgot what they were doing.
Unfortunately, the focus on bare breasts seems to have been implemented to make up for rather bloodless kills. Tom Savini was clearly not involved with this one. Most of the blood-letting happens off screen, the camera riveted to surprised faces.
None of the kills are impressive, save one. Friday 5’s “plot” is set in motion by the murder of chocolate-enthusiast Joey. Whether Joey is mentally challenged or simply awkward beyond reason is unclear. What is clear is that he is annoying, so annoying that one of his fellow misfits kills him with an axe. This is the movie’s only surprising and satisfying kill.
Any other worthwhile scenes? Well, let’s see, there’s the guy who goes off into the woods to take a dump and comes back all twitchy and singing, like he’d done a few lines of coke while squatting in the bushes. There’s the outhouse duet. And there’s the weirdest dance sequence you’ll ever see—some kind of pop-and-lock meets miming done to eighties crap-rock.
But no interesting kills.
So what did I mean when I said Joey’s death gets this whole wreck moving? Well, seems the killer is Joey’s biological father. He blames the kids for Joey’s death and he wants revenge. Expecting a dumber motive? Not satisfied with the movie’s current level of stupidity as I described it? How about this: The one kid who escapes the killing spree completely unharmed, who isn’t even present for the rampage, is Vic . . . the dude who actually axed Joey.
The fact is, this movie can be skipped altogether. It adds nothing to the Jason mythology. In the next movie, Jason Lives, Jason is actually revived by Tommy Jarvis (this time played by Thom Mathews) as the powers-that-be take the series in a new direction, with Jason as an undead killer. But in part 5, you get a pretender, and an unimaginative one at that.
My suggestion: unless you’re a purist, go straight from 4 to 6.