Friday the 13th: Jason Lives (1986)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Look, it’s Frankenstein!

Everyone knows that you can’t just get away with killing off the main villain of a huge horror film franchise. The real question arises at how they will explain it. Horror films have a way at grasping at straws with explanations, yet have those ridiculous explanations suffice. At the same time…I’m a critic, and I have to judge those explanations appropriately. Now, when it comes down to Friday the 13th: Jason Lives, the title not only spoiled things, but it also made me disappointed. I personally liked how Jason was portrayed as an idea rather than a person in the previous film. That changed things and kept things fresh, however, Jason is a fan favorite, so Jason being Jason is preferred.

Again, Tommy Jarvis returns to the series with even more plans to take Jason out for good. His plans to rid the world of Jason’s body turn awry, and he ends up with something more closely resembling a Frankenstein monster, continuing to wreak havoc on Crystal Lake once more. Camp Crystal Lake’s name has since been changed, but it is now fully operational, which is why this film takes place during summer camp with plenty of kids. Can Tommy keep it up and find another way to destroy Jason “for good”? Find out in this sixth installment.

As soon as Jason died in the fourth film, I was thinking to myself that if they are going to bring Jason back, it better have a good explanation. Since there are so many installments in the series, I figured they would bring him back, so how did they do it might you ask? Simple, Frankenstein style…Tommy goes back to dig up old booger-face in order to burn his body, he gets mad at it and stabs it with a piece of fence. So…when lightning strikes, it jump starts Jason and suddenly we have a movie that’s grasping at straws. I guess it makes sense that you can’t have the franchise without the original villain, but come on.

Anyways, I’m glad that they kept Tommy for the series, but it’s a little disappointing that they changed actors again. The first time…I get it, age difference, but now all I’m thinking is that his character has been casted as many times as The Hulk. It’s okay though, it’s the character that we like. Now…the thing is that his character is a bit of a plot hole in itself. At the end of the previous film, Tommy pretty much completely transformed into Jason – mentally speaking. He kills a girl at the end, hinting at what’s to come. That idea was thrown out the window, apparently.

Here is a major change: the kids. There have been kids for the last three films, but no more than one. One child is easy to protect, but this time…there are dozens of kids, and knowing how Jason works definitely heightens the stress and ultimately level of danger. Now, half of the film you’re not even going to remember that there are kids there, because the focus is definitely not on them…I think it should be, but it’s not. Primarily, the focus is on Zombie Jason, and for once I like that. The other films you basically knew it was Jason, but you only saw him at the end of the film, this one had more Jason…hockey mask…crazy killer screen time, and as far as horror film goes – that was a smart move. It gives him more personality.

What’s really interesting to note is that before they changed the rating, it used to be “X”. Funny enough, this is the first film in the franchise NOT to have nudity, and most people associate an “X” rating with explicit sex scenes. That being said, an R rating definitely fits the film better in regards to the violence. I wouldn’t say it’s all that much more violent or showy, but maybe a smidgen.

Friday the 13th: Jason Lives is where the franchise begins grasping at straws beginning with Frankenstein-style Zombie Jason. The gore was still on par and thankfully the tone is pretty much the same as its always been, but I don’t feel like the series is going places anymore, which can really be hurtful to the series as a whole.

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