Unlike Nightmare on Elm Street, I didn’t grow up with Friday the 13th. The first one I saw was Part 7 when I was 15 and didn’t see the first one until the next year when I was in Italy. I didn’t see all of them until last year so now I have some real opinions on them.
For those who don’t know, the Friday the 13th movies center around a bunch of teens who are new camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. The problem is, there’s a legend that in the 1950s a boy named Jason Voorhees drowned in the lake while two on-duty counselors were busy having sex. Now, Jason has returned to wreak havoc on all who step foot on Camp Crystal Lake.
The first movie is the best our of the bunch. It sets up the series and the lore nicely and the kills are nicely done. Of course, we don’t Jason at all throughout the movie and we’re kept guessing who the killer is. SPOILERS: It’s Jason’s mom.
The second movie, while not as entertaining as the first, still has a lot to like. This is also the first time we actually see Jason, but he’s not wearing his iconic 1970s hockey goalie mask (I checked to see which goalie. It’s just a generic mask that you were able to find in any store. If it was based on Terry Sawchuck’s mask, then THAT’D be creepy.) He’s just wearing a sack over his head.
The third movie is where he gets his mask. It’s still basically the same as the first movie, but it’s still enjoyable.
To not sound like a broken record, all the movies are enjoyable up until number 6. Is where the franchise starts getting stale. Hell, Tommy Jarvis, introduced in part 4 which was supposed to be the final movie (it was even called The Final Chapter) is an interesting character but after part six not much is done with him. The deaths also get boring and unoriginal after part 4.
Part 8 is when the series becomes absolute crap. Part 8 is called Jason Takes Manhatten even though the movie doesn’t take in Manhatten until the last thirty minutes of the movie (figure that out. That all gets thrown out with part nine called Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Here is where the movie makers throw all the lore out the window and create a terrible movie with no redeeming qualities. Hell, Jason even goes out in one of the worst ways possible.
Then came Jason X. It’s Jason in space. While Jason’s design is awesome, the movie is all kinds of bad. What’s worse is that, while it’s rated R, the deaths are watered down. Not to mention the plot makes so sense and the movie just flounders from scene to scene.
Friday the 13th may be a great series it loses steam once part six happens. Jason is a great villain, but I still prefer Freddy Kreuger. Freddy and Jason do meet, but that’s a review for another day.