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Friday the 13th A New Beginning

Year : 1985 Director : Danny Steinmann Running Time : 88 MInutes Genre :
Movie review score
3/5

At this point in the Friday the 13th franchise history, the series is a money making making machine.  They have released four movies to this point, compared to three Halloween movies, and only one A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Critics never understood the movies, but the fans sure did.  Jason Voorhees was a pop horror icon.  The idea that Jason Voorhees died at the end of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter had to be altered.  Jason needed to be resurrected in a way, but how exactly would they do it?  The answers came with the release of the fifth film, Friday the 13th A New Beginning.

As Friday the 13th A New Beginning opens, we see the young Tommy Jarvis, once again played by Corey Feldman, visiting Jason’s grave on a dark and stormy night.  Two guys came from out of nowhere, and decided that they want to dig up Jason from the ground.  Frightened, Tommy hid in the bushes, and watched them do it.  Before the grave robbers could fully dig him up, Jason awoke his crypt slumber, machete in hand.  Yeah, they buried Jason with a machete… GENIUS.  He kills off the two men, and saw Tommy hiding.  Jason approached Tommy, who is frozen in terror, and raises the machete into the air.    Just as he is about to murder Tommy, the camera quickly cut to an adult Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) awaking from a nightmare.  Turns out the whole thing was just a dream.

Tommy is being drove to a new halfway house, ironically named Pinehurst,  for troubled teens.  He has been bouncing around from various halfway houses and mental institutions ever since he killed Jason Voorhees in self defense when he was a child.  He takes a lot of different drugs designed to help him forget the event.  In addition to the dreams, Tommy has hallucinations of Jason stalking him.  Tommy also hears the sounds of him killing Jason played like a record on a loop in his head.  “Die die die” while his sister yells “Tommy” is the reoccurring voice in his head.  Side note here, they do not say what happened to his sister Trish.  She did survive, just as Tommy did, but is never mentioned again.

There is a mixed group of teenagers at this halfway house.  It is never really explained as to why most of them are there.  Outside of a couple, they come off as normal teenagers.  The first one that Tommy meets is is a young boy named Reggie (Shavar Ross).  Reggie lives there because his grandfather is the cook.  Tommy and Reggie become friends after the two of them scare each other.  Messed up way to become friends, but hey it works for them.  Making out the rest of the group are the horny teenagers Tina and Eddie (Debi Sue Voorhees and John Robert Dixon), Robin (Juliette Cummins), the rocker chick with Gothic flair Violet (Tiffany Helm), Jake (Jerry Pavlon), a borderline down syndrome fat kid named Joey (Dominick Brascia),  and Vic (Mark Venturini) who has a violent anger problem.

One morning, the group is doing chores around the house, and Joey wanted to help out.  He first tried to help out the girls with the laundry, but got the chocolate from his hands all over the clothes.  Oh yeah, forgot to mention that not only is he fat, but he had chocolate running down the sides mouth, and on his hands, for the entire time he is in this movie.  After the girls yelled at him to leave them alone, Joey approached Vic who was off chopping wood.  Vic tried to tell Joey to leave him alone, but Joey didn’t listen.  Joey tried to give Vic a candy bar, which Vic chopped in half.  Joey didn’t like this fact, and got angry at Vic.  Vic showed some compassion by killing Joey and chopping him up with an axe.  Honestly, I wanted to chop up Joey at this point too, so perhaps Vic should be considered a good guy.

Vic gets taken away to jail as the group morns over the loss of Joey.  It is at this point that we also learn that the neighbors around Pinehurst do not particularly care for the house or any of it residents.  Most specifically, Tina and Eddie are always being caught on their property having sex.   The police warned the head of Pinehurst, Dr. Matt Letter (Richard Young), that perhaps he should just keep a better eye on the kids.  It appears that the police supports what they do there.   Also, it looked like the corpse of Joey disturbed one of the paramedics who were called out to remove the body.

As night fell, two guys unrelated to the group were driving down the street when their car broke down.  As the two of them tried to fix it, they get murdered one by one.  The murderer is not seen, but the method in which they die is very reminiscent of Jason Voorhees.  It can’t be though, remember Jason is dead.  The following morning, Tommy sees a hallucination of Jason in his room.  Could Jason be alive?  Could Tommy be going insane?  At this point we are not sure, but as night falls later that same day two more people are brutally murdered by an unseen killer.

The next day, the killings got closer to the home as Tina and Eddie are murdered in the woods next to Pinehurst after a sexual rendezvous.  Unaware of their deaths, the rest of the residents go about their normal day.  Reggie, Tommy, and a Pinehurst counselor named Pam (Melanie Kinnaman), go out to visit Reggie’s brother, played by Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. of Juwanna Mann fame, who is visiting the area.   Tommy gets into a fight with one of Pinehurst’s complaining neighbors, a hick named Junior (Ron Sloan), but then runs off into the woods.  This lead Pam to drive Reggie back to Pinehurst, and go to search for Tommy alone.

After Reggie is dropped off, and goes to bed, everyone who is still alive in the house is murdered.  So is Junior and him mom next door.  As well as all those folks, Reggie’s brother was also murdered…. NOT JUWANNA MANN!!!!!  I need a moment to recoup here.

Okay, I think I am alright to continue here.  At this point, we have yet to see who is committing the murders.  All we see are boots, maybe an arm, and the method in which the people are being killed.  In a way, this is a very cool set up, but considering that this is a Friday the 13th,something feels a little left out.  However,in the original Friday the 13th, we never see the murderer either.  I guess this is a throwback.

Reggie wakes up, and decided to walk around the house to see where everyone was at.  The poor kid walked into a room and found the bloody corpses of all his housemates.  He backed out of the room in fear, and bumped into Pam who has returned home.  He told Pam what he found, and she went in to investigate herself.  She screamed after seeing the bodies herself.  As the two of them tried to flee the house, the killer is finally seen.  HOLY CRAP IT’S JASON VOORHEES!!!!!

Pam and Reggie ran out into the woods, and Jason continued the chase.  Not long after, Reggie gets separated from Pam.  Jason pursued Pam, maybe because he remembered that it was a little kid who killed him the last time.  Best not go down that road again.  When things were about to look like the end of Pam, Reggie came to save the day driving a bulldozer.  Reggie crashed into Jason, thus furthering the fact that Jason is his weakest against kids.  Jason is quick to recover, and continued his chase into the barn Pam and Reggie ran into.  It is at this time that Tommy magically reappears and comes face to face with Jason Voorhees for the first time in years.  A small altercation happened between the two, and both get injured.  Eventually, Jason worked his way up to the barn’s loft.  After a few close calls, Jason is finally defeated by being knocked out of the barn loft’s window, and landing on a spike bed below.  As the three looked down at the corpse, they see that Jason’s mask had fallen off, and reviled a disturbing secret.  The killer was really the paramedic who was disturbed by the death of Joey earlier in the movie.  Turns out Joey was his son, and he was avenging his death by going on a murdering spree of his own.  Why he didn’t just kill Vic is unknown.  Why he chose to dress like Jason Voorhees is also unknown.  All we do know is that Jason wasn’t Jason, it was just some dude…. and they are not even near Crystal Lake either.  Just makes no sense.

The movie ends with Tommy in a new hospital.  He had a vision of Jason appear in front of him as he laid in his bed.  It is not long before the image faded away.  Pam came in to visit Tommy, and Tommy pulled out a machete and killed her as he laughed like a crazy person.  Tommy woke up, and it was all a dream… for the second time in the same movie.  Pam did come in to visit him after he awoke though.  She noticed that his window was broken.  As she walked over to checked it out, Tommy popped up behind her wearing Jason’s mask, knife in his hand, as if he was going to kill her.  ~Fin~

Friday the 13: A New Beginning was supposed to be the “passing of the torch” from Jason Voorhees to Tommy Jarvis.  Needless to say, fans of the franchise revolted against the idea.  Oh the backlash the film got was outrageous.  The fact that Jason wasn’t Jason, and it looked like Tommy would take over as Jason in the future was just too much for fans to take.  As such, this movie became the “black sheep” of the franchise.  This does not mean it was the worst, it just was different.  A New Beginning had the makings to be the most violent movie of the series.  Apparently it had to be submitted, and edited, nine times before the MPAA gave it a R-Rating.  I will say, without going though each movie and actually counting all the breasts, there is more nudity in this film than any other in the series.  Lots of T&A.  Maybe the combination of nudity and violence triggered a negative reaction.  Who knows?  Who cares?

On the Craptastic Scale, Friday the 13th A New Beginning gets a 3 out of 5 score.  This is the middle film of the “Tommy Jarvis” sub-trilogy, and is not the best of the three.  In many ways, this movie was better than The Final Chapter before it.  It had a better secondary cast, great scenery,  good suspense factor, great gore, lots of nudity and more.  What it didn’t have was Jason Voorhees.  That hurt this movie more than any other factor.  In addition “Jason” was killing teenagers that were supposed to have mental handicaps.  That isn’t cool, that is just wrong actually.  If those factors were not in this movie, it could have been among one of the best.  Friday the 13th A New Beginning is not out on BluRay, nor is it in Netflix instant.  You can pick up the DVD through Netflix and Amazon.  Like the previous film, I would say that this one is only worth owning if you wish to get the entire collection.

How did Friday the 13th A New Beginning rank among the rest of the franchise?  Click here to find out

-Matt Camarco
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