Friday, February 27, 2009

The Great Unwatched: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

Part of: Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan box set

Director: Danny Steinmann

Runtime: 92 minutes

I think I'm beginning to see the appeal behind the slasher genre. It's not that the films are particularly noteworthy in and of themselves so much as they're comforting. For your money, you get a fairly strict structure (kids do stupid things, maniac kills them) that challenges filmmakers to make the required parts more and more outrageous in order to maintain audience attention. If you ignore the plot (typically idiotic) and character "development" (rudimentary and telegraphed), you can focus on the real draw: creative special effects. The 1980s were like a buffet of proof-of-concepts of better ways to fake killing somebody.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning boasts the highest "kill count" of the series; some are very inventive and others are rote. Most of the effects involved are well-executed, but there are a few instances here and there where they get ridiculously cheesy (the most unconvincing throat slitting in cinema, for instance). The movie really doesn't suffer for the fact that the rampaging psycho is a Jason Voorhees copycat and not the "real" Crystal Lake killer. Personally, I don't understand the vitriol directed at this entry. It's not really any better or worse than its immediate predecessor, The Final Chapter (how's that for a misnomer?). If you want a bunch of people playing pretendy-fun-dead, some amount of gore, and the standard quota of naked breasts for an R-rated film from the mid-1980s, the fifth Friday film isn't a terrible way to go.

Worth the purchase: Worth seeing at least once, but I probably should've just Netflixed it.

Stats: 2/403 movies watched in 3 days
Projection for Completion: October 21, 2010
Goal for Completion: February 25, 2010

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