The Jason Voorhees Marathon: Part VIII
This franchise used to feature a lumbering, undead monster. Now it is a lumbering, undead monster. No matter what dumb crap they throw in, it won’t die. Jason has died and come back, died again and been brought back to life with lightning and then put in a coma in the lake then came back and put back in a coma in the lake by a psychic. They’ve got to trot out something impressive to keep this shit interesting.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Director: Rob Hedden
Plot: It’s right there in the title, right? Jason is going to the BIG APPLE!
Cast: Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Barbara Bingham, Peter Mark Richman, V.C. Dupree, Kelly Hu
Review: Um, why isn’t he in Manhattan?
Ok, to be fair I had a lot of people tell me in advance that the title is a lie and that Jason only turns up in the big city during the last few minutes. This isn’t entirely fair…he spends about a third of a movie stomping around New York but they have not taken advantage of the set-up. Ironically most the New York scenes were filmed elsewhere because they couldn’t afford to be on location.
The rest of the movie is on a boring-ass boat. There’s a bunch of students and a cranky teacher. Rennie (Daggett) is our lead character now, a nervous girl who suffers recurring hallucinations of a boy drowning. Jason, meanwhile, is still at the bottom the lake. A houseboat drags its anchor over an electric cable, zapping Jason and bringing him back to the surface where he eventually finds his way onto the boat of students. Jason does his thing, the boat eventually sinks and they wash up in Manhattan where the chase continues.
There’s a couple of good notes on this one despite the reputation. Switching up the location is a solid move, as finding more reasons to return to Crystal Lake was getting tiresome. Being trapped on a boat adds to the sense of danger, especially as the vessel goes more and more out of control. When they do eventually get to New York we have chases through the docks, the subway, Times Square and eventually the sewers where Jason is dissolved in toxic waste.
On the other hand, Rennie’s backstory reveal is as anti-climatic as they come. After teasing it out for over an hour they reveal that she was thrown in the lake to learn how to swim, only for a young Jason to grab onto her in the water. This tells us that her adopted father, the teacher (Richman), is a dick but we already knew that.
Ultimately this is another tired sequel. Jason is just doing his thing as usual in a new setting, but it doesn’t change much at the end of the day. The poster, title and even the extended opening montage of the shittier side of New York promise that Jason is going to take the whole city apart and it just doesn’t happen. He stomps about after the same two victims and no-one in the area gives him a second glance. It’s actually a bit perplexing that no-one cares about this giant monster with a hockey mask and machete trying to kill people.
This could have been a good film if they didn’t try and sell it as something different.
Rating: FOUR out of TEN
Jason’s Best Kill: Jamming a stone from a sauna into a dudes stomach was, I must say, quite an interesting approach. Bravo.