Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
friday the 13th | friday the 13: a new beginning | sequel | jason voorhees | slasher | mystery | thriller | united states | danny steinmann | martin kitrosser | david cohen | melanie kinnaman | john shepherd | anthony barrile | miguel a. nunez jr. | deborah voorhees
Film: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Director: Danny Steinmann
Writers: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen and Danny Steinmann
Starring: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd and Anthony Barrile
This is one of the movies from the series that I would watch regularly. It always seemed to be on the movie channels. While growing up, I knew that this one was different. I didn’t necessarily figure out why until I got a bit older and understood things more. I did have fun with this one as we get killing and nudity, so young me loved that. This is the first time watching it with a critical eye with a second one after getting the Blu-ray boxset.
Synopsis: still haunted by the past, Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd), who as a child a child killed Jason Voorhees is sent to a secluded halfway house in the countryside where the killing of a young man triggers a brutal series of murders.
We start this movie off seeing the young Tommy (Corey Feldman) looking at the grave of Jason. A couple of graverobbers spook him to hide in the bushes. They uncover the casket and this wakes up the prolific killer. He makes short work of them and comes for Tommy.
It turns out to be a dream though. Tommy is now an adult and on his way to the halfway house. He arrives and his treated rudely by Billy (Bob DeSimone) who is a nurse from the mental institution that Tommy was kept. He was there due to the events of the earlier movie and his encounter with Jason. This place is run by Matt (Richard Young) along with Pam (Melanie Kinnaman). They try to get Tommy to talk, but he is resistant.
I should take the time to point out that this is for people who have mental issues and, my guess, criminals. Some can be violent, but it seems for the most part that the rest aren’t. Staying alongside Tommy are Joey (Dominick Brascia) who is a ward of the state. There is Robin (Juliette Cummins), Violet (Tiffany Helm), Pete (Corey Parker), Victor (Mark Venturini), Tina (Deborah Voorhees) and George (Vernon Washington). Staying here for the summer is Reggie (Shavar Ross) since his grandfather works here.
Not everyone likes having this place nearby. Ethel (Carol Locatell) lives on a farm with her son Junior (Ron Sloan). She doesn’t like these teens coming on to her property. Sheriff Tucker (Marco St. John) tells Matt to keep them off, but he likes what they’re trying to do with this place.
That is until Victor snaps. He kills Joey with an ax in a fit of rage. This excites Ethel as it strengthens her case. As the synopsis states, a series of murders happen afterward. People at this halfway house are targeted, but that’s not it. Is Jason back to get his revenge on Tommy? Or is someone donning the mask for another reason?
I think that does enough to flesh things out here. I’m assuming that most everyone reading this knows the reveal as to who the killer is. I won’t spoil it just in case, but I like what this movie is doing. It is the Halloween 3 of the series as it tries something a bit different. We continue the story from the earlier movie, which I give credit to this series for its continuity. The only true hiccup in my eyes is from one to two, but I still enjoy both. We move along with the idea that Tommy killed Jason. What he went through messed him up. This movie shows him trying to acclimate back into society. He has his issues that he is dealing with and struggling to fit in. He also has anger problems. That is where I want to start with delving deeper.
What I mean here is that Tommy is interesting. He still sees Jason. This feels like it is borrowing from Halloween with that. Tommy knows it isn’t real. He knows coping mechanisms to make them go away. We do see that he is susceptible to fits of rage as I said. He blows up at Reggie for touching the masks he makes. He also snaps and attacks another person at breakfast. I like this idea that Tommy could be taking the mantel. Having seen this movie before, I like that there is a long stretch where he disappears. There are deaths happening at that time. This toes the line of having an interesting route to take the series. The reveal at the end is more obvious with knowing what to look for. It still has rewatchability though, which is big for me.
The reason that it does is that this is a fun slasher to me. It has all the elements that I think a movie like this should have. We have a high body count. There are a variety of deaths which is fun. Our killer toys with victims. The biggest problem here is that the MPAA censored this movie too much. An uncut version would be nice. The movie cuts away and we have off-screen deaths. Do I need that version to enjoy this? No. With what we get I’m satisfied. I will give credit to what we see. The effects were practical. The cinematography is also good for a movie like this. Plus, we get a decent amount of nudity. This all works and makes this a popcorn slasher for me.
Since I’m moving over to the filmmaking aspects, I’ll takes this then to the acting. This is also solid for a movie like this. I don’t think anyone is going to win an award, but we have distinct enough characters for a slasher. I like Kinnaman as Pam. She is fine in showing fear. Ross is fun as Reggie the Reckless. Shepherd isn’t a great Tommy, but I think he does well in the unhinged version that we need here. The teens at this halfway house are solid, which I’ll give credit to Voorhees, Washington, Venturini and Cummins. I liked the cameos by Feldman, Miguel A. Núñez Jr. and Jere Fields. Also, special credit to Johnny Hock, Tom Morga and Dick Wiand as Jason.
The last thing to just drop in here would be the soundtrack. This isn’t the best work by Harry Manfredini, but I think this one still good. He elevates the series. It adds tension and are some of the more iconic scores for slasher movies in my opinion.
In conclusion, this isn’t the best in the series, but I still respect it as a popcorn slasher. It tried to do something different. For me that works. There was a way that they could have made it even more interesting but decided to go a different route. I’d say that the acting is fine. The effects were neutered. What we get are still good though. The soundtrack isn’t the best either, but I still enjoyed what Manfredini did. This is an above average movie that just comes up short of being good. If you like the series or slasher movies and you want a fun one, check this out.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10