FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING
Director: Danny Steinmann
Year of release: 1985
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 92 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "If Jason still haunts you, you're not alone".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Showing a rare bit of character continuity for the series this installment picks up the story of Tommy Jarvis who is now a young man some years after his battle with Jason as seen in the Final Chapter. We learn that he has been shuffled through a variety of different mental health hospitals and has been prescribed many different drugs since his encounter with Jason. We join Tommy as he is transferred to a new more lenient, less structured and less security conscious halfway house compared to those he has been in before. It serves as a kind of gateway to ease troubled people back into society. Soon after Tommy's arrival two of the other patients get into an altercation which results in one killing the other with an axe. Soon after the killer is carted off by the police, bodies start turning up left and right , both those of the patients and staff and also those of local townspeople. It all very much looks like the work of Jason Vorhees. Is he back from the dead?
Good points: It was a positive to see Tommy Jarvis again as normally of course with this franchise Jason aside we get an entirely new cast of characters each time so it was refreshing here to have that changed a little bit. All of his scenes were pretty good with the actor doing a fine job of portraying the mentally disturbed Tommy. I think they were on the right track with what they were trying to build up towards the end of this one with Tommy becoming a killer in the way that Jason was so I was a bit disappointed they ultimately decided against pursuing that route in the next film. Anyway when we did see Tommy here he was easily the best thing on screen and I was left ruing the fact that we didn't see more of him in fact which goes to show how watchable things were when he was around.
There is a lot of variety in the deaths in this one with some of the different methods being enjoyable. Some inventive ones include a man being killed in a portable toilet type thing, a death involving a flare and although not as original but perhaps more satisfying due to how annoying the person is a decapitation while the victim is riding a motorcycle.
I liked the setting of the halfway house and the grounds, a place which seemed to take on a more sinister edge for me after the early killing with the axe. Again as with Tommy I would have liked to have seen more of the action take place here instead of it spilling out into the town and surrounding woodlands as I didn't enjoy those parts as much.
The whole affair has a ultra camp, comedic fun feel to it which although not really to my taste might be a plus point for some and it does provide some entertaining moments along the way to be fair. Violet's robot dance in particular is a nice touch and kind of a homage to Jimmy's dance in the previous film and I enjoyed the tongue in cheek nod to The Burning with one of the kills, a film itself inspired by this series.
A bit of a spoiler here with this point so don't read this bit if you haven't seen the film. I didn't mind the twist at the end involving Roy, in fact I rather liked it and would have been happy for Jason to have remained in his grave. They tried something different and I appreciate that. I know a lot of fans were disappointed and maybe felt cheated with regards to Roy but for me I was pleased to see them try and go in a different direction.
Bad Points: There were too many minor characters that just existed to be killed off and that other than that didn't have any relevance to the story. Too many cooks spoil the broth they say and for me that was the case here. The body count was huge with too many of them being forgettable and not worthy of being included.
Due to all this needless slaughter going on of random characters the main issue at hand, that being Tommy and his situation at the halfway house with his new friends/fellow patients was put on the backburner too much. These scenes were by far and away the best things about the film but we didn't get enough of it so even the good stuff came across as underdeveloped. For example towards the end Tommy completely disappears for a while with little explanation. I suppose it was done as during his time away three corpses are found in his room so they perhaps wanted us to think he was the killer but I felt it was a mistake to have him off camera for so long as it falls apart without him.
A huge negative point for me were the two red neck hill billy type characters Ethel and Junior who live not far from the halfway house. I absolutely hated these two, frankly I found them to be two simply atrocious characters who almost single handily ruined the film. I suppose they were supposed to be a parody of Jason and his mother with it this time being the son who gets decapitated while the mother drowns in the pot of stew or whatever it was but I certainly could have done without the whole debacle.
There was a very underdeveloped sub plot involving the local sheriff who was under pressure from his superiors to solve the murders. The sheriff felt it was perhaps Jason was back from the dead or maybe he never died in the first place but no one believed him. This avenue was quite promising and they could have added some cool mystery elements to the film which could have shown more of the sheriff's investigation possibly with him (the sheriff) teaming up with Tommy or at least attempting to. Sadly it didn't go anywhere and was ignored from that point on in favour of needless kills that didn't add much to the film.
Verdict: This is the worst entry in the series for me as although I very much enjoyed the continuation of Tommy's story it all just got too bogged down with too much silliness and stupid characters who's only purpose was to get killed and extend the bodycount. There is a decent story in there somewhere trying to get out but it feels all but lost amongst all the dross. When I like it I like it a lot but unfortunately the opposite is also true and there is a lot lot more bad than good.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Joey: Killed by Vic with an axe. 2) Greaser #1: Killed with a flare to the mouth. 3) Greaser #2: Throat cut while sitting in the car. 4) Billy: Axe to the head as he leans out of his car. 5) Lana: Axe to the stomach as he leaves the car. 6) Vagrant farmhand: Stabbed as he watches Tina and Eddie having sex. 7) Tina: Head cut with garden shears. 8) Eddie: Pushed up against a tree with a belt around his eyes which is then pulled behind the tree and twisted. 9) Anita: Stabbed off camera. 10) Demon: Stabbed through the walls of the toilet outhouse. 11) Junior: Decapitated as he rides his motorcycle. 12) Ethel: Stabbed through the window, head then falls into a pot of stew. 13) Jake: Stabbed as he comes out of the bedroom. 14) Robin: Realises she is lying next to Jake's corpse in the bunk bed and is then stabbed through the bunk from the lower bed. 15) Violet: Stabbed after doing her dance routine. 16) Paramedic: Body found lolling out of the ambulance, throat maybe cut. 17) Doctor Matt: Found impaled on a tree. 18) Grandfather George: Thrown through a window in traditional Friday fashion. Presumably was already dead before that with maybe his eyes being pulled out. 19) Roy: Knocked off the barn hayloft thing onto a bed of spikes. I won't count Pam seeing that she was still okay as the film ended.