Director: James Isaac
Year of release: 2001
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 91 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Taglines: "Evil gets an upgrade" and "Welcome to the future of horror".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: In a different turn of events from the previous Friday films this one takes place some-time in the future where it becomes apparent Jason has been detained by a government body keen to investigate his uncanny ability to resist damage. Concluding he is too dangerous and fearing an escape the lead doctor on the project, a doctor Rowan decides to have Jason cryogenically frozen. The idea being that he’ll be put on ice until such a time down the road when the technology is available to better contain him so the testing can continue. Halting the proceedings however is another doctor who intervenes with the intention of continuing the current research for monetary purposes. During the hold up Jason manages to break free of his restraints to cause his usual mayhem. Rowan manages to lure him into the cryogenic chamber but is injured herself by Jason as the door is sealed. This situation causes a door breach of some sort which causes the whole facility to go into lockdown and for whatever reason then abandoned with both Jason and Rowan frozen inside.
The story then jumps forward some 400 years to a time where the human race has relocated from Earth to another planet. With space travel now commonplace a group of salvage hunter explorers together with a group of students arrive on Earth to investigate the ruins of the former research facility. Both Jason and Rowan are discovered and promptly taken back onboard the main ship which takes off into the galaxy. Soon enough a thawed out and very much reanimated Jason is running amok on the ship which puts Rowan and her new crew mates in grave danger.
Good points: *With the vast majority of the story taking place in space Jason X feels vastly different from most of what else is available. When it comes to slashers the only others I can think of with a similar setting are Spaceship Terror and an entry from the Leprechaun series. It’s really something to see the iconic slasher villain stalking around the corridors of a space ship and it’s worth watching for the novelty value of that alone.
*The film goes down the more comedic tongue in cheek approach which works well. Though not my usual thing as I’ve said before in this case with Jason being put into space it suits the over the top style of the film.
There are some funny characters like Azrael and the fembot android Kay-Em as well as Professor Lowe. One entertaining addition to the film in keeping with the comedy angle is a recreation of the fan favourite sleeping bag kill from earlier in the franchise.
As well as delivering some humour with the characters there are some pretty likeable ones as well, chief among them final girl Doctor Rowan. Sgt Brodski, the aforementioned Kay-Em and her programmer/creator Tysunaron also stand out for the right reasons.
*Jason X certainly doesn’t scrimp on the gore effects delivering a handful of very good deaths. Mild spoilers: There is great make up work throughout film but some parts that stood out for me were the soldier impaled on the giant drill/corkscrew and Jason being blown apart by Kay-Em towards the end. Best of all is my personal favourite kill from the entire franchise in which Jason submerges Adrienne’s face in liquid nitrogen before shattering it on the counter top.
Bad Points: *No attempt is made at continuing anything seen in the Paramount Friday films or even the New Line predecessor Jason Goes to Hell. How Jason managed to return both from Hell and the clutches of Freddy Krueger are things which are never explained. It’s as if it never happened.
Maybe even worse is how it’s very vague with it’s own plot in the beginning. It makes no attempt to elaborate or explain the situation of how Jason came to be a subject of study at the research facility.
*As mentioned I felt that the comedic streak running through the film mostly worked well but having said that there are still the odd few occasions where it just comes across as too silly and unrealistic. It’s only small nit-pick type things but they add up and ultimately dampened my enjoyment. For example the part where Janessa seduces Professor Lowe is weird as she makes use of some sort of large tweezer type implement to tweak his nipples. To me this just came across as very silly and nonsensical and a miss the mark attempt at humour. Surely it would have been better to utilise proper bondage gear if they wanted to go down that type of route, nipple clamps or hot wax or something?
Similarly it’s unrealistic that Adrienne is wearing normal clothes to dissect Jason and not some kind of hospital whites type outfit. It seems lazy to me like they can’t be bothered.
It’s not really connected to the comedy at all but it’s also unrealistic to some extent that Rowan would be revived on the ship as you’d think they would wait until they got back to their home planet so that there would be psychologists and such on hand to help her get over the shock of waking up so far in the future. I’m really over thinking it with that though of course.
*Although not a negative for me as I liked the space setting this could be something which irritates purists as it’s so far removed from the roots of the series that it feels like a totally different animal. Though I appreciate the fresh change of direction myself for others it may be seen as pushing things too far.
Verdict: Definitely one of the more interesting and noteworthy of the Friday sequels this scores points with me for offering up something quite different to what we’ve seen before. This was done to some degree last time out with the body jumping angle is Jason Goes to Hell but here I think the new direction of being set in the future in space makes for a more enjoyable film. It’s not going to be for everybody, perhaps an acquired taste but I think it’s good that they made such an effort to change the formula and provide something different. I for one think that space makes for a top notch setting for a horror story.
You have to ignore what’s a threadbare plot at the beginning and the lack of continuity is annoying but overall I very much feel that Jason X makes for a fun and entertaining entry into the franchise.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Private Johnson: Killed off screen, later found dead.
2)Guard/soldier #1: Killed quickly by Jason.
3)Guard/soldier #2: As above.
4)Guard/soldier #3: As above
5)Guard/soldier #4: As above
6)Dr Wimmer: Pole thrown through head.
7)Sgt Marcus: Thrown through a door, presumably dies shortly after.
8)Adrienne: Face dipped in liquid nitrogen and then shattered.
9)Stoney: Stabbed in stomach with machete.
10)Azrael: Back broken over Jason’s knee.
11)Dallas: Head smashed against wall.
12)Sven: Neck broken.
13)Condor: Impaled on large corkscrew/drill type device.
14)Geko: Throat cut with machete.
15)Kicker: Cut in half with machete.
16)Briggs: Impaled on large hook (death mainly off camera).
17)Fat Lou: Hacked up off camera, bits found on console.
18)Professor Lowe: Decapitated off camera with severed head discovered later.
19)Kinsa: Kills herself by accident after causing shuttle to crash.
20)Crutch: Head knocked into console which electrocutes him.
21)Waylander: Sacrifices himself by detonating explosives after a fight with Jason.
22)Janessa: Sucked through a grate into space, cut to bits as she passes through the grate.
23)Sgt Brodski: Dies entering the home planet’s atmosphere as he struggles with Jason.
Note: Many others would have also died in the explosion of the space station.