By Crystal Lake, a young girl listens in distress to a violent argument
between her parents. When her father strikes her mother, the girl runs
away towards the lake and climbs down into a boat, pushing away from the
dock. Realising the situation, the girl’s father runs after her, telling
her that he is sorry and begging her to come back to safety. The girl
refuses, shrieking at her father that she hates him and wishes he were
dead. Abruptly, the dock on which the girl’s father stands begins to
shake violently. Terrified, the girl cries out that she is sorry, she
didn’t mean it, but the dock collapses beneath her father, who is struck
and dragged down to his death by the debris…. Dozing in a car, the grown
Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln) jerks awake from a dream about her
childhood tragedy. She questions the necessity of a return to Crystal
Lake, but her mother, Amanda (Susan Blu), while admitting how difficult
the situation is, insists that it is Tina’s best chance of avoiding a
return to the hospital. At their lake house, the Shepards find Dr Crews
(Terry Kiser), Tina’s psychiatrist, towards whom she is openly hostile.
The cabin next to the Shepards’ house is also occupied by a group of
young adults. One of them, Nick (Kevin Blair), attracted by Tina, runs
across to help when she drops her suitcase, but in her agitated frame of
mind she brusquely rebuffs him. Inside, Dr Crews insists on an immediate
therapy session. He places a matchbook on the table before Tina,
instructing her to focus her feelings and to make it move. Nothing
happens, and Crews angrily accuses Tina of not trying. She, too, grows
angry – and the matchbook slides across the table. Crews tells Tina that
her telekinesis is a projection of her guilt over her father’s death.
Tina complains bitterly that Crews is only being interested in her
ability, not in her. His denials make her angrier still, and the
matchbook bursts into flames…. Later, Tina cries as she looks at a
photograph of her father. Her mother tries to comfort her, but when she
sees Crews watching them, Tina runs away to the dock, where she relives
her father’s death. Sobbing, Tina whispers that she is so sorry,
that she wishes she could bring him back…. Beneath the waters of Crystal
Lake, a figure begins to stir – but it is not Tina’s father. The chain
that has held Jason Voorhees so many years snaps, freeing him. As he
breaks the surface of the water, Tina gasps in horror, then faints….
Later, inside, Tina tries to explain what happened, insisting that it
had nothing to do with her father. Crews nevertheless asserts that
Tina’s mind is manufacturing hallucinations as a response to her guilt.
Tina denies this furiously – and the glass over her father’s photograph
shatters…. Meanwhile, out on the road, a young man, Michael (William
Butler), and his girlfriend, Jane (Staci Greason), trudge wearily away
from their broken-down car. Michael’s insistence that they simply camp
where they are forces Jane to reveal that his friends have all gathered
at a cabin by the lake, as a surprise for his birthday. Back at the
Shepards’, Nick returns a stray item of Tina’s clothing, and invites her
to the party. Crews is disapproving, but Amanda insists that she needs a
chance to just be normal. In the woods, Michael excuses himself to
urinate. Suddenly, Jane is grabbed from behind and stabbed with a metal
spike. When Michael returns, he finds her body hanging from a tree. The
next instant, he is running for his life from a figure in a hockey-mask.
As Michael flees, Jason rips the spike from Jane’s body and hurls it
after him, impaling him…. At the cabin, Tina disrupts the party when she
has a terrifying vision of a young man being bloodily killed by a figure
in a hockey-mask….
Ah, dear me. Another year, another Friday The 13th
film. As I was writing the notes for this, my traditional
beginning-of-the-year visit with Jason Voorhees, it occurred to me that
I’d really better get my butt into gear with these things. Not only do I
still have VIII, IX and X to go after this, but
then, presumably, I have to put the whole thing on hold while I deal
with all – what? seven? – Nightmare On Elm Street films, before
I can allow myself to take a look at Freddy Vs Jason.
In other words – Tina Shepard isn’t the only one
around here suffering from horrifying visions.
The other thing that struck me while watching The
New Blood was the increasingly freaky nature of the F13
time-line. The events of F13 itself, as you may recall, occurred
in 1979. During F13:2 we hear that this was “five years ago”;
hence we’re up to 1984. Parts 2, 3 and 4 are
sequential, thus also 1984; but A New Beginning opens with a leap
of about ten years, as Tommy Jarvis grows up before our eyes – taking us
to about 1994. The period of Tommy’s residence in the nut-hatch between
A New Beginning and Jason Lives is indeterminate, but even
under a revolving-door psychiatric care policy we must be looking at a
year or two – say, 1996. And now we have The New Blood. The
childhood trauma sequence is preceded by a glimpse of The Laddie In The
Lake, so we’re looking at yet another lurch forward of about ten years,
which takes us toooo……
Hmm. Guess we’ll have to call The New Blood
a….contemporary drama….although you sure wouldn’t know it from
the clothing or hairstyles. Retro, thank God, has not yet delivered us
all into that particular hell.
The New Blood opens on
– surprise! – Friday the 13th, which happens to be the date
on which Jason “died”. It may even be the same day, assuming that the
Shepard family is simply too taken up with its own problems to notice
all the screaming and bloody mayhem going on just on the other side of
the lake. This is entirely possible, as from the Shepards’ cabin emanate
the sweet sounds of alcohol abuse and wife-beating. Listening in
distress, the young Tina runs off towards the lake, evading her pursuing
and repentant father by pushing out onto the lake in a small boat. He
tries to talk her in, but she responds only by shrieking that she hates
him and wishes him dead. (A thumbs-up to Jennifer Banko, the actress
playing the young Tina: she is really channelling Patty
MacCormack here.) A strange ripple snakes through the water from Tina’s
boat to the dock on which her father stands. It begins to lurch beneath
him and eventually collapses, depositing him in the water under a shower
of debris…. Flash forward to Tina and her mother driving towards Crystal
Lake – let’s face it, that “Forest Green” thing was doomed from the
outset – and remarks about doctors and hospitals let us know that all
has not been well with Tina during the intervening years. The Shepards
are meeting Tina’s own psychiatrist, Dr Crews, at the cabin; he believes
that she will make better progress if directly confronted with the scene
of her original trauma. (As Terry Kiser is most famous for a starring
role as a corpse, our hopes for Tina’s recovery are not high.) As Tina
and her mother arrive, we see that the house right next door is also
occupied, by a group of young adults. Ah! I love the sweet, gamey scent
of Spam In A Cabin, don’t you?
As Tina struggles with her suitcase, she catches the
eye of Nick, one of her temporary neighbours (in more senses than one),
who evinces a fine sense of self-preservation by forming an immediate
attachment for our obvious Final Girl. Inside, Crews insists on an
immediate “session”, which consists of Tina trying to move a matchbook
with her mind while Crews films her. Tina is resistant, and nothing
happens until Crews deliberately angers her, upon which the matchbook
first moves, then bursts into flames. Tina runs off in tears, and is
later found by her mother staring miserably at a big smiling photograph
of her father. (By the way, the cabin in which the Shepards have not set
foot for ten years is both immaculate, and completely furnished with
their own possessions.) Mother and daughter sob over how much they loved
him and how much they miss him, suggesting that in her non-paranormal
way, Amanda is just as mired in denial as her daughter. The appearance
of Crews breaks this up, and Tina runs off to the dock, where she cries
to her father about how sorry she is, and how she wishes she could bring
him back. Suddenly, Tina senses a presence, and as per Crews’
instructions, she focuses her feelings and concentrates. Alas….it
is not her father who responds. The water in the lake begins to churn,
and from it emerges a rotting figure in a hockey-mask. Tina faints….
….only to awaken to the unenviable task of trying to
convince her mother and Crews that her experience wasn’t simply an
hallucination. Another angry scene with her doctor ends in the
shattering of the glass over one of the many photographs of the
late Mr Shepard.
Meanwhile--- Tell me, if you’d been chained to
a rock at the bottom of a lake for the past ten years, what would be the
first thing you’d do when you got out? Well, if you’re Jason Voorhees,
it’s walk five miles through the woods on the off chance of encountering
some complete strangers to slaughter. And Crystal Lake being the kind of
place it is, he finds them. Michael and Jane are trudging along, having
abandoned their broken-down car. Michael is for camping where they are,
which forces Jane to tell him that they are actually on their way to a
surprise birthday party in his honour, to which his friends and
his cousin Nick have been invited. Consequently they continue on, until
Michael walks an unnecessarily long distance away from Jane to answer a
Call Of Nature, thus giving Jane the opportunity to answer the other
great Call Of Nature by getting stabbed with a metal spike. Michael
comes back to find her dangling from a tree and sprints away. Jason rips
the spike out of Victim #1 and hurls it at Victim #2, impaling him.
Meanwhile, Nick has talked Tina into joining the –
ahem – “party” next door, Amanda approving over Crews’ objections. We
then meet the rest of the Dead Meat, and believe me, the writers of
slasher films aren’t getting any better with character over time.
They’re actually getting worse. This crowd is so generic, I’m not
even going to bother putting names to them. (Besides, seven films in,
we’re starting to double up.) So – we got The Bitch, The Rich Jerk, The
Slutty Girlfriend, The Geek, The Pothead, The Attractive Girl Who Is
Interested In Said Pothead and The Dowdy Friend Who Is Jealous. Oh, and
The Token Black Couple, whose contribution is to quarrel for no reason
at all, make up for no reason at all, have sex – and then die. As does
every single other capitalised nonentity. Hope that doesn’t spoil
anything for you. Anyway, Tina eventually livens up what is, even by the
standards of this franchise, an exceedingly dull gathering by
having a vision of Michael’s death. She drops her drink and runs home,
only to find a metal spike embedded near the door of the cabin. Tina
again has to explain herself, and to Crews’ insistence that she is
suffering delusions, she retorts that this delusion left a metal
spike stuck in the woodwork. Zing! Except that of course when
Crews goes to check, there’s nothing there….
I suppose that, given that it is about ten
years since Jason’s last rampage, we can forgive our next couple of
victims for camping in the woods near Crystal Lake, and not
embitter their gruesome deaths by laughing at them as we otherwise
would. Victim #3 goes off to chop wood. With a machete. Oh, yeah. Jason
first slams his arm through #3’s body, and then, being nothing if not
thorough, breaks his neck. Having possessed himself of the machete –
oh, yeah! – he attends to Victim #4, waiting hopefully in a sleeping
bag for her lover’s return. Jason cuts his way into the tent, grabs
victim and bag both, and pulverises her by slamming her against a tree.
A character [sic.] scene follows. I had to
suffer through it, but I’ll spare you. Don’t say I never do
anything for you.
Nick meets Tina by the lake, and wins her confidence
by confessing his own rocky past. She tells him about her father, admits
that she has spent much of her life in institutions, and warns him away.
He responds by kissing her. The Bitch, who has a thing for Nick and has
been spying on him and Tina from the nearby woods (complete with cheaty
chh-chh-chh-es), is Not Exactly Impressed.
Character scene. Ugh.
Tina foolishly re-enters The Cabin Of Morons looking
for Nick, and The Bitch reveals that she knows about Tina’s past. She
soon regrets that move, as an invisible hand takes her by the
throat and chokes her. With an effort, Tina pulls herself back and runs
home, where another clash with Crews ends with him threatening
permanent hospitalisation, and her mentally pitching a television
across the room at him. Tina runs away again (she does that a lot,
doesn’t she?) and encounters Nick. She tries to convince him that
something is wrong, really wrong, and asks if his cousin Michael
ever showed up. Nick admits that he did not and, at Tina’s urging, digs
in his wallet for a photo of Michael. One glance confirms Tina’s fears,
and she tells him that Michael is dead. Amanda then appears and drags
Tina inside, leaving Nick understandably shaken.
And then the pruning of the Dead Wood begins in
earnest. The Rich Jerk and The Slutty Girlfriend wander towards the
lake, where TSG goes – surprise! – skinny-dipping. TRJ starts undressing
as well, but – surprise! – is still partially dressed when Jason
arrives, machete a-blazing. TSG surfaces, sees Jason’s handiwork, and
starts screaming. Jason, meanwhile, has somehow managed to get from the
killing spot to in the water right next to TSG without being seen by
her. We get a couple of surprisingly explicit shots here – as in
Zombie Lake explicit – as TSG kicks wildly in an effort to escape.
(This bit is all the more unexpected considering how coyly they seemed
to be avoiding frontal nudity in the stripping sequence. Gee, you don’t
think that might be a body double in the water, do you?) Less
surprisingly, her struggles are unavailing.
Character scene. Lengthy character scene.
Dr Crews is – as people in these films tend to do –
wandering around in the woods for no apparent reason, when he makes the
unwelcome discovery that Tina isn’t quite so delusional as he imagined.
He finds Michael’s body wedged in a tree fork, and the bloody metal
spike lying nearby. Coincidentally, Amanda has also just found a
metal spike: that “non-existent” one from the back door, in fact, in a
drawer in Crews’ desk. It begins to dawn upon her that she may have made
just a slight error when choosing a health-care professional for
her daughter; an opinion confirmed when she finds a tape in which Crews
helpfully confesses to deliberately keeping Tina in a state of high
stress in order to exacerbate her psychokinetic reactions.
(Speaking of retro--- Dr Crews has a top-loading
VCR!! Kids, ask your parents!)
Crews catches Amanda, and in the ensuing argument,
Crews declares Tina a danger to herself and others, and announces that
he intends committing her. An eavesdropping Tina overhears and –
surprise! – runs away, this time taking the car. Her panicked flight –
during which she passes Michael’s abandoned car, which faces away
from the lake! – ends abruptly when she has a vision of her mother being
killed by Jason, and drives off the road. The car won’t start again,
naturally, so she staggers on on foot.
Meanwhile, The Dowdy Friend Who Is Jealous –
[extended character scene deleted] – wandering around in the woods for
no apparent reason in a very short skirt and very high heels. Officially
she is looking for The Pothead who, naturally enough, she assumes is
also wandering around in the woods for no apparent reason. Whether
he is or not we never do learn – darn it! – because The Rich Jerk’s body
suddenly drops at the feet of TDFWIJ.
In fairness, what follows is the only section of
The New Blood that manages to generate a little genuine tension, as
Jason and TDFWIJ play an extended game of cat-and-mouse in a large,
multi-compartmentalised gardening shed. However, there’s only one way
that this game can end, and it does so when Jason slams both his arms
and a hand-scythe through the thin partition behind which TDFWIJ is
While running through the woods in a way that is
almost motivated, Tina encounters Nick, who is wandering around in the
woods for no apparent reason. She tells him that she has to find her
mother, and – sigh – runs away. On the road, Amanda and Crews find
Tina’s crashed car. Amanda then begins running through the woods in a
way that, if not entirely without apparent reason, is still pretty
You know….I could be mistaken, but I think I’m
beginning to detect a motif here….
Back at the cabin, The Token Black Couple are having
sex; The Pothead and The Attractive Girl Who Is Interested In Said
Pothead are having sex; and The Bitch and The Geek are not having
sex as, being The Bitch, she is merely teasing him. The Token Black
Couple being (for no apparent reason) outside in a van, Jason starts
with them; and the female half gets the dubious distinction of perhaps
the stupidest death in the entire franchise as she gets a party
noisemaker rammed through her eye. The male half, in contrast, is
awarded the comparative dignity of a crushed skull.
At some point Nick caught up with Tina, and they are
running through the woods together when they come across Michael’s body,
exactly where Jason, and then Crews, left it. These woods must be
smaller than they look. Nick is shattered, but Tina convinces him that
they have to keep going, so….they run off through the woods.
Jason, having cut the power, has finally entered the
cabin. The Pothead leaves The Attractive Girl Who Is Interested In Said
Pothead (just out of curiosity, am I the only one driven nuts by sex
scenes that end with the guy getting out of bed with pants on?) and goes
downstairs looking for food. Instead he gets a honking great butcher
knife in the gut. Nick and Tina finally make it back to her
cabin, only to find that the lights are on but no-one’s home. Tina,
however, does discover evidence of Crews’ betrayal of her – and
also a stash of clippings about Jason. (Whether these belonged to Crews
or to Tina’s father is unclear.) The significance of these does not
escape her, and she succumbs to a fit of mingled terror and rage that
almost causes the room to implode. When she manages to get a grip on
herself, Nick guides her downstairs, proposing, in his innocence, that
they gather together “all the others” and get the hell out of Dodge.
Tina, however, has another vision of her mother. “She’s in the woods,
Nick! I know that’s where she is!” Uh, no offence, Tina, but I don’t
really think you have to be psychic to know that.
Elsewhere, as The Bitch sneaks out unseen, the
rejected Geek is amusing himself by appropriating Michael’s birthday
presents. Jason then amuses himself by cutting The Geek’s throat,
before heading upstairs…. This is the cue for TAGWIIISP to start
creeping around in the dark, to have an encounter with a Spring-Loaded
Cat, and to discover The Pothead’s severed head. (This is another nice
bit, the preceding false scares notwithstanding. The spreading blood
beneath the head, although not the head itself, is visible to us
throughout this sequence, but it is always behind or to the side of the
unsuspecting girl.) Jason appears, and pitches his next victim out the
window. The selective deafness that afflicted the characters of The
Final Chapter recurs here, as neither Nick nor Tina hears a thing
next door. Oh, okay, okay – there’s thunder. Nick announces that he is
going to get all the others, and leaves Tina with the stern injunction,
“Don’t move!” The likelihood of one is about equal to the likelihood of
the other, I imagine.
In the woods, Amanda and Crews, temporarily exhausted
with all that running, have a violent verbal altercation, which ends
when Jason appears carrying a manual branch lopper. Ooh-err! The two
sprint off again, Jason walking in pursuit as per tradition, until Crews
trips. He then grabs Amanda, holding her with a speech about how Tina
tried to warn them; and when Jason catches up, he uses her as a human
shield, so that it is she who gets, uh, lopped.
Nick, after calling to his friends in growing
apprehension, discovers The Geek’s body. That’s quite enough for him,
and he instantly beats it back to the Shepards' cabin where – surprise!
– Tina has, in fact, moved. A footstep makes Nick swing around, the gun
that belonged to Tina’s father in his sweaty grip, but it is only The
Bitch, who listens incredulously to Nick’s tale of her friends [sic.]
deaths. Tina, meanwhile, as I’m sure you’ll be astonished to learn,
is….oh, man, I’m even sick of typing it!….where she runs into
Crews. His evasiveness on the subject of her mother and the blood on his
clothing tells the story, and she….well, you know. Crews tries to
go after her, but soon runs out of puff – which, in a spectacular piece
of bad timing, occurs just where and when Jason happens to be warming up
a motorised branch-lopper. You know – the kind with a buzzsaw.
Crews sprints off – for a very apparent reason – but stupidly
stops just because he doesn’t hear the saw buzzing any more. Jason
simply circles around behind him, starts the saw again, knocks Crews
down, and gets to work. Exit Crews. Ring-barked.
Tina continues to do what she does best until she
finds her mother’s body. Sobbing, she finally tears herself away – only
to catch a glimpse of Jason, whom she carefully evades. Her stealth does
her no good, however, as her propensity for corpse-stumbling leads her
(in another effective scene) to a gruesome tableau consisting of the
remains of three of the earlier victims. Tina shrieks and runs off,
finding simultaneously the road, her abandoned car – and Jason.
As you might imagine, Tina is more than a little
pissed right now. Unfortunately for Jason, she’s learnt to control it. A
series of long thin roots rip themselves from the ground and wind about
him, tipping him into a puddle of dirty water. Tina then zaps a nearby
power pole: the electrical wires plunge down into the water, and Jason
is fried. He collapses, lying motionless in the water; and Tina, being
new at this, moves closer to check that he really is dead.
Tina sprints to the cabin next door, where Jason
makes a spectacular entrance via a locked window. Tina slams doors and
moves furniture, but this barely slows Jason down; so she tries hurling
at him first a lounge, then a potted palm – a severed head stuck in the
pot!! (I’m a bit confused here. I thought The Geek only got his throat
cut? I guess Jason went back to amuse himself a little more.) These
tactics stop him long enough for Tina to make it outside. Jason follows
in his usual purposeful manner, and Tina brings the porch roof down
smack on his head. Hey, worked on her old man, right? Tina then enters
her own cabin in tears, telling Nick about her mother, but also
insisting that she has killed Jason. So – a squillion volts didn’t stop
him, but having a roof dropped on his head did? Yeah. Right. Sure
enough, Jason breaks free of the rubble, and is soon seen acquiring an
axe. Meanwhile, The Bitch is still insisting on taking the whole thing
as an elaborate practical joke – or perhaps as evidence that Tina’s
mental instability is catching. “Fuck you! No, fuck you both!”
she huffs, and opens the front door to leave. And leave she does.
Tina and Nick manage to evade Jason and run upstairs,
but all the doors are locked. As Nick throws himself against them
unavailingly, Tina turns…. As Jason approaches, a large hanging light
swings at him, shattering on his face and sending him plunging backwards
through the staircase. Somewhat surprisingly, Nick and Tina make
it safely over the hole, but as they rush to the front door Jason bursts
from beneath the stairs. He grabs Nick, hurls him down, and is about to
stomp him to death when Tina intervenes – drastically. The strap holding
Jason’s mask on begins to tighten – and tighten – and tighten.
Disgusting goo oozes from where the strap cuts flesh….and then the mask
breaks and drops away, revealing the rotted, bestial face underneath.
Tina then shatters another of the hanging lights. Its cord snakes down,
wraps itself around Jason’s throat, and hauls him into the air. As he
kicks and struggles (which rather implies that he breathes….interesting….),
Tina rips up the floorboards beneath him, then sends him plunging into
the basement. Tina hurries to the unconscious Nick, but as she kneels by
him, two decomposed hands reach up to drag her down into the basement.
She frees herself, and attacks again, sending nails flying through the
air and spraying gasoline around….and opening the furnace door.
Nick comes to and helps Tina out of the basement. As
the fire grows, the two of them flee to the dock, where they hit the
ground as the entire house goes up in a massive explosion, which throws
a great many things into the lake. A great many. Nick comforts
Tina as she sobs that, “It’s gone! Everything’s gone!” And then a
hand closes on her shoulder and tosses her down the dock. Nick leaps up
and starts firing that idiotic gun. Jason is, it seems, only mildly
annoyed by this, as he does nothing more extreme than knock Nick off the
dock into a tethered boat. Then he turns to Tina, who closes her eyes
and – concentrates.
Unnoticed by Jason, the water by the dock starts to
churn. As Jason advances on Tina, the boards of the dock suddenly erupt.
A figure emerges from the water, wraps chains about Jason’s throat, and
drags him back down into the waters that contained him for the previous
“Daddy?” whispers Tina – and passes out….
I’m telling you this: they’d better have meant that
for a supernatural manifestation, not a second reanimation;
’cause I refuse to believe that the body collection squad that serviced
Crystal Lake ten years ago wasn’t better than that.
Speaking of which, dawn breaks to find the local
emergency services taking care of business. One of them finds the
shattered remains of a hockey-mask. Tina and Nick are stretchered into
an ambulance. Nick suddenly jerks to consciousness. “Jason!?” he
“We took care of him,” whispers Tina.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
I’ve been pretty hard on The New Blood.
Nothing new in that, you might say; I’ve been hard to a greater
or lesser extent on all of the F13 films. The difference is, this
time I feel kind of bad about it.
Film reviewers, as I have had occasion to remark
before, are a thoroughly unreasonable bunch. They demand things, and
then when the film-makers try to comply, they whine, Aw, but that
isn’t really what I wanted. Hence the entirely ungrateful reaction
to the F13 franchise’s attempts to shake itself free of its own
formula, first with a pseudo-Jason in Part V, and then with both
a Final Boy and a sense of humour in Part VI.
Part VII stands
somewhat apart from its predecessors. On a planning level, at least, the
film is rather interesting, inasmuch as it exhibits simultaneously a
real respect for the slasher formula and a clear recognition of that
formula’s inherent problems. After all the tampering with the text of
the previous two instalments, The New Blood gets back to basics:
a cabin by the lake, a gathering of anonymous dead meat, and a Final
Girl showdown. Its very opening sequence is a declaration of intent. The
film in fact begins not with Tina’s childhood trauma, but with a potted
history of Jason Voorhees featuring a number of his previous
incarnations, resurrections and victims, which is narrated in the
uncredited but unmistakable tones of Walt Gorney – aka Crazy
Ralph. Then, too, there is the character of Jason – if that’s not
a contradiction in terms. Although it isn’t something I can work up much
enthusiasm over, I know that a lot of people get very excited about Kane
Hodder’s incarnation of Jason, on the grounds that our masked
psycho-killer actually has a personality. Assuming that
Thoroughly Pissed Off counts as a “personality”, I guess that’s true;
and while to my mind there is nothing in The New Blood that
matches certain moments in F13:2, Hodder does have some very
effective scenes, purely through his body language. Perhaps the
highlight is when Tina first attacks him with the tree roots: Jason’s
reaction here is, unmistakably, an incredulous, “What the fuck!?”
More important, I think, and still stronger evidence
that the hearts behind The New Blood were all in the right place,
is the physical manifestation of Jason, which is remarkable. (As
evidence that for once, the people who made this film were actually
paying attention to what came before, it is even more
remarkable.) After ten years in Crystal Lake, Jason Voorhees is a
decomposing hulk. The remains of his chains hang about his neck. His
clothes are in tatters, and through them peep rotten flesh and bare
bones; and when that hockey-mask comes off--- Ah, my friends, what do we
find underneath but the record of every head injury suffered by Jason
over four exceedingly violent outings? This Jason Voorhees is a
fine piece of work, an indisputable labour of love.
So far, so good.
Yes, that’s right: I’m
about to be thoroughly unreasonable.
The New Blood
is best summed up by calling it a work of good intentions – and we all
know where those lead, right? Believe me, I do respect those
intentions – enough to tack on this serious consideration of the film,
instead of just settling for the usual hooting and pointing and flinging
of you-know-what – but when all is said and done, The New Blood
just isn’t very good. The murders are bloodless, of course, cut to
pointlessness, but that isn’t the problem; by now we almost take that
for granted. Rather, they’re lazy, their execution completely
perfunctory. As for the characters, even by slasher film standards - !
“Characters”, did I say? Calling them ciphers would be overly generous.
And even the New Improved Jason isn’t handled as he should have been.
For the most part, The New Blood shows far more interest in the
story of its Final Girl, leaving Jason in danger of becoming a
supporting player in his own franchise, like Chris Lee’s Dracula in
his later outings. (Or, one might even say, like Chucky in the
Child’s Play series, once Jennifer Tilly moved in.) And, honestly –
just how many scenes of someone running through those damn woods
is a person supposed to be able to take!?
Having taken the F13 series back to its roots,
the makers of The New Blood allowed themselves one major new spin
in the form of Tina Shepard, their psychic and telekinetic Final Girl –
hence the film’s enduring nickname of Jason Meets Carrie. And it
is ultimately because of Tina, I feel, that The New Blood fails.
As has probably been evident throughout my love-hate relationship with
the F13 films, in my opinion the only thing this franchise ever
really had going for it was its Final Girl showdowns. Even something as
fundamentally dreadful as F13:3 is at least partially redeemed by
its climactic sequence; and conversely, both A New Beginning and
Jason Lives suffer from the absence of this particular
convention. By giving Tina Shepard telekinetic powers, the makers of
Part VII make their showdown a battle between two paranormal
individuals – in other words, a fair fight. But to me, the whole point
about the Final Girl showdown is that it isn’t fair. On the
contrary, it’s all about an ordinary individual finding extraordinary
resolve in the face of an unimaginable horror. Now, I’m not saying that
the confrontation between Tina and Jason at the end of The New Blood
isn’t successful in and of itself. Far from it. As a matter of fact,
there’s something remarkably satisfying about seeing Jason Voorhees on
the receiving end of a thorough smackdown delivered entirely on his own
terms. But in the end, a Final Girl able to stay at a safe distance from
her supernatural adversary while lobbing lounge furniture at him across
the room just doesn’t do it for me. Call me old-fashioned, but give me a
Final Girl who, when push comes to shove, is willing to spit on her
hands, pick up a machete, and get down and dirty.
Want a second opinion of Friday The 13th
Part VII: The New Blood? Visit
1000 Misspent Hours And Counting and
Cold Fusion Video Reviews.