FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING
*** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- If Jason Still Haunts You, You’re Not Alone
Release Date- March 22nd, 1985
Running Time- 92-Minutes
Screenplay- Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen & Danny Steinmann
Director- Danny Steinmann
Starring- Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Tiffany Helm, Juliette Cummins, Carol Locatell, Shavar Ross and Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is the ugly stepchild of the Friday the 13th series and is probably the most bashed installment of the series as this film takes a beating from fans of the franchise because spoiler alert Jason isn’t the killer, but I’m sure most of you reading that already knew that of course and for those who didn’t sorry about that. I sort of understand why so many people disliked this movie Jason isn’t the killer and I guess some people felt cheated and I get it you see a Friday the 13th movie you wanna see Jason hacking up people, but the original didn’t feature Jason as the killer and that was in my opinion hands down the best of the series. The thing people fail to realize even if Jason were the killer the movie would have turned out the same; it’s a guy in a mask killing people just like the rest of the series minus the original. If anything the only real difference would be the final few minutes when the killer is revealed and their motive.
Oddly enough people often bash franchises for being the same thing film after film, but yet when one comes along and attempts something different its often bashed for doing that. Now I think you can only stray so much; Halloween 3 for instance did stray a bit too much, but I actually liked the movie, but that’s a whole other review, but that might be straying too much whereas Friday the 13th: A New Beginning never really strays from the concept. This part has all the elements of the previous movies, but without Jason it makes the movie an unfair target from angry fanboys, but again the movie wouldn’t be any different with Jason except the final few minutes. My question to everybody is how would the movie be any better with Jason if it was so terrible to begin with? All Jason would do is the same exact thing the killer in this movie did so in reality you would have the same exact movie again except for the final few minutes. Like how I brought up straying the next installment Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives mixed up the formula without straying, but A New Beginning is pretty much like the past 4 and I can’t stress enough even with Jason this film turns out the same until the final few minutes.
I also believe another strike against the movie is the Final Chapter is a fan favorite and while I like the movie I don’t rate it as highly as most fans of the series do, but its still one of my favorite sequels of the series, but its such a fan favorite its really difficult to match and even though I liked A New Beginning it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor. Regardless I’m not ashamed to say I really enjoyed this one and in terms of the series I suppose it would be middle of the road, but offers enough to make it a fun ride.
The script by Martin Kitrosser (writer of part 3), David Cohen & Danny Steinmann is light on plot, but aren’t pretty much all the Friday the 13th movies? But my problem with that is the movie does attempt to be a little deeper as it deals with the psychological fallout for Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) and while this was an interesting ideas it does however seem as if Tommy is here more to be a suspect than anything else. The script does as stated try to be a little deeper, but it just doesn’t work as well as it could have, but I guess you get what you pay for and nothing against the writers of the movie, but that’s pretty much the best you can get. The script is more in the style of the original, but not as well written and if anything it also reminds me of part 3 as Martin Kitrosser with his co-writer Carol Watson had some good ideas with the script and it seemed as if the plot was almost there, but not quite yet (however I still loved the movie) and A New Beginning also sort of feels like that; we have an idea, but it just wasn’t fully done yet and seeing as this movie was released the year after the last installment I suppose there wasn’t a lot of time to fine tune the script. But I do feel the movie missed an opportunity with Tommy; Tommy moping around looking angry and on the verge of going insane at any moment can grow a bit old as the character never really goes anywhere in terms of story and it does sort of feel he’s back to bridge the film to the previous installment.
The characters aren’t very well-developed, but I suppose that isn’t much of a shocker. We know as much about them at the start of the movie as we do at the end, but with that said the characters at least have their own identities rather than being inter-changeable and for me that’s all that really matters. A New Beginning in my opinion also has some of the more likable characters in the series such as Pam (Kinnaman) Reggie (Shavar) & George (Washington). The rest of the characters serve their purpose and even if they lack any real depth I did personally find the characters some of the more likable even if you don’t really get any real attachment to them outside of the three I mentioned.
Director Danny Steinmann who directed the cult classic Savage Streets brings a more exploitation style of filmmaking to the series as this one features more nudity, which was more exploitive than the past parts or future for that matter and also has a bit of sleazy feel going for it as well. Despite having a similar budget as the other sequels the production values do feel a bit cheaper and Steinmann also has a porn background and it does sort of show in the production as like I stated despite the budget being what most of the sequels were it does feel a lot cheaper. The pacing of the film is strong for the most part and at times Steinmann does deliver some suspense, but at this point in the series the formula was growing old and it does hinder the movie to some degree. The death scenes seemed a bit rushed in terms there was no real set up for most and while not every character can get a big chase scene, but the killer shows up and dispatches of his victims and the death scenes themselves aren’t anything special as this one very much lacks in the gore department for the most part. I’m a big fan of exploitation cinema and I loved Savage Streets, but I’m not sure Danny Steimann was the right choice for the series since he’s more of an exploitation filmmaker and while there is some decent suspense at times, but in general its kind of light, but Danny Steinmann is successful at delivering an entertaining flick that’s far better than its reputation. Steinmann who sadly passed away in 2012 only has 3 feature films to his credit and was actually gonna write and direct Last House on the Left Part II, which never got made, but I liked Danny Steinmann. He may not be the greatest filmmaker, but he had a style and made some fun films and I think he’s a better filmmaker than given credit for.
The character of Tommy Jarvis was an interesting character as I stated earlier. I like how they brought him back and show what has become of him since his encounter with Jason. My only problem is the lack of dialogue. I get the point of the character, but one word answers throughout the movie does get a bit annoying at times. But even with that Tommy was likable I suppose or more like sympathetic. Ethel played by Carol Locatell was a riot! In my opinion she steals the show. I found the character to be hysterical and she really brings a lot of life to the movie. Pam played by Melanie Kinnaman was my favorite character in the movie. I thought Pam was an excellent heroine and Melanie Kinnaman with her performance gives the movie a touch of class. Shavar Ross gives a fun and spirited performance as Reggie and really helps elevate the film.
When all is said and done Friday the 13th: A New Beginning isn’t the trash that it has been made out to be. By this time the Friday the 13th formula was wearing thin and A New Beginning offers a slight change to that. The biggest reason this movie is hated is for the lack of Jason. As I said before I’ll say it again; even with Jason the movie would have been the same exact thing until the final few minutes and again if the movie was that bad, those final few minutes wouldn’t have made this movie any better. A New Beginning has its problems, but despite those it is a fun movie and hardly the worst of the series.