Review by Dave Kaye
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD
*** Out of 5
Tagline- On Friday the 13th Jason is back. But this time someone’s waiting
Release Date- May 13th, 1988
Running Time- 90-Minutes
Screenplay- Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidello
Director- John Carl Buechler
Starring- Lar Park-Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser and Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
Released in 1988 Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is a fan favorite among fans of the series with some hailing it as the best of the series and quite honestly I never got the full appeal of the movie; The New Blood is an interesting installment in the series and I suppose I sort of get why so many liked it, but I don’t understand how anyone can rate this as the best of the series. In my opinion the original is by far the best of the series and all the sequels at least the Paramount parts are entertaining. The New Blood adds a little bit of drama mixed with a high body count and crazy death scenes and also is the debut of Kane Hodder as Jason who is quite imposing in the role. But overall I don’t think The New Blood is nearly as good as some cite it even if enjoyable.
By 1988 the slasher film was close to being dead and the Friday the 13th movies were also getting a bit stale and after Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives offered up a nice twist on not only the series, but slasher films as well as it makes for a clever satire the New Blood goes back to the basics and delivers the standard late 80s slasher flick, but it also has a little more going for it than most slasher flicks. This one has a little bit more depth to the plot and even has a layer of drama and while it may not always fully work it was a nice attempt at mixing things up to a certain extent even if at the end it remains clichéd.
The screenplay was written by Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidello, but from what I can gather Manuel Fidello isn’t even a real person. It was a name used by another writer during rewrites. The first half of the movie almost plays out like a drama at times with Tina (Lincoln) dealing with the aftermath of her father’s death 10-years prior. Tina also happens to be telekinetic and Dr. Crews (Kiser) rather than trying to help her is out to exploit her. It was an interesting idea and also it was interesting have a backstory for the character much like how Friday the 13th Part 3 also had a backstory for the final girl and here the backstory does add a little depth to Tina and also makes her sympathetic and while the dramatic aspect feels slightly out of place it does also add some depth and I’d rate Tina as one of the stronger heroines of the series.
The characters are interesting in regards that they do have their own identities rather than being interchangeable, but they are also rather annoying and obnoxious and the quicker Jason (Hodder) dispatches of them the better. Despite having their own identities the characters are still the typical faceless victims with very little depth that dominates the slasher film. However not all is lost since besides Tina, her mother Amanda (Blu) and Nick (Blair) are likeable and characters you can root for, but the rest are better off dead and the longer the focus is on them it does bring the movie down. The 2nd half of the movie it becomes the standard slasher flick and the dramatic element is put on the side in favor of the more traditional slasher mayhem.
Director John Carl Buechler delivers a rather uneven movie that suffers from some pacing problems despite the 88-minute running time and the movie also lacks any legit suspense and tension, but by this time in the slasher film all that could be explored was and seeing as this was not only yet another slasher film, but the 6th sequel I suppose it may not have been possible to deliver much suspense by this point in the game everything is fairly predictable. However, Buechler does deliver some exciting scenes with a couple of scenes having decent suspense and the movie does have a very fun atmosphere and Buechler also knows what his audience wants and delivers on that. The New Blood has some of the best death scenes of the series and all of them have a fun level going for them, but sadly the death scenes also lack due to the MPAA. The New Blood was cut to shreds and it clearly shows. Regardless, John Carl Buechler makes the best out of the material he’s given to work with and despite the flaws The New Blood is generally well-made, but is also bogged down by a very silly ending.
As I stated in the opening I sort of get the appeal of the film, but I would personally rate this as the weakest of the Paramount installments, but even with that said The New Blood despite the lack of suspense and the death scenes being cut to shreds does however have a fun atmosphere and even with the flaws it does serve its purpose as an entertaining stalk and slash flick.