It is arguable that the Friday the 13th series may be the most iconic horror movies of all time. To this day, people still create memes about this franchise. Jason Vorhees has a funko pop icon. Fans produce tributes on YouTube. The machete and hockey mask embody the horror genre. While iconic, consistent quality is another thing entirely. The Friday the 13th franchise is rife with blunders. Acting is a 2nd class citizen to blood and gore and logic is a slave to convenience. Friday the 13th Part 5 doesn’t break this mold.
This review covers Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning. This particular episode of the Friday the 13th saga holds a very special place in the timeline. This is the first episode to follow the death of Jason in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter. Those familiar with the timeline remember that Tommy Jarvis delivers that fatal blow.
Friday the 13th Part 5 – The Song Remains the Same
By this point in the series, anyone still watching knows what they are in store for. The story starts with an excuse to bring teenagers together. Sometimes it is a camp, Camp Crystal Lake. This time it is Pinehurst Halfway House for young people leaving the mental institution. The new resident is Tommy Jarvis, driven mad by his first conflict with Voorhees, he has recently been released and he is going to Pinehurst to learn to live on his own.
The next ingredient is the systemic slaughter of said teenagers in increasingly creative ways. A New Beginning boasts an incredible kill-count of 22. Up until this point, this was the undisputed world record. Friday the 13th Part 5 defined the state-of-the-art at the time.
As the movie begins, Jason is supposedly dead. The is a brief dream sequence that shows the death of two grave robbers trying to steal Jason’s remains. A young Tommy Jarvis, again played by Corey Feldman, witnesses the attack. Then flash to an adult Tommy Jarvis (John Shepard) being delivered to Pinehurst.
Vic Has Anger Issues
The first non-dream murder is committed in broad daylight, but not by Jason. Pinehurst resident, Vic Fadden, axes fellow resident and chocolate eating champion Joey Burns in the back. This murder sets the stage for a lazy whodunnit. Is the perpetrator of all of the other killings Vic? Is it Jason, risen from the dead? Or is it Roy, the paramedic that stares menacingly into the camera as he picks up Joey’s body? Is it Tommy Jarvis, driven mad by Jason’s attack on his family?
Friday the 13th Part 5 – Putting Up Numbers
With 22 kills, there are too many to recount here. There are some honorable mentions. The Joey makes my list, because, he is so flipping annoying. It is not graphic by any means, but just well deserved. The same goes for Junior and his mother Ethyl. Juniors motorcycle decapitation is one of my favorites. The subsequent cleaver to the face of his mother is great because she has been going on about making her stew for 10 minutes, and now her head is in it.
Finally, the punting of the killer out of the barn and onto a piece of spiked farm equipment below was a cool and final ending. While this movie boasts 22 kills, the gore is relatively tame. There is some blood, but most of the action is off camera or through the victims clothing.
A New Beginning – Likeable Characters
For the most part, the characters are just cardboard cutouts stood up to be killed. There are some exceptions. The character of Tommy Jarvis was convincingly tortured. He was able to display violence at a level that left it totally plausible that he was the killer.
Then there is Reggie Winter played by Shavar Ross. His character was super likeable. He provided some comic relief without going over the top. He has a great scene where he gets to run over the killer with a mini-bulldozer. This type of action gets cheers in a theater. Because Reggie is so likeable, his brother Demon (Miguel A. Nunez) and his girlfriend Anita (Jera Fields) were also great characters. It was obvious that there was strong love between the trio. That made it all that much sadder when Demon and Anita were killed.
Character development is not in great supply in Friday the 13th movies. You take what you can get.
Spoiler, Roy was the bad guy.
Friday the 13th Part 5 – The End of the New Beginning
At the end of the day A New Beginning is not a great horror movie, but it is more fun than often remembered. Quite frankly it was a bold move to have a fake Jason killing teenagers. This plot device was not super effective, but it also didn’t detract from the movie itself. It is still a fun little slasher. I liked it in 1985, and I still like it today.
I thought there was good continuity in that Tommy was still into latex prosthetics and masks. This made it plausible that he was hiding under a bald head prosthetic while he killed. There was a reference to a picture of his murdered family from Friday the 13th Part 4. In a dream sequence, the real Jason stands before an adult Tommy with anatomically correct wounds and period correct hockey mask (The mask that Roy and Jason wear are different). They brought Corey Feldman back for a brief dream sequence at the beginning which was a nice touch.
None of these details were huge by themselves, but sometimes sequels don’t even try. Of the first 5 Friday films, it is not the worst. I confidently rank this movie above Friday the 13th Part 3 and number 4 out of 5 up until that point. A New Beginning beats the pants off of Jason X. If you are a fair weather fan of the series, this one is not required watching. If you like the series and want to see it in all its glory, let the haters hate. Then watch this film and have a good time.
Check out this review at thatwasabitmental.com
Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985) - Malevolent Dark
Director: Danny Steinmann
Date Created: 1970-01-01 00:33