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Paff 06-27-2004 09:55 PM

Friday the 13th: Part 5

Reviewer: Paff
Review Date: November 18, 2001

Released by: Paramount
Release date: 9/25/2001
MSRP: $14.99
Region 1, NSTC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes

The Story

inline Image The film opens with a Corey Feldman sighting, at least in a dream sequence. Fans of the series will no doubt remember that he played Tommy Jarvis, who killed seemingly indestructible killer Jason Voorhees at the end of Friday the 13th Part 4. That film was subtitled The Final Chapter (yeah, right). Anyway, Tommy, now played by John Shepherd, has grown up now, with even more problems than the real Corey Feldman (OK, sorry, that was a cheap shot). He's sent to Pinehurst, a sort of psychiatric hospital/commune, with a bunch of other "troubled youth."

inline Image Tommy's pretty quiet, still haunted by the memories of killing a horror icon. Pretty soon we meet all the other "troubled" kids, and I won't go too much into detail on them, because this is a Friday the 13th movie, and that means they're all about to be victims. First to fall victim to the axe (no pun intended) is Joey (Dominick Brascia). There's no mystery on this one; he annoys woodchopper Vic (Mark Venturini) one too many times, and ends up with the business end of an axe right in his back.

inline Image After that though, it turns into more of the typical Friday the 13th film. Teenagers have sex, and get killed in various ways by a masked lunatic. More teenagers look for the missing copulating teenagers, and they get killed too. And just to keep things interesting, some of the local color (that color being white trash) also are only too happy to volunteer as excessively dumb murder victims. The cast is thinned out until it's just Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) and young Reggie (Shavar Ross) on the run from the killer. Has Tommy taken on the identity of the deformed kid he killed so many years ago? Or is that too easy of a solution? I'll never tell.

This movie actually had some promise. Friday the 13th movies are pretty stale and predictable, at least once they made Jason the killer. (It was his mom in the first film, but you knew that). With Jason Voorhees dead and cremated, this movie could develop a nice little mystery story, and become one of the better entries in the series.

inline Image I say "could", because they took the easy way out on this one. The "mystery" is barely given any screen time; instead, we just get lots and lots of killings. In fact, I believe this movie has the highest body count in the series. If it's not the highest, it's pretty darn close. Even worse, they had to go outside the principle cast to find more victims. There were quite enough "troubled youth" to sacrifice their lives, but several murders are of people who are introduced into the film, then killed a few seconds later. Three of these murder scenes are of victim(s) with no relevance to the main story whatsoever, and two more are of people whose involvement with the story is tangential at best. Of course, that's assuming there really is a story. I have to wonder if these "supplemental" victims were added later on just to keep up the body count.

inline Image So what you get with Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning is murder, and lots of it. Hardcore fans may be unsatisfied, because they all loved Jason as the killer. He was the scariest thing in an old-style hockey mask since Gerry Cheevers. (I guess the new-style goalie masks like Martin Brodeur's aren't too frightening). It shouldn't matter if the man behind that mask is really Jason. I really think that people go to these movies to see Jason tally up a body count of naked teenagers (and don't worry, there are plenty of naked teenagers in this one). We do get the corpses, but knowing it's not really Jason may turn off some of the fans. If they can get past the idea that it's a different killer, they might really enjoy this film.

What could have made this movie really good is to emphasize the mystery angle a little more. No one would ever confuse it with The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, but perhaps dropping a few more clues and motives could make this one of the better films in the series. Instead, there's just one red herring, and that's pretty obvious. Thus, we get a mystery movie that puts too much emphasis on the violence, and a splatter movie without the fan favorite killer that puts people in the seats. But I don't think these films were meant for critics like Roger Ebert. People who like this kind of thing will still enjoy it, and their money fills the studios' coffers just as well as those plunking down the cash for the big summer blockbuster. Except with a Friday the 13th film, there's very little production cost, and a fairly high expected return. No wonder we got one of these movies almost every summer in the 1980s

Image Quality

inline Image For a low budget film (and one I'm sure Paramount's not especially proud of), they sure did a great job with the transfer. There wasn't a single speckle, fade, or bit of grain. Much of the movie takes place in the dark (typical for this series), and those dark scenes are crystal clear and very well done. Anamorphic enhancement and a 1:85:1 widescreen presentation let the viewer see all the gory details (even though this isn't on par with Tom Savini's effects in the first and fourth installments). Really good looking disc.


This movie sounds like what you'd expect: A mono transfer, in Dolby Digital 2.0. It's a bit weak, and you'll turn up the volume a little more than you'd expect to get some of the dialogue. But are you really looking for witty dialogue in this movie? It's clear and distortion free, even if it is a bit hollow.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Not much here in terms of supplements, just a theatrical trailer. This will no doubt disappoint lots of fans, but how much can you expect for a movie like this? I guess a director commentary would be nice, because I'd really like to know if those supplemental murder victims were planned, or added in later to up the body count.

Final Thoughts

Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning is a bit of a mixed bag. It's somewhat of a departure in the series, and that's not a bad thing. Personally, I'd have liked it to distance itself even further from it's predecessors, but I can see what they were trying to do here. Friday completists will no doubt want this one to complete their set, and I'd bet they'd watch it more than once. It's not the best in the series, but it's far from the worst. I haven't seen all of the Friday the 13th films, but this is actually one of the better ones that I have seen, as they at least TRIED to have a plot. I don't know if they succeeded. And I appreciate Paramount for putting a little attention into the transfer. They could have just knocked out some low-grade copies, but maybe they're finally realizing how much of a cash cow this series has really been for them.


Movie - C-
Image Quality - A-
Sound - C+
Supplements - C-

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 14 Chapter Stops
  • English/French Dolby Digital Mono
  • English Subtitles

  • Theatrical trailer

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