Eric D. Snider

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

(Reviewed in 2002 as part of a retrospective on the "Friday the 13th" series.)

In "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood," we get to hear a narrator tell us the backstory. I don't know who the narrator is; the credits don't mention him. It sounds like Donald Sutherland, but I bet it's not.

Mr. Narrator reminds us of what has happened to this point in the saga, ending with the fact that at the end of Part 6, Jason was weighted down and drowned in Crystal Lake. Mr. Narrator informs us that "people forget he's down there."

This is just stupid. A man responsible for nearly 100 murders in the space of 10 years does not just disappear from public memory. Furthermore, when Tommy Jarvis drowned the bastard in Part 6, surely the cops and scientists would have then retrieved him, picked him apart, and studied him. His hockey mask would be on eBay. There would be an A&E "Biography" episode about him. People don't just "forget he's down there."

But the forgetting is necessary for the story to move forward. It will be helpful if you, the viewer, have forgotten a few things, too. For example, remember how in Part 6, Crystal Lake changed its name to Forest Green in order to escape its bloody past? Yeah, go ahead and forget that, because it's Crystal Lake again now.

After Mr. Narrator spins his yarn, there's a prologue (which takes place on Friday the 13th -- CREEEE-PY!) in which a little girl who looks like the "Poltergeist" little girl accidentally uses her psychic powers to kill her dad. Surely we all have made errors like this at some point in our lives. It occurs outside the family's house on Crystal Lake, mere feet from where Jason is chained to the lake bottom, "forgotten" by the locals.

Next thing you know, it's several years later. The little girl is grown up and named Tina, and she and her Markie Post lookalike mother have returned to the cabin after apparently having been gone awhile. They've returned because Tina's weird psychic/telekinetic abilities have made her a bit freakish, and a psychiatrist named Dr. Crews wants to "help" her, which really means he wants to use her power for his own gain. (Dr. Crews, by the way, is played by Terry Kiser, who also played the corpse in "Weekend at Bernie's." This is an actor whose career consists only of
low points.)

So while he's trying to get Tina to harness her powers, Tina goes out on the dock and tries to use them to summon back her dead father. Instead, she accidentally summons Jason; whoops! He gets right to work and starts killing teen-agers, who are conveniently located in an adjacent cabin, having a surprise party for someone who doesn't show up because Jason has killed him. It makes you wonder what Jason would do if he were revived on a weekend when no one was anywhere near Crystal Lake. Would he bother hiking into town to kill some folks in a diner? Catch a Greyhound to the next major city? Or just hang out in the woods, waiting for someone to show up?

The interesting thing about this movie is that it was directed by John Carl Buechler, whose credits also include "Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go to College."

The second interesting thing about this movie is that it features the return of the unsettling Daisy Duke shorts that men in the 1980s apparently wore ALL THE TIME, if the "Friday the 13th" movies are to be believed.

The third interesting thing about this movie is that at last, there is something different to do about Jason. In the past, victims have battled him by running, stumbling, and screaming a lot. Usually they give up pretty easily and just let themselves be killed, often because they want out of the movie. But now we have Tina, whose telekinetic powers are far more effective than mere knives or screaming. Good to see someone putting a little effort into things.

Goodness knows the writer, director and actors didn't expend much effort. We won't bother mentioning that the acting and dialogue are atrocious, like they always are. If we don't mention it, maybe you'll forget.

Grade: D

Rated R, blood, gore, swearing, Daisy Duke shorts

1 hr., 30 min.

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