Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning - Deluxe Edition
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (16th July 2009).
The Film

Jason can’t die. I don’t mean that in any ‘say it ain’t so’ or metaphorical sense; Jason literally can’t die. Sure you can kill him. Boil him, mash him, stick him in a stew. Just because you kill him doesn’t make him dead. “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984) tried to end it and keep Jason down for good, but of course there’s another movie on the way. The franchise was literally invented with the intent of making some money out of the slasher genre. In the middle of its mainstream popularity, why would you stop? Few franchises can boast a collection of movies that made more than ten times their money back, let alone 4 movies in sequence to accomplish the feat. They went for a fifth straight moneymaker with “Friday the 13th: Part V: A New Beginning” after supposedly killing Jason at the end of the last installment, but all the excuses about the different stripes on the masks or the twist endings doesn’t make up for the fact that "A New Beginning" is seriously lacking for a “Friday the 13th” movie; not just because there was no true Jason incarnation in the movie.

After being terrorized by Jason as a child, Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) has been moved around from foster home to nuthouse, haunted by memories of Jason’s attack and dreams of his return. Finally arriving at the Pinehurst halfway house, Tommy (John Shepherd) is still haunted by dreams of Jason and has turned into an introverted loner with an incredibly short fuse. The day Tommy arrives, one of the residents in Pinehurst decides to take out their aggression on the annoying guy at Pinehurst by hacking him up with an axe. He gets arrested but Tommy stays nervous and traumatized. Meanwhile Jason seems to be back on the prowl as people start getting cut up by a machete and other random devices, all leading back to Pinehurst camp when this apparent Jason starts striking closer to Pinehurst.

I can deal with there being no true Jason in the movie since Jason wasn’t really the killer in the first “Friday the 13th” (1980) anyways. The big problem comes with the nearly nonsensical throw in of some random father as Jason’s killer in a very “Scooby-Doo” reveal. Of course it was old man Jenkins, his motives were clear, he had to kill everyone in town because his son was around for two minutes before getting murdered and by donning the mask he gained mysterious invincibility powers similar to Jason’s. It sounds weird to ask for plot development in a “Friday the 13th” film, but at least provide some semblance of reasoning rather than just a constipated facial expression from the ambulance worker who turns out to be the killer.

Typically any holes in the plot are easily excused by the effects and the fun you can have while watching the film, but Jason must have taken them to the grave with him. If the director cut away too quickly from the effects in “The Final Chapter”, there’s almost nothing to see in “A New Beginning” as all of the effects are poorly done and barely shown on screen. Even your basic machete-to-throat maneuver looks like red lipstick drawn across the throat. No dripping blood, no spurting neck, no twisted neck. Just a red line and some death. Granted, there are some good ideas, like a road flare to the face or a motorcycle decapitation, but the execution of the effects just wasn’t there. See that pun? In the last sentence? ‘execution of effects?’ get it? Even that pun is two steps ahead of the jokes in “A New Beginning,” especially with the comedic relief of the hillbilly mother/son duo that are just annoying.

However the exception would have to be Miguel Nuñez’s appearance as Reggie’s (Shavar Ross) older brother, just for having the laugh out of catching him in yet another horror franchise. The rest of the cast is pretty much terrible after such great performances in “The Final Chapter.” The big tease of the Feldman being the star of the movie comes in the first few minutes, but apparently he was too busy starring in “Goonies” (1985) to commit and you can sense how the film just got thrown together afterwards.

Overall “A New Beginning” comes across as the worst “Friday the 13th” yet, at least because of the greatness of “The Final Chapter.” No great performances, no funny moments, but a lot of mediocrity and disappointment in the kills and execution. The big twist and lack of Jason are more symptoms of a larger problem. Tommy could have been a new Jason, just so long as they had the same discriminating tastes and inventiveness that are sorely lacking from “The Final Chapter.”

Video

Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio the film at least looks a little better preserved than the previous film. The transfer is clearer and less grainy and all of the colors come through a bit more, which may work against the film as you can more easily see how the effects just don’t get pulled off correctly. Still, the colors come through nicely and the movie isn’t terribly lit or designed.

Audio

Like the rest of the deluxe transfers, this one has the English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track, which sounds fairly good and doesn’t have too many pops or any drop outs in the audio. Mancini’s score is his usual addative effort and it comes through nicely with the ambient noises and the new sound mix, though the sound effects with the kills don’t quite sound right. Like their visual counterparts, they lack the sort of flare or joy in the effect. There are optional English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono tracks along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Extras

The typical gang of featurettes for a “Friday the 13th” ‘Deluxe Edition’ are in full effect, with an audio commentary track, a short film and theatrical trailers.

First is the audio commentary with director/co-screenwriter Danny Steinmann and cast members Shavar Ross, John Shepherd and filmmaker/fan Michael Felsher. The four of them seem to get a good banter going, but it has a tendancy to drop off between different scenes, they talk about this film being great, it being the best, and other jokes until Steinmann admits the kills aren’t that good and speaks to how the movie was heavily censored by the MPAA. Despite the candor and the joking around in the commentary, it’s still a bit underwhelming in the talk about the movie itself and production.

“Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5” short film runs for 7 minutes and 9 seconds. Please stop putting these on the DVD's if you release the next set of three movies. Just get more fan convention footage if you can, I didn’t sign up to sit in on a student film class with bad student acting all filmed with high quality cameras that the University just spent it’s budget on. These shorts are more of an assignment than anything else, there is no sense of enjoyment shows up in the short, it’s just there to take up a bit of empty disc space.

“The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited: Part II” runs for 10 minutes and 11 seconds. Now this featurette is something a bit more my speed, far less pretentious and much more wink wink nudge nudge humor that’s trying to appear to the kind of person that watches the entire franchise in a sitting or two. This second part of the mocumentary brings us back to fake news stories and debates over the existence of Jason and Tommy Jarvis’ insanity follow his attack by Jason.

“New Beginnings: The Making of ‘Friday the 13th Part V – A New Beginning” runs for 11 minutes and 3 seconds. This retrospective making-of featurette shows another knack for bringing in a bunch of the original cast and crew to talk about the film and putting it together. It’s more direct and to the point than the commentary, though Michael Felsher seems serious about defending the movie as good when his credit as ‘horror guru’ should make him able to recognize that this is not even near a mediocre installment in the franchise. Unfortunately there are photos or clips of the actual making of the film, but there’s a good montage of all the kills in the film. Tom Savini makes a surprise, non speaking, appearance, which just ups my respect even more.

The original theatrical trailer runs for 1 minute and 59 seconds.

The bonus trailer is the exact same as on the other two recent ‘Deluxe Edition’ releases:

- “The Uninvited” runs for 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Packaging

This disc is packaged in an amaray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: D- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: B- Overall: C

 


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