Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Once you’re this far into a series, you have to do something to reward people for their loyalty, devotion, or lack of other things to do. Part VI of the series, Jason Lives gets points for effort for injecting some humour into its stagnating formula of the dispensation of horny teenagers. Then The New Blood comes out and it’s all back to the same nonsense. Despite throwing in the unbelievable-even-in-a-series-where-a-dead-guy-won’t-stay-dead concept of a telekinetic protagonist, the movie features a tired story, disappointing violence, and embarrassing attempts to cover these other elements up.

By this point, we know that nearly everyone we meet in the movie, except usually the lead and their love interest, is going to die. Unfortunately, the form of slasher films (as well as their continued sequelification) seemingly insists on the bad guy either winning or at least coming back for one final scare before the credits roll. We know the formula and so do the film-makers. Somewhere along the line, however, Freddy, Jason, Michael, Jigsaw, and company stopped being bad guys, and “horror” films became a study of the inventiveness of how our beloved characters would go about dispatching their prey. The New Blood is a perfect example of this. The only characters I felt anything for irritated me enough that I was somehow more apathetic when they were killed. The movie doesn’t bother building sympathy for anyone because everyone knows that they’re going to die anyway. Nowadays, what makes a character in a slasher flick really stand out is that you don’t want to see them die (see Aaron Yoo’s character, Chewie, in the remake of the original). Without such characters, the film’s enjoyableness hinges on the morally reprehensible originality of its kills. And, for The New Blood, that flops too.

The second worst thing that happened to this movie (the first being that someone decided to make it) was the process it went through in earning its rating. Apparently, the original cut of the film was much more brutal in its violence. In going through the painstaking process of sanitizing the film to earn a marketable R-rating, pretty much any scene that would have salvaged the movie (at least to those bloodthirsy folks who get pleasure out of watching somebody be stabbed in the eye with a party whistle and having blood and other viscera spewing out of its horn) was cut or trimmed. Reading the list of deleted scenes allows you the ability to visual what those kills would have looked like, leaving you to imagine the better, or at least different, movie it could have been.

In case I am not getting across the point of how little I enjoyed most of this movie, after about halfway through, I had to switch the audio track over to the director’s commentary in order to remind myself that people willingly participated in its creation. It’s not until the last ten minutes, when the aforementioned telekinetic girl finally has her showdown with Jason that the movie becomes watchable. Here, the psychic stuff becomes temporarily forgivable, the thrills are a bit more legitimate, and Jason’s face is revealed to disturbing results. Oh, and there’s a huge explosion. But alas, the momentum can’t hold, and the climax ends with one of the stupidest “twists” I have ever seen. Cue protagonist and love interest being rolled away in an ambulance, roll credits, and there you have it: a movie that seemingly exists as a warning to other series about what happens when your franchise suffers from a sequel-abuse problem.

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