When I used to watch the Friday the 13th movies on endless loops as a teenager, A New Beginning was always my least favourite. It’s the entry I would rather just didn’t exist. How can you make a Friday the 13th movie without Jason? When I was approaching Part V during this grand rewatch, however, I found the idea of a copycat entry being quite cool and daring. The films become increasingly repetitive and formulaic with each sequel so at this point in the series it’s definitely time for a mix-up. Plus, from a narrative standpoint, Jason Vorhees’ reign of terror from Part 2 to The Final Chapter is what transformed him into an urban legend around Crystal Lake therefore it’s only natural that we get an “intermission” chapter to let Jason’s legacy form while he rests in peace. And lets not forget: the original Friday the 13th is also Jason-less so perhaps the concept isn’t as outlandish as the fans assumed back in 1985, or as I thought in the early 2000s.
Sadly, while the central conceit could have been interesting with the right approach, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is an all time low for the franchise. There’s just very little to remember about this one. The sex and violence has a particularly cruel and sleazy edge making it an ugly and lifeless experience. I like what they tried to do with Tommy Jarvis (did he spend the past few years mastering jiu jitsu?) and that it shares continuity with the previous instalments but the whole thing is a bit of a misstep. Setting it around an asylum for troubled teenagers is a good idea but that too is totally wasted. They didn’t even seem to think through the whole “fake Jason” storyline either. How the hell can Roy, a middle-aged ambulance driver, sustain all the damage he takes throughout this one? The guy should be dead with the first head-blow! All that said, the film gets bonus points for having badass “final kid” in the form of Reggie. Watching him pile-drive Roy the wannabe Jason with a tractor is a series highlight.
All in all, very little to write home about here. I enjoy what it adds to the Friday the 13th mythology but its impact is diluted when even the subsequent instalments decided to completely ignore its existence. Although, thank god they scrapped the idea of turning Tommy into the series’ new madman. Only one thing could get the series back on track at this point: a good old fashioned resurrection.