Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection - Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Directed by Danny Steinmann
Written by Martin Kitrosser and Danny Steinmann
1985, Region A, 92 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013
Melanie Kinnaman as Pam
John Shepherd as Tommy
Shavar Ross as Reggie
Miguel Nunez as Demon
Carol Locatell as Ethel
Ron Sloan as Junior
Marco St. John as Sheriff Tucker
Dominick Brascia as Joey
Juliette Cummins as Robin
Tiffany Helm as Violet
Debiesue Voorhees as Tina
Tommy Jarvis has had a rough couple of years (ever since Jason Voorhees took a crap on his childhood) and he is now being transferred to yet another psychiatric facility. This location is a minimum security joint without guards or walls and is generally quite soothing...like a summer camp. He is plagued by nightmares and hallucinations involving the tragedy that destroyed his happy family. The other patients are suffering from every kind of emotional and psychological disorder imaginable, from homicidal rage to mild stuttering. Tommy is not the most talkative person anymore and this keeps him on the outside of most social circles. He befriends a young teenager named Reggie "The Reckless", whose grandfather is a caretaker on the grounds.
Trouble soon rears its ugly head when an emotionally challenged teen meets a brutal end at the hands of a fellow patient. The group is traumatized by the incident, but things continue to spiral out of control as an unseen assailant begins cleaning house and racking up an impressive body count of characters we hardly meet before they are dispatched. Tommy continues to have hallucinations of the bloody specter of Jason Voorhees and begins acting out in increasingly violent outbursts. Could he be responsible for the murders or has Jason returned from the grave?
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning landed in cinemas less than a year after the producers promised an end to the franchise. Jason fans were elated and raced out opening weekend only to leave the movie feeling duped and disappointed. Without giving everything away, it is safe to say that there was a creative choice to be made as to which direction the series should go if it were to continue. Some thought Tommy should claim the throne as a new villain, while others wanted Jason and Tommy to have a rematch. The powers that be chose a third option and ended up pissing off the majority of their fans. The end result is a picture that feels underdeveloped, rushed, sloppy, trashy and above all else, extremely entertaining. This is the most gonzo detour the studio could have unleashed on theatres nationwide and I love it!
Forget everything you thought you appreciated from earlier installments. The well-drawn characters and clever camera work, the inspired violence and suspenseful conclusions – you will find none of that here. What viewers get instead is a bizarre sort of alternate reality where everybody is trashy and the community is generally filthy and just about everyone is full of rage. Where earlier Friday films introduced supporting characters and treated them either in passing or as suspects, there was generally a chance they would simply leave the story. With this movie, people show up long enough to exhibit some annoying behavior or flash some nudity before getting killed off. One example finds a handyman murdered before he even gets a name.
The acting from our leads John Shepherd and Melanie Kinnaman as Tommy and Pam is less than good. She is possibly the worst Final Girl of the series and falls down if she gets hit by a rain drop. Shepherd is either wooden and withdrawn or suddenly a martial arts champion screaming his lungs out. The dynamic is pretty funny to watch, but wears thin once the cat is out of the bag and you know the finale you wanted isn't coming until the next sequel. Shavar Ross (TV's Diff'rent Strokes) is not terrible as Reggie "The Reckless," but as a child actor he's no Corey Feldman.
The best supporting roles of this or honestly any Friday are the mother/ son shit-kickers Ethel and Junior, Carol Locatell and Ron Sloan respectively. The film improves every time these two appear on screen and I wish they had gotten their own spin-off show. Another highlight is Miguel Nunez (Return of the Living Dead) as Reggie's brother Demon. This guy jams everything he's got into a role that barely lasts more than five minutes. He sings, he keeps it real, he inspires the younger generation, a true legend. Marco St. John (Beyond the Wall of Sleep) turns up briefly as the local sheriff, but has little more to do than act perplexed.
The real star of Friday the 13th Part V is director Danny Steinmann (Savage Streets), who grabs the film by the throat and forces it down into a creepy and uncomfortable dirty place. The plot is sleazy and the universe he creates is pretty wild. He doubles the usual body count and while these are generally censored down to quick cutaways, there is a weird abundance of penetration shots. There's also a nice amount of nudity on display, with no less than three actresses appearing topless within 90 minutes. The recently deceased Steinmann had a reputation for being difficult to work with, but appeared to always enjoy himself when discussing the film in various interviews and appearances. He will be missed.
Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):
The producers wanted another cash grab, but couldn't commit to which direction to take the series. Their first mistake was having the killer wearing the iconic mask, but having nothing to do with the Voorhees legend. Tommy is the logical extension here, but by keeping him a heroic figure robs the punch at the end. If there was going to be an actual reboot, the hockey mask should have died with Jason.
Paramount pictures released the first eight films in the series and Friday V marked a turning point in the franchise. There is a very distinct disconnect between the first four movies and the next four made under their watch. Part V attempted to remove the star from the story and fans wanted nothing to do with it because it was not as special without Jason.
When did Tommy learn to fight so skillfully? Seriously, this dude beats the shit out of everybody... except Jason.
I completely appreciate the parent's devastation following the loss of a child, but the tragedies Roy and Mrs. Voorhees share are radically different in nature.
Jason presumably drowned because of an act of negligence. His mother holds the camp and its staff (current and future) responsible. She sets out to place countless other families in the same horrible position she is in by deliberately taking away innocent children and causing heartache and sorrow to families she has never met. Fuck her.
Roy is just an asshole. His son was brutally murdered and the man responsible is in police custody. Instead of seeking revenge on this one guy or letting the authorities handle things, Roy kills everyone else that crosses his path. Fuck him, too.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features for this collection will be discussed on the final page of this review.