“You mean the Jason of Camp Blood?”: ‘Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives’ Review

Posted in Screening Room by - October 11, 2017
“You mean the Jason of Camp Blood?”: ‘Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives’ Review

As the final chapter of the Tommy Jarvis trilogy and a kind of quasi-reboot to the franchise, Jason Lives doesn’t just bring a quirky sense of humor to the franchise but it features some of the series’ best moments.

Written and Directed by Tom McLoughlin, Jason Lives is relatively simple in its premise: Tommy Jarvis, who stopped Jason when he was just a child, continues to have nightmares and visions of him so in order to stop his curse once and for all he decides to destroy the body of Jason. This quickly ends in disaster when lightning (yes, really) revives Jason and causes him to return more powerful than ever before. Now Tommy must try to stop the supernatural force that is Jason for good before it’s too late.

Next to maybe The Final Chapter, Jason Lives is one of the most beloved of the entire franchise and with good measure because McLoughlin’s approach is one that embraces the series’ absurdity and takes it to new creative heights. Right from the very beginning, specifically the opening credits, you know you’re in for something special when the series gets self-referential and pokes fun at the James Bond franchise by giving Jason his own “gun barrel” sequence.

One of the many benefits of Jason Lives is that its self-awareness is very pre-Scream and while it’s not as groundbreaking as Wes Craven’s classic slasher it does have a ton of fun by making Jason a directly supernatural force and having incredibly over the top kills in the process. Even the characters in the film behave in a way that is very much self-aware of what type of movie they’re in. In one of the funniest encounters with Jason one of the characters even references that she’s seen enough horror movies to know that a guy in a mask standing in front of them is always a bad idea. This type of meta-humor just creates a really fun sense of momentum and it allows the franchise to have its cake and eat it too. It can be incredibly violent and have insane kills while also referencing that the nature of a “zombie” Jason is absolutely ridiculous.

The presentation of Jason as a larger than life, for lack of a better word, the zombie is one that also helps the film be a little bit more creative with its body count rather than just being a “guy in a mask” slasher film. By having this version of Jason, who’s supernatural, the kills are just able to be over the top and much more elaborate as a whole.

McLoughlin’s script and direction is also one that allows the filmmaker to leave his mark and make something that truly stands out. Aside from the script being really sharp and witty, the direction during the horror scenes is really well done and imbued with the right amount of dread but what stands out is that at times this entry feels bigger and badder than a lot of the other ones; this chapter has massive shootouts and huge set pieces that give it an unusual sense of scale.

Jason Lives is not only funny and scary but it also has a lot of cool Gothic elements to it that present an atmospheric and crazy inventive version of Friday the 13th that sadly we haven’t seen again. It’s not just the fact that it moves the franchise into supernatural slasher but the film also acknowledges how absurd what you’re seeing truly is; it comments on that and subverts your expectations as a whole in the process. If there’s a Friday the 13th sequel that you have to see make it this and The Final Chapter; Jason Lives is not only a wonderful reboot of the series but it also serves as a great capper for the Tommy Jarvis saga.

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He is an avid movie fan and loves to write about movies perhaps a little too much. He also considers Casino Royale to be the best James Bond film ever made and he's ready to defend at any moment.
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