Thursday, August 29, 2013

Film Review: Friday The 13th Part 8 - Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Friday The 13th: Part 8 - Jason Takes Manhattan (Review)
United States/1989
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"With the right expectations and interests, you should find some entertainment value in this installment..."

Jason Voorhees is miraculously resurrected once again from his grave at the bottom of Crystal Lake. Jason hitches a ride and jumps ship onto the SS Lazarus... filled with partying high school graduates heading to New York City.

And so the story continues as expected: a few annoying teenagers get slaughtered one by one as Jason teleports from place to place. The first two acts of the film are based on the cruise ship, which is a nice setting for a slaughter and a welcomed change to the usual environment. I say it was actually pretty solid to begin with. About two-thirds in, Jason finally reaches New York City for an underwhelming final act. I genuinely laughed out loud during one unintentionally humorous scene and again during another odd scene, and really couldn't care less for the ending.

As you'd expect from the series, the film isn't scary. It has some brutal kills and occasionally impressive special effects, but the actual kill scene is often off-screen; call me what you want, but I'd like to see the special effects in action rather than the aftermath. There are some jump-scares, a few that were solid thanks to some great visuals, but not enough. The boat setting was good, but the segment took too long. Maybe that's beneficial since the New York City segment was where the film fumbled for me -- most of the intentional humor was a miss, and I laughed at some "so bad it's good" moments. Other than that, expect the same cliché characters and generic character arcs, especially a cringe-worthy "tough guy boxer" character; the story has no emotional depth, so don't expect to care for the characters as they don't care for each other either.

The acting was good from most of the cast, especially towards the beginning. There are some over-exaggerated deaths, but most were okay. The settings were solid, although New York City was underused and poorly utilized; I ultimately liked the change in settings, at least this one time, since Crystal Lake had been poorly used more than once. The special effects were great, but they've been better in previous installments; not exactly a graphic film, but there are a few brutal kills. Technically speaking, it's pretty much a typical Friday The 13th with a change of setting.

Overall, Friday The 13th Part 8 - Jason Takes Manhattan is a solid installment in the franchise -- it's not the best, but it's far from the worst. With the right expectations and interests, you should find some entertainment value in this installment, at least enough to kill a night.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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