Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Friday the 13th Part 3D

If you're thinking to yourself "I loved seeing Avatar in theaters...I bet Friday the 13th Part 3D will be even better," then I have some mixed news for you.  First, this movie is better because no Smurfs die in it.  Unfortunately, though, the 3D in this movie is vintage 80s 3D, where the killer's knife will stab at the screen --- in 3DWhoa!  Here is a list of some of the less awesome things that went 3D in this film:

  • The opening credits
  • Marijuana
  • Wallet
  • Yo-yo
  • Juggling
  • Popcorn
  • Girl crotch (not sexual --- it's kind of used as a weapon)

So...yeah.  This movie takes place the day after the events of Part II.  If you haven't seen the other movies in the series, what do you need to know?  Jason Voorhees is a mass murderer that targets teens that bother his peace in the woods outside Camp Crystal Lake.  If that doesn't bring you up to date, then the six-minute recap of the last six minutes of Part II will.  Jason apparently survived his conflict with a not terribly attractive blonde girl and scampered off into the woods.  He was smart enough not to return to his poorly constructed shack and instead heads to a neighboring town that appears to be a few minutes away from Crystal Lake.  Jason's refuge of choice happens to be the barn at a vacation home that is currently in use.  Way to lie low, buddy.  Jason has managed to change his clothes between movies and also gained some muscle mass (the actor changed to stuntman Richard Brooker), so don't expect him to be nursing his wounds for too long in the barn.

The kids in this movie are just a group of friends that are trying to have a fun weekend.  Well, most of them are trying to have fun.  The main girl apparently is trying to face her fears; two summers before, she was attacked by a deformed man-monster in the woods (hmm...who could that be?) outside that very vacation home.  Along for the ride is her former boyfriend, who is classy enough to constantly pressure a clearly traumatized girl into sex, despite not having seen her for over a year.  There is also a pathetic fat kid, marking the first (but certainly not the last) time in this series that a fat person was included in the script for humor purposes.  The kids try to come to terms with their sexuality, drug use, and (in one case) their tendency to be attacked by deformed man-monsters in this heart-warming coming-of-age tale.

Let's focus on the positives first.  This slasher flick had twelve fatalities, including one where Jason kills a guy, as he walks on his hands, with a machete through the crotch that I swear reached his ribs.  That was pretty awesome.  I liked the transition from the last film, where Jason was more of a prowler, to this film, where he clearly becomes a predator.  I also appreciate his complete lack of motivation.  It's a slasher movie.  I don't need reasons for the blood and gore, but if you offer one, it had better be good; this movie decides to avoid reasoning entirely.  This movie is also noteworthy for being the first Friday to feature Jason with his signature hockey mask.  He apparently became very attached to that accessory, since it has rarely left his face since.  This film is also the first in the series to have a clearly minor character realize that a killer was on the loose; it didn't help her, but it does add some spice to things.

Despite those bright points, this isn't a particularly good slasher movie.  Yes, the body count is good, and yes there is some brief nudity, but there are early signs that this film will underwhelm.  The first clue is the fact that there is a skinny dipping scene that happens off camera so we can see the fat annoying kid whine about being fat and annoying.  Don't worry, he dies later.  Actually this is the character that gives Jason his mask; well, "gives" may be a strong word, but Jason takes the hockey mask from the corpse of the fat kid after fattie wears it with a wetsuit to scare somebody.  A hockey mask with a wetsuit for water-related, it doesn't make sense, but there's no hockey in the summer, so how else can you incorporate a hockey mask?  I mean, besides any other way.  Another sign that this isn't a good movie is the inclusion of a biker gang that consists of three rednecks in their mid-thirties.  There are also a lot of inconsistencies with Jason's strength.  He throws a 200+ pound man through a window with apparent ease, but literally seconds later, Jason gets hurt by books falling on him.  Does that make this an allegory for the destructive power of ignorance?  And the only way to combat ignorance is through knowledge?  Um, sure.  And, contrary to popular opinion, hammocks are not comedy gold.  I don't care how many people walk into a bedroom that has a hammock and ask, "where's the bed?" it's still not funny. 

This movie takes place only hours after the events in Part II, which (by my logic) sets the date for this film as Saturday, June 14, 1986.  So, Jason has a major knife wound (at least three inches deep) in his shoulder and he decides to rest for a while and heal.  The biker gang and kids start to wander into the barn where he's hiding and he has to kill them; it's self defense.  But, when you kill most of a group of friends, you might as well complete the set, because you know they'll just wind up wandering through the woods at night, calling their boyfriend's name.  Really, Jason was just being thorough here.

I wish the filmmakers were as thorough.  They should not have bothered with the back story for the main girl; it almost seems like Jason went to her abandoned family vacation home not to heal, but to finish the job he started two years ago.  And they never even reveal why Jason didn't kill her in their first encounter, which is an annoying plot hole.  Steve Miner's directing certainly didn't help the terrible acting (especially the fat kid), but the cinematography isn't nearly as bad as the last film.  I think my least favorite part about the movie (aside from that stupid fat kid) was Jason unmasked.  Here is a drawing that I did in less than two minutes on my computer.

Compare it to an actual screen shot from the movie.  I bet you think the screen shot looks way better than my drawing, but guess what, hot shot?  I lied!  The link is to my drawing and the above picture is the screen shot!  Now, you're probably thinking, why does Jason look like a cross between a demon pig and a terrible bit of child art?  I don't have a good answer for you.

While certainly not the best movie in the series, Friday the 13th Part 3D isn't awful.  What keeps this from being a good slasher film, though --- despite all the problems I have listed --- is the pacing.  Jason doesn't really do anything except lurk in the barn until the biker gang shows up.  This is the third movie in the series, everyone knows who the killer is, so building suspense is pointless.  Just get to the killing already!  Don't waste my time with annoying characters and back story that doesn't really involve the killer, just start chopping!

And no, I did not just copy-and-paste Roger Ebert's review for this post.

1 comment:

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