Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

There is a problem with the timeline of the Friday The 13th series.  The first movie, which came out in 1980, takes place in 1979. We know this because of Mrs. Voorhees' tombstone, which is we see in the fourth movie (which is optimistically titled The Final Chapter).  Part 2 takes place five years later, in 1984. Parts 3 and 4 take place right afterward, so still in 1984.  In Part 4, Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) is twelve years old.  In Part V: A New Beginning, he is at least seventeen. So it's 1989 or 1990. (And yes, starting with the fifth film, they switched to Roman numerals.)  In Part VI: Jason Lives, Tommy is a few years older. So it's probably 1993 or thereabouts.  Part VI ends with Tommy chaining Jason to a large rock in the lake just in front of the camp.

With Part VII: The New Blood, the timeline becomes truly problematic.  Part VII opens in the same spot, with Jason chained up at the bottom of the lake. But the camp is gone. In place of the cabins, there is a house, and it seems to have been there for quite a while. So it's at least a decade later. So, say, 2003. In the opening scene, a young girl who is maybe seven or eight years old, accidentally kills her father using telekinesis. He falls into the lake, just at the edge, as the short pier he is on collapses.  And then the rest of the film takes place when Tina is seventeen or eighteen. So, yes, another decade later, making this film take place in 2013.  But the film came out in 1988, so no one in it has cell phones or anything.  The film doesn't address the fact that it takes place in the future.  Everyone is dressed in late 1980s fashions. And they have an old television from the '80s too. And a VCR. And old telephones and cars.

So the movie is fighting an uphill battle. And then there is the telekinesis aspect.  Tina has returned to the house to deal with her feelings, aided by a doctor who is really out to exploit her talents. But after moving a matchbook with her mind, she goes outside and somehow breaks the chains that keep Jason in the lake.  She senses someone out there, and for some reason thinks it's her father.  Though, really, wouldn't they have lifted her father's body from the shallow water to give it a funeral and proper burial?  The answer, it turns out later, is no.  So anyway, she inadvertently frees Jason.  By the way, how was that chain keeping Jason there in the first place? In Part VI, Jason is strong enough to crush skulls and punch through someone's chest and whatnot, but this chain for some reason is too much for him.

Also, in Part VI it was established that the name of the town was changed from Crystal Lake to Forest Green (or something like that) so that the town could put all the killing behind it. Yet, for some reason in the intervening decades, someone decided to change it back, because the old sign is back up.

Twenty years hanging out in a lake hasn't diminished Jason's killing power. And he goes about killing a bunch of people in this film. The film introduces characters only to have them slaughtered in the same scene. So of course we care about none of them. They're there just to give Jason something to do for an hour or so before he goes after the two or three characters who have been established.  And then there are some awful characters, who are established only enough for us to hate them, and they too are slaughtered.

You know, things started to go wrong with Part 3. Because in the first two, all of the characters are basically likeable, so you don't want them to be killed. But starting with the third film, the filmmakers introduced characters you hate, characters you want to have die. And that's screwed up, because then Jason becomes the hero, at least for the moment. Like in Part VII, you want the stuck-up blonde to be brutally butchered. Same goes for the doctor. (The doctor actually uses Tina's mother as a shield to protect himself from Jason, thus getting her killed - one of the few believable moments in the movie.)  But when you start cheering for the killer, the film ceases to be scary, and instead makes you feel like a shithead.

Part VII has a random cat jump out of a closet, where apparently it's been for a long time. Part 2 has a random cat jump through an open window.  And another one (I can't remember which) has a random cat jump off a shelf in a diner.

Well, once Jason starts killing off the characters in Part VII he apparently finds a wild assortment of weapons in the woods.  Every time we see him, he has something new. Where did he get all this stuff?  And why does he bother going for a variety of weapons?  Is he bored?  I am.  Anyway, Tina uses telekinesis to hurl couches and potted plants at Jason, which confuses him. At the end, the house explodes for some reason.

And then this is the part that is really stupid. Tina uses telekinesis to bring her father back from the dead. Apparently they just left his body at the edge of the lake ten years ago, which is ridiculous.  Also ridiculous is that his body didn't decompose.  So he comes back and grabs Jason and pulls him into the lake.  Seriously.  The end.

As awful as this film is, the next two in the series are much, much worse.

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