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Friday the 13th Part 7 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 7 – Review

Jan 13, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by John Carl Buechler, 1988.

The 7th entry into the popular Friday the 13th franchise welcomes the appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees.  Hodder is today recognized as the definitive Jason, thanks in part to his portrayal of the masked killer in this film.

Friday the 13th Part 7 features a girl named Tina who is continuing to cope with the death of her father, a death she caused by telekinetic activity.  Years later, after failed attempts to understand her strange abilities in a mental institution, Tina is taken back to the place of her father’s death at Crystal Lake.  She is accompanied by her mom and doctor played by Terry Kiser (who unfortunately will always been seen now as the dead guy in Weekend At Bernie’s).  Right across the road, of course, is a group of college students throwing a big birthday party for their friend.  That is super lucky  – the body count would not be near as impressive in this film if not for that party.  In a moment of rage, Tina tries to resurrect her dad from the lake using her special powers (they never lifted his body from the lake?) but accidentally raises Jason instead.  Oops.  From there it is kill after kill until Tina really does resurrect her dad who drags Jason back into the depths of Crystal Lake.

Part 7 was supposed to pit Jason Vorhees against Freddy Krueger, an idea that went down in flames because Paramount Pictures and New Line Cinema could not reach an agreement – big shock there.  Instead, they came up with this beauty of a plot.  The movie does have some memorable kill scenes, including the famous sleeping bag against a tree kill that ranks as the best death of the series for many fans.  Interestingly, the movie was heavily cut and many kill scenes were not what the director initially intended.  Even when the movie was released to video, additional edits were made.  For example, the aforementioned sleeping bag scene featured 6 whacks against the tree in the theatrical release, but only one whack in the video release.  Weird.

I do have to give the film credit for one incredible scene, perhaps the best scene in the entire franchise.  At one point a guy named David, one of the party goers, ventures into the kitchen for a late night snack, armed only with his flashlight (the power was off) and the occasional strike of lightning.  Little does he know that Jason is standing in the corner, just watching and waiting for his next victim.  The viewer gets a quick glimpse of Jason when the lightning flashes again.  This is truly a great scare, is incredibly creepy, and is an act of subtlety that the franchise is certainly not known for.  The movie is worth the viewing just for those 5 seconds.

Overall I am indifferent to part 7.  I think it is silly and screams of the writers running out of clever ideas (which unfortunately continues to escalate, as in the next installment we see Jason stalking New York and then later he ends up in space.  Oh boy).  But, it is still campy, visually fun, scary at parts, and does feature a terrific Jason Vorhees.  Those are good enough reasons for me to give it a somewhat positive review.  But by this point, you either love these movies or hate them.  If the former, then this is right up your alley.  If the latter, then move on.

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