Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning is one of the worst films in the Jason series. A good slasher sequel should show some loyalty to its fans and aim to provide what they want and expect when they pay money to see it. This movie fails to do these things entirely.
The fifth Jason movie is the second film in the Tommy Jarvis trilogy and it takes place over ten years after the last one. Tommy is now in his early 20’s and being sent to a mental health community. The trauma from the last movie has left him with extreme PTSD and he has not spoken a word in years. The new facility he is sent to is run by a well-meaning progressive who wants to provide the residents more freedom and less of a sterile hospital environment. It’s run a lot like an adult foster care home with the clients allowed to do what they wish with limited freedom. The theory is that the clients will be better acclimatised to normal life this way and while that is good in theory several idiotic mistakes are made.
For one thing they allow a patient with severe anger issues to use an ax to chop wood. I am all for giving less fortunate people opportunities to better themselves, but giving someone with a volatile temper an ax is stupid. And the stupidity becomes readily manifest when he loses his shit and begins hacking to death another patient. Shortly after paramedics take the body away and the psychopath is arrested. But since the universe this movie occupies makes no sense the home remains open.
Later on while Tommy is staying there Jason shows up and starts massacring people in the vicinity. This is obviously surprising since Tommy hacked Jason to death years ago and was buried. Nevertheless with no explanation being presently offered Jason complete with mask and machete is slaughtering the patients, staff, and even the dumb hillbillies next door. In typical Jason fashion among the first slaughtered are a pair of horny teenagers having sex. What’s odd is that these two are patients from the facility and I find it unnerving that an AFC home would tolerate patients banging each other without doing much about it. Being progressive is one thing. Being so loose that you risk getting shut down is another.
By the end the survivors are the facility’s director, Pam; Tommy Jarvis, and a black kid named Reggie who is probably the only black person in history to survive a slasher movie.
Reggie runs over Jason with a tractor and he is thrown several feet in the air. Tommy eventually faces Jason off in the barn from the third movie and triumphs when he pushes Jason from the loft window and falls onto a harrow.
When the body of Jason is recovered from the harrow it is revealed that he isn’t Jason at all. It’s one of the paramedics from the facility. Apparently the boy hacked to death was his son and he went crazy with grief. Seeking revenge on the AFC home for its failure to protect his son he starts masquerading as Jason and slashing up whomever he meets. Too bad he never got revenge on the psycho that actually killed him. You would think that would be more productive to his point.
But, now that we know that the killer was just a normal guy a lot of questions are raised. The main one is how the fuck this guy was so strong. He was not the real Jason so how did he survive getting run over by a tractor. The paramedic was a middle-aged man. He was not a muscular melon head who lived in the woods for most of his life.
The movie ends with Pam visiting Tommy in the hospital and he has a nightmare in which he kills her with a machete. He wakes up and dons the Jason mask and grabs a butcher knife. Why these things were in his hospital room is anyone’s guess and since the next movie ignores this ending completely we are given no satisfactory conclusion to what the fuck was going on here. At least the ending to Halloween 4 in which the little girl stabs her mother is referenced in Halloween 5 a little bit.
I am not sure what the filmmakers were thinking. The fans after the previous three films are used to having Jason being the killer. How is adding a twist in which the main attraction is absent gonna please anybody? This is worse than Halloween III. At least that movie didn’t pretend to be something it was not.
This is the first real disappointment of the Friday the 13th series. There are more to come, but thankfully there is still some good ones before we start getting more shit than gold.