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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

1988 | United States | 88 min | More...
A still from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
D+: 2 stars (out of 5)
on Fri Apr 23, 2021

I came with an open mind. I’d heard rumblings it was bad, but rumblings can be wrong.

The story opens with seven-year-old Tina standing outside a house on Crystal Lake. Inside, we hear her parents fighting. Mom’s yelling that Dad promised he wouldn’t drink so much. Dad’s smacking Mom and telling her to shut up. The scene aims for drama but plays as caricature.

Tina runs down to the lake, traverses a short pier, and gets into a small fishing boat. She motors out to the middle of the lake.

Dad comes running out of the house1. He yells for Tina to come back. Mom comes out and joins the yelling. Dad advances down the pier.

Tina gives Dad the stink-eye and the pier starts shaking. Not a rumble, but a full-on cartoonish wobble—the pylons jutting several feet into the air like an out-of-control carnival ride.

The pier crumbles into the lake, taking Dad with it.

We flash-forward to a seventeen-year-old2 Tina returning to the Crystal Lake house along with her mother. Her smarmy psychiatrist, Dr. Crews, insists Tina confront her father’s death by revisiting the scene.

Next door is an obligatory house full of teens.

A few needless scenes later, Tina’s telekinesis reanimates Jason3. Meanwhile, Tina’s mom uncovers Dr. Crews’s true intentions.

There’s a lot of over-emoting and dues ex machina that culminates in Tina hurling flower pots at Jason with her mind.

Okay, so the rumblings proved right. Sitting through this was a chore. Like the song says: Sometimes, bad is bad.

It should have been better. The script borrows its setup from part four and Kane Hodder brings a hulking physicality to his performance as Jason. But the censors ruined this film.

Director John Carl Buechler rose to prominence as a special effects wizard. He filmed elaborate, over-the-top death scenes that the MPAA forced the studio to cut. Without the exaggerated fatalities to balance the melodrama, the film feels far too self-satisfied. It lacks part six’s black humor or part five’s manic campiness.

The millstone subplot involving telekinetic4 Tina, her mother, and Dr. Crews sinks the movie. I ached to fast-forward through these scenes.

It doesn’t help that Tina’s rendered as an ineffectual protagonist who spends most of the film in histrionics. When the teens next door take an instant dislike to her, we’re on their side. And speaking of those teens, they’re just fodder. None of them register.

Still, I love Hodder’s Jason. And we get memorable visuals, such as the scene where an unsuspecting teen crosses a darkened kitchen and in a flash of lightning we see Jason illuminated in the frame’s corner. But for this film, the MPAA, not Tina, proved Jason’s undoing.

  1. My first thought upon seeing Dad: Stewart Smalley?
  2. Setting this entry in the then-future of 2001. I wonder how many fans realized this back in 1988.
  3. Jason ended the prior film chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake. The script doesn’t try to explain how Tina’s telekinesis revives him, but the movie should end here. Tina resurrects Jason and passes out. Jason dismembers her unconscious body. But no. Jason marches past her and both houses. He goes a few miles up a dark road to off a pair of teens before circling back to continue his rampage.
  4. In his review on Horror Movie A Day, Brian Collins speculates the telekinesis aspect was a response to the higher grossing A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Fri Apr 23, 2021 via Blu-ray (Friday the 13th Collection, Shout Factory, 2020)
    Watched on
    Sat Dec 27, 2014 via Netflix