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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Friday the 13th: The New Blood

(Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)
1988 | United States | 88 min | More...
A still from Friday the 13th: The New Blood (1988)
D+: 2 stars (out of 5)
on Fri Oct 13, 2023

I came with an open mind. I’d heard rumblings this Jason meets Carrie slasher 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 borders on parody.

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 house looking like Stuart Smalley and acting like a bad Ike Turner impersonation. He yells for Tina to come back. Mom comes out and joins the yelling. Dad advances down the pier.

Tina gives Dad a stink-eye he can smell from the pier 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-old Tina returning to the Crystal Lake house along with her mother.1 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 Jason.2 Meanwhile, Tina’s mom uncovers Dr. Crews’s true intentions.

Next comes a lot of over-emoting and deus ex machina, epitomized by a scene where Tina, bag packed to leave, overhears Crews and her mom arguing, drops her bag, grabs the car keys and flees. She gets a few minutes down the road before she hallucinates Jason murdering her mom, causing her to crash the car into a tree. Why does this scene exist? To remove the car as a means of escape and separate Tina from her mother and Crews.

Meanwhile, Jason works his way through the teens in the house next door. The censors excised all the graphic violence. What’s left could air on late night network television.

All this leads to an underwhelming finale where Tina hurls 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 serious. It lacks part six’s black humor or part five’s manic campiness.

The millstone subplot involving telekinetic Tina, her mother, and Dr. Crews sinks the movie.3 I ached to fast forward through these scenes.

The script rendering Tina as an ineffectual protagonist who spends most of the film in histrionics doesn’t help. 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. Franchise fans will enjoy Hodder’s debut, but newcomers and casual fans should turn to part four for a classic slasher, part six for a dash of meta humor, or part ten for self-aware camp.

  1. Setting this entry in the then-future of 2001. I wonder how many fans realized this back in 1988.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Oct 13, 2023
    at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - One Loudoun
    Watched on
    Fri Apr 23, 2021 via Blu-ray (Friday the 13th Collection, Shout Factory, 2020)
    Watched on
    Sat Dec 27, 2014 via Netflix