Horrortoberfest ’22 Day 6 – Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Aw, hell yeah. The unstoppable, undead murder machine finally arrives in all his gory glory. After everyone unsurprisingly hated the previous film’s attempt at passing the mask to someone new (and its sleazy, boring direction), Part 6 leaned hard in the other direction. Jason Lives knows exactly what the audience wants and it gives it to them, with Jason front and center right from the get go. While generally considered one of if not the best entry in the franchise, it still manages to suffer from some lingering issues.

Tommy Jarvis is back for his third movie with a third actor in the role. Set an indeterminate amount of time after the last film, Tommy is now out of psychiatric care but still can’t let go of his Jason obsession. With the help of his soon-to-be very dead friend, he goes to dig up Jason just to make sure. Seeing the dead body isn’t enough for Tommy, though, so he grabs a fence spike and stabs the corpse a couple times for good measure but when lightning strikes the metal spike, it’s enough to Frankenstein up the once lifeless body. It’s up to Tommy to try to save a newly renamed Camp Crystal Lake, now Camp Forest Green, from getting the standard Friday treatment.

I definitely see why this installment is so highly regarded by fans of the series. Everything seems to have been polished up and they got an actual writer/director that seemed to give a shit for a change. The script is extremely modern feeling with plenty of genre savvy moments, fleshed out characters that are more than one note, and a return to the original concept of being at a camp that had been abandoned since Part 2. This one even ups the ante by having there be actual little kid campers there instead of just a collection of horny teens. In fact, speaking of horny teens, the one thing this movie doesn’t have that all the other do is nudity. Gone are the ladies that strip for no reason and the couples that are incapable of thinking of anything but sex. While generally a genre and franchise staple, the lack of T&A feels welcome after slogging through the muck of Part 5’s pervy, lingering titty shots.

The production of the film also seems to have been stepped-up. Jason Lives actually feels like a for real movie that should be in theaters. Not to say the low budget, gritty nature of the previous films doesn’t have its charm but the way this was shot is a nice change of pace. The MPAA couldn’t help but interfere, however, so we end up with a lot of deaths that are, again, either off-screen or bloodless. Unlike the previous movie, though, Part 6 still manages to make those deaths impactful either through some great, non-gory effects or because you actually feel something for the poor bastards getting offed. The main characters have actual personalities and even the assholes in the movie, like the Sherriff, are still sympathetic and have believable actions and motivations.

Having watched the next film in the series already, I know that they aren’t able to keep up this level of quality for long. That being said, much like Part 4, this entry feels fresh and fun with just the right balance of tongue-in-cheek humor and serious horror.

Score: 4 out of 5

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