Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
With 'A New Beginning', we finally break away from that fateful week of Jason's revenge. Jason is finally dead, at the hands of Tommy Jarvis (here portrayed by John Shepherd), and five long years have passed for Tommy as he has gone from institution to institution, following his traumatic experience. Here, he is transferred to the Pinehurst Youth Development Center, run by Dr. Matthew Letter (Richard Young) and his assistant, Pam Roberts (Melanie Kinnaman).
Tommy meets a collective of individual teens with individual problems of their own - although none of them are really explored. However, a couple of characters offer hints to why they may be there, judging by their last names. Eddie (John Robert Dixon) and Tina (Deborah Voorhees - I know, right?) are a couple of lovers, and Tina could be related to Terry from 'Part II'. Jake (Jerry Pavlon) has a stutter, Violet (Tiffany Helm) is goth-like with an attitude, Robin (Juliette Cummins) is very serious (and potentially related to Bill from the first film), Joey (Dominick Brascia) is a simple, compulsive eater, and Reggie "The Reckless", is a kid who's grandfather, George (Vernon Washington), works as the house's cook.
Tommy suffers from nightmares about Jason, and keeps to himself, almost as if he's afraid of hurting someone, knowing he's capable of killing. Meanwhile, the rest of the group is despised by their neighbors, Ethel Hubbard (Carol Locatell) and her dope of son, Junior (Ron Sloan), due to Eddie and Tina constantly having sex on her lawn. We learn to hate Junior very quickly, and to this day, I claim that he is the most satisfying kill in the whole series, even if it's not at the hands of Jason.
Another among the group is Victor (Mark Venturini), who we don't see do much more than chop wood, and eventually, chop poor Joey for getting on his nerves. This leads to Victor's arrest, and the beginning of a whole new series of mysterious killings that completely fit Jason's MO. The only thing is, Jason is well-known to be dead, and apparently cremated (which is a dirty lie). So, who is this new, hockey-mask-wearing, machete-wielding maniac? More importantly, can Tommy fight through his fears of a potentially resurrected Jason to beat this guy? Well, 'Part VI' exists, so you do the math.
This is one of the strangest titles in the franchise for me, because I can't tell if I love it or hate it. That's very uncommon for me. The only thing to really dislike about this one is the fact that Jason isn't the killer, but it's a copycat. Otherwise, I actually find the characters likable (who, by the way, aren't generally typical horror stereotypes), the kills a little more fresh and creative, and even with the criticism of having no Jason, I can still appreciate that they went a different way with things. It kinda pulls a 'Halloween III' on us, where it doesn't involve the famed series killer, but still really isn't that bad of a film for what it is.
When I first got through this one, years ago, I really didn't like it. But I have to admit that the more I watch it, the more I appreciate what it was trying to do. It's easily the most original idea the series has, in my opinion. Beyond this, we have "raised from the dead" ('Frankenstein'); "telekinetic abilities" ('Carrie'); "featuring New York" ('Muppets Take Manhattan' - same title, too), "going to Hell" ('Freddy's Dead' - but I'll let that one slide), "going to space" (where horror movie franchises go to die), a "horror fight" ('Godzilla vs King Kong') and a reboot (name a horror franchise).
I suppose that at the end of the day, it could be said that 'A New Beginning' does hold a special spot in my heart, but it's far from my favorite of the franchise. I'd say it's passable for fans, but it's easier to watch when you already know what's gonna happen. The first time one sees the big reveal, it's actually kinda confusing. I'll admit that I had no idea who I was looking at the first time around, and it wasn't until later that things clicked. That could very well just be me, but apparently even some of the cast thought audiences wouldn't get who the killer was. It's one to judge for yourself. You'll either like it good enough to give it a pass, or hate it with some kind of passion. I think i tend to be a little more lenient on this one than others.
Body Count: NA
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