JANUARY 8, 2009
I really don’t like Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. I didn’t like it as a kid, I didn’t like it as an 18 year old (in college I re-watched the entire series, the last time I did so until the DVD boxed set came along), and I don’t like it now. I know it has some defenders, but I honestly don’t know why. If you are one of those confused folks, please, in detail and preferably in non “Fuck you!” grammar, explain why in the comments.
Nothing about the movie really works. There are a couple of good kills (sleeping bag), and the Jason makeup/actor (Kane Hodder’s first appearance) are among the best ever, but it’s simply a dull film from start to finish. The attempts at a Friday 4 style plot (with the two houses – mom and daughter in one, rowdy kids in the other) are admirable, but at the same time, simply call to attention how far the series had fallen in quality. It doesn’t help that absolutely NONE of the kids are interesting even in the slightest (with possibly the minor exception of Eddie the sci-fi geek); I’ve seen the movie probably 6 times now and I still can’t remember most of their names.
And even though the movie was rushed (filming began 6 months before its theatrical release), there is simply no excuse for the shoddy work here. Half of the kids are killed in the lake (or near it), and no one hears their screams despite the house being roughly 12 feet away (and since when are the cabins right on the lake?). Jason is resurrected, and yet walks about 4-5 miles away to kill 2 folks (how’d he even know they were there?) before returning to where he just was to kill the rest of them. Tina finds a collection of newspaper clippings about Jason – why would someone make a scrapbook? Lengthy flashbacks to 6’s finale are shown, yet the surrounding area (the dock, the cabins) doesn’t look anything alike. Director John Carl Buechler is one of the all time great makeup FX guys, and the various decapitated heads are among the worst I’ve seen in a horror movie post 1970 or so (for the record – Buechler wasn’t responsible for the effects). And so on. I can forgive minor plotholes and inconsistent setting errors (like in 4, when Rob is on this seemingly life-long vendetta to avenge his sister’s murder, which in the Friday timeline only occurred 2-3 days ago), but it doesn’t even seem like anyone involved was even trying.
The most problematic thing though, is the unfortunate introduction of telekinesis in order for the film to compete with the increasingly popular Nightmare on Elm St movies at the time. With Tina’s trauma and powers, she seems like she wandered in from Dream Warriors instead of a Friday the 13th film. Again, yeah, its part 7 and they need to do something different, but come on – this was the best they could come up with? And plus, it’s barely even utilized; Tina uses her powers to throw household objects at him (which pretty much every Final Girl has done with her own two hands) before setting him on fire (which is what Tommy did in the last one). Hell, at the end of the movie, Jason is back in the lake (courtesy of the only unique thing in the movie, when she ‘resurrects’ her dad to have him drag Jason back down), which means you can skip this one entirely and not even break continuity. Her powers are also inconsistent – since when does telekinesis come with bonus visions of the future? Plus – why does she see the death of a guy she never met (Bill Butler’s character) but not any of the other kids?
Some people will claim that the MPAA butchering of the film (which is pretty severe – the only blood you see in THE NEW BLOOD is at the very beginning, during the flashback montage to the previous films) ruined it, but I honestly don’t think it will help much. Yeah, the kills will be more fun, but everything in between those kills will still be dull as dirt. The kills may always be the highlight, but I was never bored when folks were just talking or running around (even the stalk scenes are pretty bland here) in the previous movies.
The DVD is probably the closest any of the films got to a special edition in Paramount’s boxed set, as it is one of the few to get a commentary track (and the ONLY one to get a new 5.1 sound mix). Buechler and Hodder are the participants, though Hodder mainly only talks about his kill scenes. They both discuss the MPAA cuts a lot, but they don’t address any of the film’s other faults, and even praise things that don’t make any sense, like the fact that no one knew about Jason this time (why the fuck not?). What little good info there is can be learned from either of the F13 books, so just read those and spare yourself from sitting thru this one again.
What say you?