When I saw this title. I told myself: Okay, now they are seriously running out of ideas. I get why, after seven films revolving around Crystal Lake that they needed to do something differently. So the filmmakers had to stretch out a little more and bring Jason out of it's comfort zone. So since Crystal Lake is in New Jersey, why not take him to the big apple. Was it a bad idea at the time? Eh, at least it wasn't in space or anything, though unfortunately, 13 years later, they eventually did a Jason in space movie. Ugh.
So here is Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan and it's considered the worst. To be honest, I didn't think the movie was that awful. Don't get me wrong, this movie is bad, along with it's horrible script. However, it could be seen as a "so bad, it's good" thing. But what bothers me though, is that it's a total rehash of the 7th movie. I mean you have the girl with the unexplainable powers, her hunky love interest, the bitchy popular girl, the nerdy guy who has a crush on said popular girl, the jerkass male authority figure, the kindly mother figure, etc. It's the same movie, the only difference is it takes place on a boat to Manhattan. And furthermore, it doesn't explain the supernatural occurrences the final girl goes through and most of the time anything involving Jason and the boat sequences are just confusing.
Although, it's a little more dumber than your usual Friday The 13th movie but at least it's still entertaining in "so bad, it's good" way. I do have a lot of issues with this movie but I'll discuss that later. So let's begin with the review shall we.
Here's The Story: For their final year together, the graduating class of Crystal Lake High (don't laugh) decide to take a boat trip to New York. One of them, Rennie Wickham goes on aboard to face her fear of drowning due to a dramatic event she had as a child. While trying to break free from the strings of her demeaning Uncle Charles who is the school principal and going through typical teenage stuff like falling in love and dealing with the mean girl. But deep down, she is suffering from awful memories. Awful memories involving the imposing and bloodthirsty Jason Voorhees. Her fears soon become real when Jason aboard on deck, causing destruction and mayhem along his way. Struggling to survive a sinking ship, Rennie and crew must escape the wrath of Jason Voorhees just as their on their way to New York City.
The cast is a little mixed for me. They're not exactly bad actors, it's just the performances are so mediocre.
I guess Jensen Dagget did okay but I wish she would put more emotion into her role, there were times where she came off kind of bland.
But on the other hand, I did care for the character of Rennie. Gosh, this girl goes through so much crap. In a flashback sequence, she gets thrown off a boat by her mean old uncle when she was a kid, traumatizing half her life, gets thrown off a boat again by the mean girl, gets drugged and almost raped by street thugs upon her arrival to New York and getting chased by Jason to add more to her worries. Rennie might not be the most badass of the final girls but she is the most sympathetic. She also looks a lot like Jesse Sporano from Saved By The Bell. She got the looks, She got the hair, she got the clothes. It's definitely uncanny.
And then there's Sean played by the very handsome Scott Reeves. Scott Reeves, along with the other actors, was above average but at least he put some emotion into his role. As for the character, the only thing that's developing about him is that he's trying to impress his father who is the captain of the ship.
but soon he becomes the movie's hero and seems to be more well-developed throughout.
Then there's Julius, who is probably the most badass character and is actually will to fight back against his attacker even when die trying.
Of course, which leads us to the most infamous death scene of the movie. Just look at the clip:
And here are the most memorable characters at least in my opinion:
Here is Wayne. Most of you may think Wayne is a stereotypical nerd, However, he is more laidback than most examples and he's just so darn cute! He has a major crush on popular girl Tamara and he's a professional with a camera. That's all we know of him basically. But he's just so darn cute! he looks a little like Matt Damon. Which makes you feel kind of bad when he dies a firey death.
Then we have Tamara's partner in crime Eva played by pre-Xmen Kelly Hu. She seems to be more meek than your usual popular girl's sidekick.
There were times where I felt for her character because I know what it's like to be a teen under peer pressure, especially under the whim of a more popular student.
But her character development is cut short when she is strangled by Jason in one of the most weirdest death scenes.
Then we have J.J., who's time on the film is very short which is sad because she is an awesome character that can play a mean guitar riff but ironically, she gets her head bashed in by her own guitar.
Oh, Tamara. She is actually the most memorable out of all the side characters. She is the true characterization of the alpha bitch trope. Just like Melissa in part 7, she is sexy, seductive, and manipulative. She is actually much more horrible than Melissa. She, on purpose, bumps Rennie off the boat, nearly drowning her, all because Rennie caught her doing some coke. And she didn't even snitch on her. Uh, I think we have a sociopath on our hands. Although, she is an enjoyable character, she is quite the amoral bitch.
So she meets her end in what think is the most intense death scene.
And now we have the biggest asshole of the movie and that is dear ole' Uncle Charles. Ugh, he is possibly the worst. Not only does he have a stick up his ass, constantly complaining throughout the movie, and being unbearably overbearing, he is the reason Rennie is so screwed up. In a flashback scene, he pushes a pre-adolescent Rennie off a boat to try and teach her how to swim while she nearly drowns, and Now she keeps having recurring nightmares about Jason.
For the most part, he is skeptical about Jason but thankfully Jason proves to him, yes, he is in fact, real and drowns him in a bucket of slime, which is exactly what he is.
Jason is, as always, an indestructible badass, even to the point of swimming from a sinking ship all the way to New York. Surely, Kane Hodder is putting his all into the role, making him one of the more better actors of the movie. Apparently, Jason has teleportation powers and I think it was a way for filmmakers to fool the audience but all it ever does is raise questions. He's here, he's there, he's everywhere, and then again, it makes your head hurt. The design on Jason is actually pretty good. For somebody to be underwater that long, you'd expect them to be a little gooey.
His makeup effect though is hilariously lackluster. He looks like melted mozzarella cheese. ugh, I wished they kept the same makeup in Part 7.
Now let's get to the special effects and directing....
To be honest, the opening scene sort of reminded me of the 90's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action films. I just couldn't take it seriously. I mean, is this a superhero movie or a horror movie?
Some fans have dubbed the "Walt Disney Of The Friday The 13th Films", because of the lack of blood and gore and because of how extremely bright and colorful it is. And at times, It felt like I watching a Made-For-TV movie. But there are some good points. I thought the action sequences were cool, especially the scenes in the sinking ship, things are more at stake and the suspense is well done.
My most favorite moments though, is the New York scenes. It's all in good fun in it's unattainable cheesiness. It also depicts a somewhat realistic yet exaggerated look at New York in the 1980's.
Now for the trivia. The budget for the movie was about 13 million dollars, making it the most expensive Friday the 13th that year. It would've cost more money if the New York scenes were more expanded and since time constraints and budget cost was in the way, it was inevitable. Actually, the additional scenes were going to include the empire state building, the Brooklyn bridge, the Rockefeller center, and probably The Statue Of Liberty, making Jason into this King Kong type monster. Rob Hedden was just a little too ambitious.
Lee Coleman was the original actor to play Sean but things weren't working out because of his lack of acting skills. And according to one producer for being "too gay". Gosh, what an asshole.
And Pamela Anderson, of all people, auditioned for the role of Rennie.
But here's the real interesting part, Elizabeth Berkeley, best known as Jesse Sporano from Saved By The Bell, auditioned for the role of Rennie. So, she would've been in the worst Friday ever and the worst movie ever. Pretty close call if you ask me. She would later co-star with Gina Gershon, Who also auditioned in A New Beginning, in the aforementioned Showgirls.
Now to get to my problems with movie. it never explains why Rennie keeps having visions of Jason Voorhees, especially in his pre-teen form. And isn't she a teenager in present time, why is she suddenly having visions of Jason as a little boy? It's just so confusing. The director explicitly said that he was going for "A nightmare on elm street" feel but it never explains the supernatural structure. So it's a slasher movie, a disaster movie, and a supernatural horror movie. It's just an example of the director being too ambitious. Then there is the revelation of Rennie's fear of drowning in flashback scene. I just didn't like how that all happened in the middle of the action. I mean hello people! there's a two ton serial killer that's like a feet away, there's more at stake here!
And should anyone get a tad emotional over the kindly teacher lady's death? This was a woman Rennie was close to and she doesn't even shed a tear, even though the accident was her fault.
And please don't let me talk about the ending. It was just so weird and out of place. The director explained that it's through Rennie's eyes when she saw pre-adolescent Jason floating the water. Again, it's an example of the director being too ambitious for his own good. This is Friday The 13th, not a supernatural thriller.
The movie was a box office flop, pulling in 14.3 million dollars. Making it the most least successful movie in the series. Boy, 1989 was a bad year for horror films.
So there's Jason Take Manhattan. This isn't the worst Friday The 13th but it's definitely ridiculous and stupid in a fun way.
My last word: It wouldn't hurt to give a watch or two.
P.S. I couldn't get this song out of my head: