The Plot: Taking place several years after the events of Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter, we follow Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) as he makes his way to a summer camp for troubled teens. Tommy hasn’t managed to shake his dreams about Jason Voorhees and finds himself continually having nightmarish visions of the hockey masked killer. Shortly after Tommy arrives, one of the other bad teens loses his mind and kills one of the mentally-disadvantaged kids. This clears the path for more carnage at the camp site as others begin to turn up missing. The way the bodies are turning up and the brutality of the crimes seems to point to Jason Voorhees, but how can a dead man be responsible for all of this? It is up to Tommy and his new friends to find out just who the murderer is and if it is Jason, they have to send him back to hell where he belongs.

The Review
As I continue to go through the Friday series, I find myself at the point where the series begins its twist away from traditional slasher conventions and those behind the series begin to look elsewhere in an attempt to keep things fresh. I think if you had to pin down the very best Friday movies, the first four would probably be considered the prime years amongst fans. I know part six and seven both have their fans, which is understandable, but the magic of the first four movies has never really been replicated. They were blessed with that air of naivete that made them rather special. When guys in masks were legitimately scary and the filmmakers wanted to surprise and shock you with what they considered frightening content. After watching the fifth in the series, I have to say that this is the point where the series starts to veer more towards the cartoon-ish side of Slasher cinema. Although still an effective thriller, with some new and interesting ideas thrown out there, it becomes rather silly as we meet these characters who are little more than cardboard replicas of what human beings are supposed to be. It is true that most slasher movies were made up of these characteristics anyway, and part 3 certainly bordered on the ridiculous itself, but this is the movie where the Friday the 13th series started to become a joke itself.

The movie starts off as a direct continuation of the previous Friday, even featuring a new scene with the young Corey Feldman reprising his role from The Final Friday. The continuity in that sense is actually as tight as the previous entries into the series. Tommy Jarvis did not become the psychotic killer that was hinted at during the conclusion of part 4, but instead has grown into a haunted teen who can’t let go of the past. From what I can understand, Tommy is actually supposed to be 15 years old if the timeline is correct… which is in no way possible, as John Shepard looks to be in his early twenties. With Jason dead at this point, and Tommy continually seeing his face everywhere he goes, the movie ultimately plays a game with its audience as we guess whether Jason is in fact the one doing the murdering throughout the course of the movie. This was actually a pretty decent idea, to be honest. There are many that still hold some antagonism towards the movie because of this mystique, whether or not we are watching the official Jason doing this murdering, but by and large the mystery works for me. While new to the series at this point, this concept on the whole is far from being original and ultimately this twist in the series wasn’t enough to really bring a great deal of depth or life back to the series.

Although the series has never been without some tiny bits of silliness, A New Beginning really starts to up the ante in terms of ridiculousness. The characters are all archetypes and so crudely drawn that they become caricatures. The most prominent of these characters that come to mind is the mother and son duo who are the most broadly drawn country bumpkins in slasher film history. I won’t deny, I laugh at the mother’s excessively crude language, but she and her son are so over the top that it can be painful at times. Although it has never been stated clearly what part of the country the Friday movies take place in, I have always assumed that they take place in the North East due to the first movie at the original camp crystal lake being shot in New Jersey. So what on earth are these hillbillies doing here? We also have two greasers who look like the just walked out of a 1950’s motorcycle gang movie and feature the prominent New Yorker accents to go with it. With stereotypes such as these, you just expect to find a rich guy with a monocle to show up hand in hand with an Australian who is in the process of putting another shrimp on the Barbie.

The humor is often very broad, including a diarrhea joke and the addition of a young kid who is meant to endear himself to the audience. Young Reggie “the Reckless” unfortunately never really caught on with audiences. Although the comedy can vary between dry and silly, the deaths remain relatively consistent and are relatively creative. The work done with an axe and a flare are probably the standout moments of actual gore, but there are quite a number of deaths throughout. A total of twenty two deaths actually! One of the highest bodycounts in the entire series, although the deaths seem to suffer because of this as they don’t make up the most creative in the history of the series. I know it sounds like I actually dislike A New Beginning at this point, as I continually bring up negatives with the positive, but I actually do quite enjoy the film. Whenever it is on I always watch it and I have a good time with it, but in comparison to the rest of the series it is unfortunately one of the lesser entries without a doubt.

The Conclusion
Most assuredly one of the weaker films in the Friday the 13th series, it will still remain interesting for the fact that it tried to do something new and different with the series. Whether it failed or succeeded will ultimately be on you the viewer, but from personal experience I have seen it ranked a lot lower than what I am giving it. I rate the film a three out of five. It is about average for this genre, but it has its moments.