There was a time, back in the ’80’s, when it seemed like the “Friday the 13th” series would never stop. Every year, Paramount would deny the existence of a new film and every year, on schedule, with little publicity, one would arrive. The series stopped in 1989, then reappeared in 1993 with the unspeakably awful “Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday.” Now, after almost a decade, we get “Jason X,” which is a marginally better film than the last one, but that’s not saying much.
Actually, there’s a few, a very few reasons to see “Jason X” which are: 1)David Cronenberg, the great director, has a cameo in the film as a slimy doctor who wants to keep Jason alive to “experiment” on him 2)There’s lots of good looking girls, including a Kung Fu fighting heroine, and 3)It’s only ninety minutes long. It’s still pretty bad though.
“Jason X” opens in the year 2455 where a group of students stumble upon a bunch of cryogenically frozen bodies on “old earth.” One of them is a girl(played by Lexa Doig), and the other is Camp Crystal Lake’s most unwelcome resident, Jason Voorhees, his body all mangled up. They’re both transported onto a spaceship and when the girl thaws out, she warns the crew members, who are straight out of the “Aliens” reject pile(the military hardass, the tough chick, the “company” man who wants to use the creature for research). In logic so impenetrable it’s beyond explanation, Jason is transported to another facility where he thaws out, escapes and kills off the crew members one by one. I can understand why the creatures in “Aliens” would be of interest to the military, but what about Jason?
“He’s too evil and dangerous,” pleads the would be victim to the rest of the crew. No kidding, and since we’ve seen the other nine films, we know even better than they do. The makers of “Jason X” have gone overboard to make Jason look as disgusting and ravaged as possible and why not? In parts four, six and seven, he had different parts of his head sliced away, so it only makes sense that in “Jason X,” he has more than the usual amount of orifices. It’s fun to look at his face in the film and try to figure out which opening is his nose, his mouth, everything. Jason seems a lot more angry in this one too.
Seriously though, “Jason X” is low rent from frame one. What is the point of putting Jason in space anyway, since it limits the number of weapons he can choose from? Oh, there’s plenty of exotic kills in the film(I like it when a character gets “screwed” for lack of a better word), but there’s nothing interesting to do with Jason on a ship, and this is not, after all, a character we’re going to identify with very much.
“Jason X” is kind of a moron movie, which is built to be watched by people who haven’t even seen the other nine, not that there’ll be many all night “Friday the 13th” film festivals on the eve of the release of “Jason X.” The special effects are mostly shoddy, the actors are straight out of the Identikit factory and the movie pays no respect to the original “Friday the 13th” film which is still the best of the summer camp horror movies and immeasurably better than the nine sequels that followed it.
It’s always interesting in films like this to watch the guy who plays the killer. Kane Hodder, who has played Jason in several of the films, must be a great sport. What must he be thinking inside that hockey mask anyway? I guess if “Jason X” makes a lot of money and interest in the series is reinvigorated, Mr. Hodder will be spending a whole lot of time at Fangoria conventions and shopping malls, posing as Jason and answering the same questions over and over again. Same with the “Jason X” director James Isaac. If the film’s a hit, he’ll be asked to do more slasher films and any dreams he had prior to working in the genre will be washed away as he lives a nightmare very similar to the characters in the films.
Honestly, there was one moment in “Jason X” when I smiled. There’s a girl in the film who’s an absolute dead ringer for Adrienne King, the gutsy star of the original classic. Maybe if they brought her back for the next film, the filmmaker’s would be onto something. She was killed off(with an icepick in the head), but that’s never stopped anyone before.