Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Kane Hodder stalks "Manhattan"
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989). Written and directed by Rob Heddon.

Rennie (Jensen Daggett) has been raised by her Uncle Charles (Peter Mark Richman), and she has always had a fear of the water due to a forgotten incident in her past. She keeps seeing images of a dead, drowned boy. Despite her fears, she goes off with her graduating classmates on a cruise to Manhattan. Unbeknownst to the revelers, Jason has again been revived and climbed aboard the ship, hacking away at crew men and teens with equal abandon. He seems to have a particular desire to get his hands on Rennie. [One presumes the cruise ship is not located in Crystal Lake, but that Jason got out of the lake and somehow made his way to the ship.] Jason Takes Manhattan was made at the height of the crime rate in New York during the crack epidemic of the 80's, and it seemed inevitable to bring one more maniac into a city that had more than its share of sociopaths. Most of the movie actually takes place on the cruise ship, and when Rennie and her pal, Sean (Scott Reeves), manage to get to "Times Square," it appears to be located not in Manhattan but in Vancouver! The picture has slick production values and a fast pace, but it doesn't quite have that edge-of-your-seat quality that would make it a winner -- the film should have been cut by twenty minutes. As well, some of the comedy relief turns up at inappropriate moments, lessening the tension, but the movie is never really scary or especially suspenseful in any case. As the lead couple, Daggett and Reeves are competent but little else. Richman gives the best performance, and Sharlene Martin is fun as the bitchy prom queen (a persistent stereotype if ever there were one). Kane Hodder has a commanding presence as Jason even if he never says a word. The finale attempts to bring the series full circle with Jason undergoing a startling transformation. Paramount sold the series to New Line when the grosses proved comparatively disappointing, although it still made a lot of money.

Verdict: Entertaining if standard Friday film. **1/2.

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