What’s up, weirdos? Welcome to Awfully Good, a monthly feature where we discuss a movie that’s not good, but is nevertheless worth watching. Tonight’s film is Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, the fifth installment of the series and a black sheep in the family. We’ll get into that in a bit, but first let’s cover some ground rules. 1. Words can be ambiguous, so let me clear something up: when I call a movie “trash” or “bad” or “cheesy” “or the lowest point in a race to the bottom,” that’s not a slam. Art’s subjective, and people like things for different reasons, so don’t assume I’m being mean about the movie in question. 2. If you finish off the last of the coffee, please start a new pot.
With that out of the way, check out this trailer for Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning!
So before we get into this movie, I need to cover a MASSIVE SPOILER. I don’t like to post spoilers, but I can’t talk about this movie in context without spoiling the ending of the movie. You might already know what happens in this movie, since it came out 34 years ago and isn’t exactly an underground phenomenon, but I can’t bear the thought of someone’s experience being spoiled by my work. So once again, HUGE SPOILER.
Jason Voorhees is not the killer in this movie.
Alright, so with that out of the way, let’s talk about Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. People hate this movie, and as far as I can tell it’s mainly because Jason isn’t the one doing the slashing. I get that, and I know that I wouldn’t want to watch a Nightmare on Elm Street movie without Freddy, but I think it’s different in this case. For one, and this is another spoiler for people who haven’t seen the original (or the opening of Scream), Jason isn’t the killer in the first Friday the 13th either.
So why are we talking Friday the 13th Part V? Well, Spring has sprung, and we’re celebrating the season with a whole bunch of articles about new beginnings. The subtitle for this movie is A New Beginning, so that was a freebie. The studio wanted to get away from stories about Jason stalking teenagers in the woods around Crystal Lake, so they started fresh with a new character and a new location. Fans hated this so much that they brought Mama’s Boy back for Part VI (arguably the best in the franchise), but Part V is a gem in its own right.
The movie opens with a dream sequence, in which a young Tommy Jarvis (from the previous film) witnesses grave robbers getting bodied by Jason. Tommy wakes up, and we find ourselves five years in the future. Tommy’s had a rough go of things ever since killing Jason, and he’s sent to Pinehurst Halfway House, a place for troubled youths to work through some of their issues.
Of all the Friday the 13th movies, Part V feels the most like a grimy exploitation movie. The setting is, to put it delicately, in poor taste. The kills are quick, mean, and frequent. The nudity is gratuitous (and how!), and a character has a short monologue about his cocaine before getting into it. This movie is sleazy. There’s very little in the way of artistic merit, but there’s a lot of screaming rednecks. Also, a guy and his girlfriend sing a duet while he’s on the toilet.
So why is Friday the 13th Part V worth watching? All the reasons I just mentioned! If the entire slasher genre can be summed up as “horny teenagers getting killed by a maniac,” A New Beginning is 100-Proof Slasher Trash. This movie kicks so much ass. Also, there’s a girl named Violet who serves up looks every time she’s onscreen, and she does easily the second-strangest dance in any of the Friday the 13th movies.
This series isn’t known for being overly intellectual, and they’re definitely movies to turn off your brain and enjoy. The continuity between the movies in the first half of this series is extraordinarily loose. It’s not Shakespeare, so for a movie to be the trashiest, sleaziest entry in the series is an achievement to be celebrated. It’s not my favorite of the films, but people hate it like it personally offended them. That’s okay! Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. I’m just saying they’re wrong.
A few years ago, it was a hot take to like Halloween 3: The One Without Michael. Since then, it’s become a fan favorite on the merits of being something different. More recently, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 has gone from being “the weird one that everyone hates” to “the weird one that everyone loves.” Will that happen with Friday the 13th Part V? Only time will tell, but I’m sure in ten years it will be appreciated for what it is (a garbage slasher movie that’s a ton of bizarre fun), and that’s only because the studio decided to try something new to revive the franchise.
I mean, it didn’t work, but I’m glad they tried it. I love this movie.
What did you think of Friday the 13th: A New Beginning? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Have you never seen the movie and I spoiled the big twist ending where Jason is actually still dead (for now) and the guy killing everyone is a paramedic named Roy that barely shows up in the movie and is on a rampage because his son was murdered at Pinehurst but no one knew there was any connection to the two because the film doesn’t give you any clues so that you can figure out the mystery on your own and many of the killings have nothing to do with his son, so it basically doesn’t matter that the kid was at Pinehurst to begin with? Oh no! Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll give you a personalized apology couplet with your name. I never wanted to spoil anything for anyone.
That’s all for now folks, but be sure to keep up with Nightmare on Film Street on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram! For other horror news, reviews, and weirdo dance moves, keep your browser locked on Nightmare on Film Street.