a Primal Root review
Space. The final frontier and the dumping ground for what seems like every washed up boogieman passed his prime. Pinhead’s been there. Critters have been there. The fucking Leprachaun has been there. Now it’s poor ol’ Jason Voorhees’ turn to take that fateful journey beyond the stars into cinema far worse than just about all of 80’s franchsie entries combined.
I can’t stand Jason X. I may be in the minority among Friday the 13th fans, but I just think this movie stinks. The Friday the 13th series isn’t one well known for it’s original concepts or groundbreaking stories. But when you take a concept that revolves around an undead killer who stalks about a summer camp killing off teenagers and occasionally taking boat rides to Manhattan and mix it with a sleek, futuristic, sci-fi element you’re going to have trouble. These are two genres that don’t work well together. It’s like making a sequel to Deliverance and placing the hillbilly rapists on the Starship Enterprise. Yes, it’s that stupid.
Now, there was the off chance it could possibly work. If you were to take the whole premise and all of the characters seriously. Instead, our cast of victims are all self aware, post modern horror teen hipsters. That’s right, they quip witty jokes and use self referential humor as their friends and hacked to death or scenes could be building some kind of suspense.
If I’m watching the upteenth sequel to a well worn horror franchise, please, allow the viewers to make the jokes. This is part of the enjoyment of seeing these films with a rowdy crowd on a Friday night. Everyone is open to a good joke. The perfectly timed quip can bring an entire house down with laughter.
Now, when the film tries to make fun of itself, that’s where you run into trouble. Especially when the jokes are lamer than Jay Leno’s. A girl is being sucked into the cold, sure death vortex of space through a small hole in her ship’s ruptured hull. Rather than scream and plead to be saved she instead pulls together all her comedic gusto and spouts the comic gem, “This sucks on so many different levels!”
Wait, is she talking about her imminent demise or Jason X in general?
This is probably my main gripe with the movie. This Scream-esque, post-modern comedy schtick doesn’t work very well in this format. In a strange way, these films are far funnier when they are taking the proceedings seriously. I doubt Rick’s 3-D popping eyeball would be half as funny if someone on screen was like: ” Rick always wanted me to call it the one eyed monster!”
Beyond that the film has one good kill (Liquid Nitrogen Face Crush) and a cool idea in the upgraded uber Jason who looks a lot like Lord Zed from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
It was the first film in the series to look as if it were made to be direct to video. Even when I watched it in the theater on opening weekend I couldn’t help but notice how cheap it all looked. It has the feel of a second rate Sci-Fi, er…excuse me, SYFY Channel original movie.
For my money, the best moment in the entire film comes when Jason enters a holodeck where one of our victims uses the technology to materalize Camp Crystal Lake around him. It’s the only segment in the film that feels anything like a Friday the 13th movie. Seeing Jason at his old stomping grounds, no matter how fake or fleeting, warms this horror nerd’s heart. It makes me realize how much I wish he were back on earth, present day, destroying teeny boppers. Sadly, the end of the scene is a lame attempt to outdo the fan favorite sleeping bag death from Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood. I know many fans find this moment incredible. I can’t help but roll my eyes and wish for more.
What amazes me is that at the brain storming session for future Jason Voorhees films, when someone threw out the idea “Jason in Space!” why was that person not immediately fired? How did this whole fiasco get greenlit, financed, written and produced? It’s a shock to the system that it ever happened.
Jason X is a lame movie that tries way to hard. Scream 3 should have put an end to te post-modern slasher craze. Maybe it was simply the coffin and Jason X was the bloated, maggot eaten corpse of a used up, shitty fad.