a Primal Root review
People hate this film’s guts. They despise it. It’s ridiculed by critic who already can’t stand the franchise and hardcore fans alike. From what I understand a lot of the anger and resentment stems from the fact that Jason is dead and there’s a new killer in town…who dresses just like him and uses the same M.O. The film takes on a rather tacky and obvious murder mystery “who-done-it?” approach in the same vein as the original Friday the 13th, but in the case of A New Beginning, none of it really gels. But unlike Friday the 13th, where the killer isn’t even mentioned before she drives onto the scene and introduces herself, part 5’s new killer is introduced with all the subtlety of a tack hammer to the face. If you watch this movie for the first time and don’t pick out EXACTLY who the killer is it’s time to go by to grammar school ,junior!
It’s an oddly paced wreck of a film but what it lacks in talent infront of and behind the camera it makes up in glorious, all American, SLEAZE! A New Beginning delivers it in spades. So much so, you leave feeling dirtier than usual after viewing a Friday the 13th movie. Maybe it’s due to the fact the film’s director, Danny Steinmann, helmed a few porn films in the 70’s…
I have a feeling this is why I love A New Beginning so much. It’s mean spirited, caustic, vulgar, has the highest body count in the franchise at 22, three sets of boobs including the awe inspiring set exposed by Ms. Debi Sue Voorhees, disgusting rednecks who scream constantly and compare one another to dildoes, several dozen red herrings, a twenty minute final chase sequnce featuring a hot blonde in a wet t-shirt, the use of the dreaded “C” word, the list of filth is endless and MAN does it make up for whatever else is lacking.
We follow Tommoy Jarvis, our hero from The Final Chapter, who is in his mid twenties but I am guessing is supposed to be an remarkably well built and ripped 16-17 year old, who is on his way to some hold over hippie mental institution where they hand out axes to psychotic teenagers and send them on their way. See, it’s a trust system. Not sure if that’s your best approach with a bunch of horrifically unstable youths…but what do I know, I never went to college.
This adds a level of sadness to the proceedings knowing that the majority of this film’s victim pool is made up of mentally ill people. Folks who are handicapped. Watching them try to deal with their issues, whether it be a speech impediments, doing the robot or being constantly horny, really adds gravity to the proceedings.
So, of course, a young fat crazy guy gets hacked to pieces by Suicide from Return of the Living Dead over a harsh argument revolving around a chocolate bar. Isn’t this always the way? Anyway, fat kid’s dead, Suicide goes to jail and the paramedics pick up the meaty chunks. One paramedic in particular seems kind of shocked by this whole thing. A paramedic named Roy who the camera stays on as he does a menacing take towards the camera….HMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
With our inciting incident behind us we are introduced to our rag tag group of mentally unstable youths, residents and vacationers. Most notable is our young, black protagonist Reggie who supplies all the one screen talent in this film along with his older brother, Demon, who doesn’t wipe after taking a shit, is played by Spider from Return of the Living Dead , and has a lovely singing voice to go with that Jheri Curl. These two guys steal the show (along with Debi Sue Voorhees bountiful breasts) even if Demon’s time on screen is fleeting.
Reggie is visiting his grandfather who is the cook at the mental institution. Again, is this the kind of place to send your child? I mean, someone was chopped to bits there…you’d think they’d send him home or something. But in the end, A New Beginning has much to gain from the poor parenting that has sent poor little Reggie the Reckless off to this halfway house death trap in the middle of the woods.
There’s a far bigger pool of possible victims, and in a very rare occurrence in the series, a kiddy pool full of possible killers which allows for a bit more plot than usual. But, as I mentioned earlier, there’s also a hell of a lot more blood shed and naked bodies this time around as well. It’s a strange concoction that so many people hate. However, over time I have grown quite fond if this , the absolute TRASHIEST film in the entire ever lovin’ franchise.
A New Beginning was the bridge between the original four part Friday the 13th series and story arch and the return of Jason as the unstoppable zombie juggernaut in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th part VI. It was a time when Paramount had no idea what to do with the series. By the end of this installment it seems like Tommy Jarvis is ready to don the mask as the heir to Jason’s slasher throne, but alas, it is never to be. The fans stayed away from The New Beginning in droves after finding out Jason wasn’t actually in the movie other than appearances in dreams and hallucinations. So, the movie bombed and gave way to the resurrection of Jason Voorhees and Tommy would again be the hero which brought the fans back to theaters.
It’s sick, twisted, leering, gross, violent, crude and downright shameful. But it’s also a whole hell of a lot of dark, slimy, evil fun. For those of us who like our slasher films gratuitous, unintentionally hilarious, and unapologetically nasty, you can’t do much better in this franchise than Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.
-The Primal Root