Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – Film Review

Director: Danny Steinmann

Writers: Martin Kitosser, David Cohen, and Danny Steinmann

Starring: John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John

Rating: ★★★½

After the success of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, it was inevitable that despite its name, a sequel was on the way. Part V is set a few years after the supposed final entry, with Tommy’s story continued from the previous film. At the time it received a poor reception from critics and fans, with a disappointing box-office return as well. The original intention was to start a new trilogy, but the intended sequels were scrapped due to the reception.

Jason is dead, but even beyond the grave he is still haunting Tommy, who is played this time around by John Shepherd. The original actor, Corey Feldman, also appears in a dream sequence early in the film but wasn’t old enough to play him as this one is a few years later. Tommy is sent to live in a halfway house after being released from a mental hospital. Once he arrives there a series of murders, and the murderer seems to be targeting the halfway house, with Tommy being the main suspect.

Instead of the usual set-up of councillors/teenagers travelling to Crystal Lake to become Jason’s latest victims, this time around the main group is already staying a halfway house. It breaks the usual tropes that the series had followed up to that point and does something a bit different. It’s still a Friday the 13th film and doesn’t stray away that much, but it’s refreshing and injects some much-needed change into the series, which by this point was become very stale.

While some of the previous entries start by introducing a group of forgettable canon fodder for Jason to take out, A New Beginning take things to a new level. Not only is there the group in the halfway house, there’s also a load of characters who are introduced just to be killed off moments later. Strangely, the smaller characters are also a lot more likable and interesting than the main group, so it’s always sad to see them die so quickly, even if you see it coming straight away.

Director Danny Steinmann had made his started his directorial career in porn, and that influence is felt throughout this film, with a lot of pointless nudity and extended shots of naked women. Some of the nudity and sex scenes were cut due to censors, but there’s still a lot of them left in, even for a 1980s slasher film it’s a lot. The violence is also ramped up a fair bit in this one with some memorable deaths, especially the one including the garden shears. There’s nothing being held back this time around.

Finally, going into spoiler territory now, the film not only strays away from the set-up of teenagers travelling to Crystal Lake, but the killer also isn’t Jason. After his death in the previous film, this time around it’s a copy-cat killer. The way this is built up is really well done, with the copycat’s mask having blue markings instead of the usual red, as something for the audience to pick up on. The actual reveal at the end is really well done, and it makes for a great twist. 

The fifth entry to the series deserves a lot of praise for finally altering the formula that the previous films had adamantly stuck to. It starts off slow but has a satisfying twist and is a decent slasher overall. 

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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