|Friday the 13th, Part VII - The New Blood|
|Written by Tara O'Shea|
|Tuesday, 03 September 2002|
It seemed fitting, on September 13th (which was, of course, a Friday) to sit down with a bowl of popcorn and settle in for the cheese-fest of a Friteenth movie. After all, these were the slasher flicks that defined a generation, and gave birth to post-modern slasher flicks like "Scream."
Billed as "Jason vs. Carrie," the seventh installment of the slasher series begins with a little blonde moppet at her parents’ summer house on Crystal Lake, fleeing her abusive father. Getting into a rowboat, little Tina heads off towards the center of the lake. When daddy comes out to coax her inside, Tina uses telekinesis to destroy the pier and Daddy. Flash forward to a decade later, and Tina Shepard (Park-Lincoln) is a sullen, angry, guilt-ridden telekinetic teen being brought back to Crystal Lake by her mother (veteran voice actor Susan Blu) and her skeezy shrink (Terry Kiser, best known as Bernie of "Weekend At" fame). Little does she know that at the end of the last film, hockey-mask wearing zombie serial killer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder in his Friteenth debut) was left chained at the bottom of the lake.
After successfully setting a matchbook alight (for the purposes of the film, Tina's telekinesis is sort of a grab bag of psychic ability which includes pyrokinesis, clairvoyance, and anything else the writers needed at any given point), Tina heads out onto the lake and tries to raise Daddy from the dead. However, in true horror movie fashion, she instead revives Jason, who goes on a killing spree. Luckily, the cabin next to Tina's is chock full of horny teens, complete with every stereotype imaginable, to sustain him for an hour of inventive killings (Jason is a tool-using creature) before the big showdown between Tina and Jason.
However, as slasher flicks go, "Friday the 13th Part VII" is surprisingly bloodless. Severely edited down in order to achieve an R rating, almost all of the gore was cut, which leaves the viewer wondering if Paramount plans an eventual restored and unrated release, as special effects supervisor-turned-director John Carl Buechler apparently filmed graphic and inventive endings for the denizens of Crystal Lake, which included evisceration, a girl being slammed repeatedly against a tree until her sleeping bag was soaked with blood and beheadings. Played completely straight by the pretty much sub-par cast (Blu, Bennett and Kiser come off the best, but Park-Lincoln is utterly miscast and mumbles throughout), the film is literally by the numbers, with no real pay-off until the explosive finale.
Visually, the transfer is clean. However the original film is a touch grainy (particularly noticeable as over half the film takes place at night in the woods, albeit night in very well-lit woods). Flesh tones are consistent throughout, and the blues and blacks in particular come off very well. The sound is surprisingly good given the source material, with the subwoofer given a workout by Canadian composer Fred Mollin's (unfortunately mediocre) score, and random rain and thunder. Dialogue through the center and mains is crisp, clean and easily discernible throughout, but the rears are almost completely ignored in the mix. The menus are bland, though easy to navigate. However, the disc contains zero extras -- not even trailers for the previous installments in the series, or sneak peeks at the two upcoming "Friday the 13th" films – and suffers for it.
Overall, this is a lackluster release of a mediocre horror movie. It may well make fun Halloween fodder for the full-out MST3K treatment. However, if you're a fan of the series looking forward to the movie Buechler set out to make, you will be sorely disappointed.