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FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII
Jason Takes Manhattan

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Jensen Daggett, Peter Mark Richman, Scott Reeves, VC Dupree, Sharlene Martin
Director: Rob Hedden
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 100 Minutes
Release Date: September 3, 2002

ďHeís come back and youíre all gonna die!Ē

Film **

Dearly departed, we are gathered here today to honor the increasing number of casualties, attributed to one Mr. Jason Voorhees!  Ok, I do believe that Jason has officially passed Kenny South Park in dying and coming back to life!  Jason Takes Manhattan is not my favorite movie in this fine slasher series, and it doesnít quite literally take a bite out the big apple, but hey, itís JASON!

This last attempt by Paramount to capitalize on the Jason franchise was not the best in the series, but despite what others are saying, I found it to be pretty cool and a tad bit funny!  To say it strayed from the normal formula of the series would be lying, but the twist in terms of location makes up for that somewhat.

We have the usual bag of Crystal Lake teenagers who will unfortunately, be fish food by the time their senior class cruise reaches Manhattan.  Itís a shame they didnít add a few dimensions to these kids because I really feel some of the actors and actresses in this installment could have done a great job had they been given better dialogue to work with.  Instead we get the usual good guys, naughty guys, and nasty vixens.   Two performances that really stuck out in my mind were Jensen Daggett (Asteroid, Major League) and Scott Reeves (Hot Shots, Part Deux, Young & The Restless).   Daggett takes on the smart-yet-shy heroine role of Rennie and does a wonderful job bringing her to life.  The flashback scenes of Jason as a young boy allowed her to use a wide range of emotional tools to bring a definitive sense of realism to it all.  The part of Sean was handled extremely well by Reeves, who shows us he is more than the sensitive, sexy jock he was cast to play. 

The boat ride to Manhattan takes up quite a bit of the movie, and at one point, you canít help but laugh when, while killing a young videographer, Jason sets the boat on fire.  Whatís funny about that, you ask?  Only the fact that our cold hearted, homicidal maniac takes time to be a good citizen by setting off the fire alarm.  Who knew Jason had a heartÖthen again, itís probably not his own!

The death scenes on board the boat were originally pretty gruesome, but I do believe that the cutting room floor got to see more of the gore than we did.  This was due in part to MPAA regulating how much death and destruction could be shown in an  ďRĒ rated movie. Remember folks, these Friday The 13th movies came out when things were a tad more restrictive than they are now. 

Jason and whatís left of the senior class from Lakeview High make it to Manhattan and upon arriving, the masked mad man sees a whole world of opportunity before him.  Not to mention a giant billboard with a hockey player in full mask staring back at him. Yeah, I can definitely see Jason needing some therapy after that one.   Unfortunately the writers chose to neglect the ax fodder readily available on each and every street corner.   So, instead of taking a giant step away from a tired storyline and stopping for a little murder and mayhem, Jason continues to hunt down the remainder of his traveling ensemble and ignores quite a few possible blood fests.   We do get a higher death tally in this movie versus the others in the series, but is bigger or more always better?

The twist at the end of this one is pretty neat in my opinion.  This is another of those movies that if I spend too much time detailing the twists and turns you wonít get to enjoy what you see as much, so letís just say Jason is rejuvenated so to speak and we get to see him dieÖyet again. 

Kane Hodder once again steps into the roll of Jason and does a wonderful job giving this terrifying soul the pep in his step that was needed.   The makeup FX for this installment was rather bad, and definitely could have used a face-lift!   As for the few special FX we were given, well, letís just say Iíve seen better and leave it at that!

When you have a good thing and you try to build upon it and make it even better, you have to accept the good with the bad.  This entry in terms of a stand, alone movie would have been on my ďBĒ list.  As part of the series, itís an okay addition to a wonderful franchise overall.

Video ***

This DVD in terms of video quality was amazing in comparison to the transfers of its earlier siblings.  All of the images were crisp and clear, with very few blemishes that I could see.  Given to us in Anamorphic Widescreen format, this print goes a long way in showing that even back in the late 80s attention to storing a clean copy of a film for future use was taken seriously.

Iíve been noticing that most of the transfers from the early to mid 80s have tended to be quite grainy and fuzzy.  Seeing this come to digital fruition so beautifully gives me room to hope that as much detail has been paid to some of my other favorite movies from that time period.

Audio ***

Unlike the movie just prior to this one in the Friday The 13th series, Part VIII takes a step back to a 2.0 Dolby Digital Mix.  I was a bit worried due to the fact that Part VII in the series had very poor audio quality and it was mix mastered in Dolby Surround 5.1.  Fear not, for I was blown away by the clarity and quality that the 2.0 mix displayed.  

The soundtrack for this movie was quite cool as I am a fan of late 80s hair bands.  Fred Mollin did a good job at mixing and matching songs for this movie. 

Features Ĺ *

Come out, come out, wherever you are! The extra features that I was denied in the previous movie have once again eluded me.   The only options offered for this DVD were the audio choices of English or French stereo, and scene selection! 

Summary:

An awesome transfer to digital format, and wonderful sound quality go a long way in getting you past the fact that this movie is basically a carbon copy of all the ones before it.  It will, however, be a great addition to any collectors movie shelf.  So whether you buy this DVD to add to your collection or to get a laugh at the homicidal goalie wannabe, itís worth the purchase price!