Friday the 13th Part III

Friday the 13th Part III ★★

Jason's back again, killing more teenagers, but this's in

Yes, spectacular 1980's 3-D that I didn't get to enjoy in its former glory, but I don't think I was missing anything because the gimmicky moments are all recognizable and with the exception of one or two...entirely pointless. A kid awkwardly points a baseball bat at the camera! A dude reaches out and passes a joint to the audience! Someone throws a wallet and it flies right at us! Wow! Profoundly creative stuff. Okay, okay, to be fair, the yo-yo and popcorn moments were alright, if completely superfluous and the eye-popping scene was the only one that enriched the experience and deserved to be present in a Friday the 13th movie.

3-D trickery, aside, Part 3 is...fine, I guess? Still not good, but kinda average for a slasher movie and not all that memorable. Jason goes after a bunch of kids after escaping the events of the second film and Camp Crystal Lake is nowhere in sight. The teenagers are slightly less annoying than before, but every bit as vapid and killable. New additions to the series include a couple of stoner characters, a weak sauce motorcycle gang and a new crazy harbinger of doom to replace the now-deceased Crazy Ralph (Spoiler for the last film, but is it really?).

The opening flashback to the last 10 minutes of the preceding film is still here and just as out of place as ever. The jokes are still lame. The false jump scares still lack a purpose and are setup in a way that always makes it clear that the scare won't be real. Typical points for critique. Been there, said that. One new observation would be the sudden shift to psychological horror at the very end, which the other two films did as well. Just like before, it's hastily thrown together in Part 3. The creativity of the film's last moments is so lacking that it actually rips off the final scare of the first film and then - also just like the original - makes it out to be nothing more than the final girl's imagination and ends with a lingering shot on the water. I liked it when I saw it the first time. Why beat a dead horse?

What does work in this installation is primarily the kills, which, to me, are more brutally visceral than ever. Sure, you have your phoned in pitchfork-through-the-gut business and your meat cleaver kill, but scenes like the one on the dock or the bare-hands kill that was obliquely referenced earlier are very hard-hitting and I appreciated what the filmmakers were able to achieve there. Pacing-wise, the movie feels a little different from the first two, but not in a bad way. Lead-ups to the kills are more drawn out and I really liked that.

Part 3 is where Jason first dons his iconic mask and the way he gets it is pretty cool, knicking it off a goofball teenage victim who used it as a way of scaring his friends. The decision justifies an earlier false scare and evokes the idea of an imagined threat becoming a reality (although I doubt the writers were operating on that high a level of thematic awareness). Overall, the movie is what it is and packs few surprises. Cheap, unintentionally humorous and morbidly fun...Consistency might be the best thing the series has going for it so far.

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