Jul 13

Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhatten

Year: 1989
Country: USA

aka: Friday the 13th VIII: Jason in N.Y.

Director: Rob Hedden
Starring: Todd Caldecott, Tiffany Paulsen, Tim Mirkovich, Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett


New York has a new problem!


The ship SS Lazarus is filled with graduate students who are going to New York for their graduation. One of the students is Rennie Wickham, who is the niece of the biology teacher Charles McCulloch who are responsible for the trip together with his colleague Colleen. Rennie is scared of the water after having a traumatizing experience as a child.

Jason Vorhees has been released from the chains that kept him at the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake and he grabs the anchor of SS Lazarus while it sails by his lake and gets onboard for the ride. Before the ship reaches New York and all it has to offer, the people on the ship has to survive the wrath of Jason.

Well… I see what they did here. After slashing his way through probably hundreds of kids in Camp Crystal Lake and making tons of money for the studios, they decided that Jason had deserved a little vacation. He has been through enough so why not let him have a trip to the Big Apple. But seriously, who thought that the idea of Jason spending an hour on a boat and about thirty minutes in New York was a good idea? It seems like an idea that would get thrown around while brainstorming and laughed at before never being talked about again. What’s next, Jason in Space?

Once again the characters are mostly uninteresting and dull. Our leading final girl Rennie looks cute, but she also falls into the same category as Tina from the previous film and Tommy in Part 5 in that she has some mental problems and therefore we should care for her. It doesn’t work that way. The two teachers work as a good parent and bad parent for the teens with McCulloch being the obnoxious one. I thought the rock chick at the beginning of the boat ride was nice to look at so of course she was killed quickly. Kelly Hu turns up in a small part and she also got killed off quickly.

Because of budget, there is few scenes that are actually filmed in New York. Most of the shots that where not taking place on the boat was filmed in Vancouver. They did try their best to make New York seem like the sleaziest and god awful place on earth where no one cares about other humans at all. If I where a New Yorker and saw this film then I think I would be a little offended by it. When Jason first arrives at the big city, he seems to have his mind-set on getting the ones from the boat, ignoring all the potential victims that roam the streets around him.

Director Rob Hedden had done a small TV movie and two episodes of the Friday the 13th TV series before landing this job. I have never understood how such inexperienced filmmakers got the chance to direct sequels to pretty big franchises and this is a good example. Hedden was also involved in the writing process and when it comes to his directing, he adds nothing new and fresh to the table. I can understand that it is hard to create any tension with a silly premise like that, but that’s also partly his fault since he was a writer on this project. It is also too long, running nearly 100 minutes long.

Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is a bad movie, no doubt about it. The premise and title should be enough to understand that this will be a bad movie, but that doesn’t mean that it is a boring one. If they managed one thing, it was to not make it boring. It’s one of the worse sequels in the Jason saga, but what the hell… it is still Jason.




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