Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Since first hitting the big screen, the Friday The 13th series has displayed a resiliency matching that of its famously indestructible hockey-mask-sporting antihero. Over the past 22 years, the series has weathered changes in public taste, eight sequels, a trip to hell, a syndicated television series, and, perhaps most impressively, a brief visit to Manhattan. The first Friday The 13th sequel since Scream rewrote the slasher rulebook, Jason X opens with its titular villain being readied for cryogenic preservation at the Crystal Lake Research Facility. Before he can hit the deep freeze, however, a busybody played by David Cronenberg (who worked on an episode of the television show) attempts to have him moved, leading to a bloodbath in which the cerebral frightmaster meets a fate identical to that of many beer-drinking, fornicating Crystal Lake teens. Then, in a series of events no more implausible than anything else in the film, Jason winds up in deep space in the year 2455, where he's carried aboard a transport ship populated by a motley gang of scantily clad space teens, lovelorn androids, sniveling professors, and gun-toting bad-asses. At once a slasher sequel, an Alien knockoff, and an irreverent spoof of slasher sequels and Alien knockoffs, Jason X feels like it was written as a fairly straight horror/sci-fi movie, then script-doctored by a comedy writer intent on satirizing the original script. As a result, the film's intentional and unintentional laughs mingle so freely that it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two, especially as Jason X ascends to surreal levels of silliness. This is particularly true during the jaw-dropping final half-hour, which features everything from a kung-fu-fighting android dolled up like Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix to a computer-simulated trip to Crystal Lake circa 1980 to an unforgettable bit in which Jason beats a sex-crazed, pot-smoking virtual teen with a sleeping bag. Jason X's most winning trait, and one that compensates for much of its ineptitude as a slasher movie, is its willingness to go anywhere for any reaction, whether it's a laugh, a scare, or just sheer befuddlement. Like Bride Of Chucky, the film understands that sometimes the only way to save a decrepit horror franchise is to viciously mock everything it holds dear.


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