By far one of the more entertaining FRIDAY THE 13th movies, PART VI is brisk and breezy and it has a sense of fun that is lacking from any of the previous entries. Directed by Tom McLoughlin (ONE DARK NIGHT), it also is one of the slickest looking of the series with some true visual flair in the overall production design and editing.
The characters are a tad over the top, but unlike in the earlier films, it works. As a matter of fact, more than a few of them are actually likeable and you want them to succeed. I even found myself upset at one of the deaths because I felt the character redeemed himself and deserved to live.
The plot once again centers on the plight of Tommy Jarvis (this time played by Thom Matthews). He needs some closure in his life and he wants to make sure that Jason is really dead, even if it means digging up his grave to burn his remains. He unfortunately chooses a storming night to do this and in a Rube Goldberg-ian twist, Jason is charged with lightning and brought back from hell to once again wreak havoc on the citizens of Forest Green (previously known as Crystal Lake).
Tommy does his best to alert the cops, but they don’t believe him (would you?) and banish him from the sleepy town instead. When the bodies begin to pile up, they’re convinced that it must be Tommy. Unfortunately, they learn the truth far too late.
Though it contains a number of tropes from the previous entries, McLoughin has made them seem fresh and exciting. The Make-Up FX are top-notch and clever and unlike the other films so far, PART VI doesn’t rely on cheap thrills and nudity to keep the audience engaged. It actually tries to tell a story that has a real story arc and some real stakes.
I don’t want to over sell the film, it’s still a FRIDAY THE 13th movie, but it’s rather charming and reminds me in many ways of what Wes Craven did with the SCREAM films a decade later. There is a certain self-referential feel as well as a wink and a nod that the movie is here to entertain as well as scare. JASON LIVES is a worthy effort that injects new life into the franchise.
FRIDAY THE 13th - PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986)