As is the case with any good old horror franchise out there today, especially those that are vintage 80s classics, the F13 series – that’s Friday the 13th – is bound to offer up a few bad apples from time to time. According to many diehard Jason fans, this movie is one of the worst of the bunch unless they hate Jason Goes to Hell more. After a while, the familiarity level is too high for any horror movie to work well as a scare source and once this happens, filmmakers tend to turn to gags and in-jokes to make up for the fact that no matter what they do with the villain you love, you’re going to feel as if you’ve seen it all before.
In the 8th installment of Jason’s epic we find the masked machete wielder being brought back to life when a boat strikes a power line. Since he’s a bit similar to Frankenstein in ambience, this isn’t too crazy. However, once awakened, Jason has got to do what he loves back because, after all, he is a man of passion. So he climbs aboard the offending boat, grabs up his mask and sets out to find some teens having sex so he can kill them. That is, of course, what Jason “lives” for and now that he’s drifting far from Camp Crystal Lake he’s got to keep the kill count high while finding new and exciting ways to off the innocents he comes across. Eventually Jason emerges in New York City as the title suggests.
Now, as far as F13 movies go, this eighth one really doesn’t do as much as you might hope for if you want to see Jason slaughter New Yorkers in droves and maybe even scale some skyscrapers like Spiderman. If you wanted to see anything along those lines then it’s best to put that hope aside because you won’t see our hockey mask horror machine doing anything like this for more than a few minutes. Most of the movie takes place in the boats with only a sprinkling of Big Apple flavor near the end. Fans were immensely disappointed by this and also by the fact that towards the end of the movie Jason lifts his mask so we get to see his face. He’s ugly and somehow slightly less scary than our imaginations may have suggested.
Jason Takes Manhattan isn’t exactly a crime against the series because it’s still fun to watch, but it doesn’t do what you might think it will and really, seeing Jason’s face isn’t all that helpful. If we were fine with him being a hockey mask up until now then it stands to reason that we can handle another 7 movies where he continues to wear the mask. Still, it’s Friday the 13th and any shot at watching Jason’s trademark rampages is going to be fun so on that level, the movie delivers at a B grade level.
If you wanted to see Jason actually take Manhattan you’ll have to keep wishing, but if you wanted to see Jason take a small but eager bite out of the Big Apple then that’s what you’ll get with this film.