Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

R   |    |  Adventure, Horror, Thriller


Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) Poster

A boatful of graduating high school students headed to Manhattan accidentally pull Jason Voorhees along for the ride.


4.6/10
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23 November 2006 | ReelCheese
5
| The Last True "Friday"
Renowned film critic Leonard Maltin calls "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan" the highlight of the series. Of course Maltin rated virtually every other "Friday" film a dud, so that's not saying much. In any event, he's wrong. But while this eighth installment is comparatively inferior to most that preceded it, it's not as bad as reputed outside Maltin circles.

"Jason Takes Manhattan" is one of those movies that's impossible to love unconditionally. There are simply too many flaws, from ridiculous plot elements (Jason can teleport???) and an uneven pace to a lack of chills and incompatible attempts at humor. Indeed this entry represents a bitter come-down after the absolutely stellar parts VI and VII.

In many ways, "Jason Takes Manhattan" doesn't feel like part of the franchise. The Jason here isn't scary like we know he can be. His deadly moves, be it the electric guitar impaler or decapitatingly powerful right hook, seem contrived. Kane Hodder looks like a guy in a Jason suit rather than the real deal. Director Rob Hedden fell into the trap of gore for the sake of gore, but that's never been what "Friday the 13th" is all about. It's all in the build-up, and sometimes, even in low-budget '80s horror, less is more.

With all of that said, "Jason Takes Manhattan" isn't a total loss. The mere sight of the rapidly decaying villain storming through the mean streets of the Big Apple is worth at least four stars. Aside from the change of scenery, the film offers a semi-compelling storyline or two. And the masked one does have his frightening moments, smashing through portholes and firing harpoons at horny teens. As usual, the climax -- this time a chase through the city and sewer -- is the highlight.

For better or for worse, "Jason Takes Manhattan" marks the last true "Friday the 13th." This was Paramount's last stab (pun intended) at things before selling the rights to New Line Cinema, which basically destroyed the series with absurd ideas like Jason switching bodies and rampaging through spaceships. Not great, but not godawful, this film carries limited appeal outside of fanboy circles.

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Adventure | Horror | Thriller

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