Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Movie Title: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Year Released: 1988

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 28m

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Director: John Carl Buechler

Writer: Daryl Haney and Manuel Fidello

Starring: Lar Park-Lincoln, Terry Kiser, Kane Hodder, Susan Blu, Kevin Spirtas, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Heidi Kozak Haddad, William Butler, Staci Greason, Larry Cox, Jeff Bennett, Diana Barrows, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jon Renfield, Michael Schroeder, Debora Kessler, Diane Almeida, Craig Thomas,

Review: After the literal resurrection of this franchise with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, I was hyped for this sequel and with effects master John Carl Buechler at the helm I expected glorious gore and murderous mayhem to be dialed up to eleven! Sadly, this entry in the series is a disappointment thanks to the vicious edits courtesy of the MPAA.

Okay, let's talk about the good stuff first. Kane Hodder's portrayal of Jason Voorhees is awesome! He's angry, aggressive, and intimidating like Jason has never been before. His screen presence is unmatched. He kills his victims with a striking precision that is both scary and shocking - and Part VII gave us one of Jason's all-time best kills - the sleeping bag death! Fans know what I'm talking about. It is one of the most simple yet creative kills in the entire franchise and it intensifies Jason's menace to such an extreme.

And Jason's look is incredible! He's a rotting zombie man with exposed bones, muscle, and is designed to be disgustingly decomposed. It's a proper look for this character's consistent cavalcade of carnage. He looks like he'd smell horrific, and that makes me ask the question: How can none of the potential victims get a whiff of this walking, waterlogged, worm-ridden, weapon wielding wraith.

Then there's Hodder's stuntwork. The fall down the stairs, the jump through the window, the roof collapse, and the completely engulfing fire stunt - all are iconic, and give viewers something new to enjoy - seeing Jason get as good as he gives.

I also enjoyed telekinetic Tina as not only the "final girl", but as a tough nemesis to battle Jason. It was a great change of pace for the series and Lar Park-Lincoln is quite good in the role. She really gives him the business and it's nice to see someone not just run and scream, but fight back. It's "Carrie vs. Jason", what's not to like?

Now... here's the bad stuff. The plot of the Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) trying to exploit Tina's gift. You're not sure how he's going to exploit her abilities, but he's hoping to cash in. And he's such an obviously skeevy dude and terribly unlikable... much like the rest of our cast of characters. Part VII has some of the worst cannon fodder characters. They are boring, riddled with run-of-the-mill tropes, and really only exist to be murdered at some point. Melissa, I think is her name, she's the stuck-up rich girl, I was happen when Jason came a-knockin' for her. You really don't like or connect with anyone so it's kind of a slog until Jason starts learning about the joys of subtraction.

Another issue is the ending. And by ending I mean: "How Jason is defeated." It just doesn't make a lick of sense.

But the worst crime that this film commits is that all of the kills are so over edited that you're really not sure exactly what happen to some of the victims. The MPAA really had this flick in their sights and cut it to shreds, no pun intended. It should have been the most brutal film of the franchise, but it's rather tame and quite confusing. And since to plot is lame and the characters are insufferable the only thing that will help enhance fans' enjoyment is some blood and guts, but your won't find much of that here. And it's a shame! The only thing that improved one of the kills what the sleeping bag one. Instead of multiple slams into a tree to take out a horny lady Jason does it in one. It's way more brutal and shows that our masked man one intense goalie. And then I got to think about this... with Hodder's amped-up murder monster on the loose he still wanders around the woods dispatching teens in their twenties one at a time. Why so sneaky Jason? No one can stop you. Just get these punks like it's a contest and time is running out!

And at just under 90 minutes this unfocused mess really drags until the last 15 to 20 minutes.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood had so much potential. You got a more physically imposing Jason, plenty of meat for the grinder, and a formidable heroine that can give this killer cadaver a run for his money. But bad edits, a horrible script, and annoying characters make New Blood more like Bad Blood. And things only get worse with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Walt Gorney: the veteran actor who played Crazy Ralph in the original Friday the 13th (1980) and in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) returns as the voice of the narrator during the opening of this film.


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