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Film Review: Friday the 13th Part III

Background

In 1982, Steve Miner released Friday the 13th Part III, the third installment in the Friday the 13thfranchise. Starring Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Larry Zerner, David Katims, Rachel Howard, Marilyn Poucher, Amy Steel, John Furey, Nick Savage, Gloria Charles, Kevin O’Brien, Cheri Maugans, Steve Susskind, Perla Walter, David Wiley, and Kirsten Baker, the film grossed $36.7 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Jason Voorhees has returned, but this time he wanders away from Camp Crystal Lake and ends up in a farm nearby called Higgins Haven. However, that’s about the time a group of teenagers arrive to blow off some steam along with a trio of bikers who want revenge for a couple of the kids backing into their bikes.

Review

The final part to what was originally planned as a trilogy, Friday the 13th Part III isn’t all that great of a film. While it doesn’t take part in Camp Crystal Lake or in a second camp right next to it in the same woods, it’s still set somewhere nearby and it doesn’t take much for the viewers to really wonder why anybody even hangs around in the area with all the killings that take place. However, as usual, the film opens with the audience getting to know the characters and who they are, but what the film presents are nothing but a bunch of one-sided caricatures. One’s the joker, one’s the lover, one’s the serious one, ones the survivor, the bikers are petty and vindictive schmucks and it just goes on from there. The first film had characters with more personality than any of these characters had. The first to die even had a lot of characterization in how much she loved and wanted to work with children. However, the characters here provide nothing but useless fodder for Jason’s killings and not getting to know the characters before their killed makes it so the audience doesn’t care about them when they are killed.

Further, as the film’s final girl, Chris is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, she’s incredibly annoying and, as stated above, she’s only characterized to be the survivor. The film does attempt to give her some sympathetic characterization at the very end when she becomes a hysterical mess when taken away by the police, but it comes too late and seemingly out of nowhere as she never showed signs of starting to break down when pursued. Kimmel doesn’t do too good a job of acting the character out either. On the other hand though, she was able to land a few good hits on Jason, even causing him to double over and scream in pain. Up until this point, Chris has been the only character to visibly and audibly cause any sort of pain to the character.

Speaking of Jason Voorhees, this film is really where he came into his own as the iconic slasher everyone thinks of when the series comes up. He finally dons the hockey mask after killing one of his victims and instead of just being this disfigured hillbilly, he’s an incredibly muscular disfigured hillbilly that won’t stay down. Despite Chris delivering the aforementioned blows and actually putting him in audible pain, Jason eventually just shrugs it off and continues coming after her. He might have endured some abuse during the events of the last film, but this film brought a lot more for him to practically ignore and further establish him as an unstoppable force. Having the hockey mask also allows the character to appear more menacing as it provides a way for him to give a cold stare to the victims that actually see him before they die, such as Vera. As a whole, with the way he carries himself along with the iconic look, Jason is probably the best part of an otherwise dull film.

The only other interesting aspect the film has going for it are Jason’s kills. From impaling the bikers with a pitchfork and shooting one of the teens with a speargun in the eye to shoving a knife through one’s chest while on a hammock to crushing one’s skull until his eye pops out, the film did bring about some interesting and creative kills. It’s just that nearly everything else was subpar.

2 stars for Friday the 13th Part III

The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

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