Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Review

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is a 1986 horror slasher film directed by Tom McLoughlin, starring Thomas Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, and Renee Jones. The sixth installment in the Friday the 13th series, it follows Tommy Jarvis who escapes a mental institution in order to cremate Jason’s corpse but must do battle with Jason who is resurrected by a freak electrical accident.


Positives:

  • Good performances
  • Interesting story
  • Good characters
  • Good use of practical effects
  • Great suspense
  • Great score

Negatives:

  • Lackluster performances
  • Lackluster characters
  • Bad script

Plot: The story is interesting as an origin for Jason supernatural presence but aside from that does nothing to really change the typical Friday the 13th formula. Tommy’s obsession and “rivalry” with Jason does make for an interesting story. There is the story of the dysfunctional relationship between the Sheriff Garris and his daughter Megan which their story is glanced at but never fully focused. The film could’ve focused on their relationship and during the events of the story could’ve given them better character development but instead forces this concept between Megan and Tommy. In most of the films, people are being murdered without anyone else’s knowledge but the film does counter this by having Sheriff Garris believe that Tommy first is imagining Jason then assuming the role of the killer. The film does fail to answer some questions as well as address some inconsistencies. (3 out of 5)

Characters:  The film features characters that either interesting or useless. Outside of the main cast most of the supporting cast have nothing interesting or worthy to contribute to the overall plot. The majority of the characters are useless. Tommy is still dealing with his trauma and by this point comes off as a bit of an obsessive mad man rather than a suffering man which does detract from his character. There is the relationship between Sheriff Garris and Megan which feels grounded, due to him being overprotective and her being rebellious. This dynamic is perhaps the most standout among the cast. There is this relationship between Tommy and Megan and it is not only an over used trope but completely forced with little to no substance to support it. Jason is given a more menacing appearance and the characters lack of speech makes him much more intimidating. (3 out of 5)

Cast: The casting are alright and the performances are decent. Despite the lack of dialogue C. J. Graham and Dan Bradley do a great job with the Jason character. Mathews is decent as Tommy, though he does overact in some parts. Cooke and Kagen give the most convincing performances. The two actually have chemistry. Cast also includes Kerry Noonan, Darcy DeMoss, and Tom Fridley. (3 out of 5)

Visuals: There is a great use of practical effects. The practical effects as well as camera angles make the kill sequences very effective. Jason’s appearance looks good with a great decayed look to him, though there moments where it is clear that he’s wearing prosthetic of some kind. (3 out of 5)

Score:  The score is absolutely brilliant and greatly enhances the suspense. Thumbs up to Harry Manfredini for the soundtrack that definitely gives the film that Friday the 13th edge. (3 out of 5)

Writing: Some of the writing is admittedly bad. Characters have conversations that seem lackluster and tell nothing about their lives except talking about the subject of Jason and Crystal Lake for literally no reason. The characters were written so bland that it is painful and makes their deaths…meeh. The script could’ve been written better to incorporate a bit of backstory of Tommy as well as the Garris family. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is a decent watch. Though it does have is share of problems; inconsistencies in the story, lackluster characters, no memorable performances, the film does have a great origin story for the supernatural killer, a great score, good use of practical effects. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives gets 3 out of 5.

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