A scene from JASON X, directed by James Isaac for New Line Cinema.

Jason X (2001, James Isaac)

Jason X is wonderfully bad. I don’t think it’s intended to be camp, but who knows. It certainly plays as high camp, possibly the best camp at the expense of the Friday the 13th series. Maybe if it were just a little less gory….

Todd Farmer’s script borrows a number of set pieces and dialogue exchanges from Aliens. And he forecasts it at the beginning, when Lexa Doig’s present day protagonist gets cryogenically frozen trying to escape killer monster Jason. It immediately feels like Aliens and then the similarities just continue, complete with a Burke character in Jonathan Potts and even Apone with Peter Mensah.

Would the film be at all amusing to someone not well-versed in Friday the 13th, Aliens and eighties movies in general? No. Farmer’s script is exaggerated and most of the actors can’t sell the lines. Melyssa Ade does rather well with her lame one-liners, giving them a proverbial eye roll on delivery.

The problem’s director Isaac. He can’t direct. The movie could even get away with the cheap (and derivative) special effects if Isaac and photographer Derick V. Underschultz were better at their jobs. Harry Manfredini turns in a surprisingly okay score and editor David Handman gets in a couple rather solid jump scares.

By turning slasher movie monster Jason Voorhees into Alien, Jason X erases all expectations. It’s too stupid to consider taking seriously. And has some success. Doig’s likable and Manesh’s good.

It’s truly too bad Isaac’s not a better director.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by James Isaac; screenplay by Todd Farmer, based on characters created by Victor Miller; director of photography, Derick V. Underschultz; edited by David Handman; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, John Dondertman; produced by Noel Cunningham; released by New Line Cinema.

Starring Lexa Doig (Rowan), Lisa Ryder (Kay-Em 14), Chuck Campbell (Tsunaron), Jonathan Potts (Professor Lowe), Peter Mensah (Sgt. Brodski), Melyssa Ade (Janessa) and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees).


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