Director McLoughlin tries something new for the Friday the 13th franchise; he makes Jason Lives a monster movie. A really bland, not even slightly creepy and only once surprising, monster movie. It’s not notable for it failing to be a good monster movie, it’s notable because McLoughlin’s so sincere about it.
McLoughlin, who also scripted the entry, is also sincere about making the film accessible. No, really, there’s no other reason to have a bumbling executives playing paintball than the make the film accessible. McLoughlin wants people to enjoy Jason Lives.
Unfortunately, his script is lame and his direction of actors is weak. His composition is bland, predictable and never effective, but a lot of it is cinematographer Jon Kranhouse. The movie’s terribly lighted. And, even worse, Harry Manfredini’s score is laughable. It’s never scary. He’s going for that monster movie vibe McLoughlin wants.
In the lead performance, Thom Mathews is terrible. As his love interest, Jennifer Cooke gives a perfectly adequate performance in an unbelievable role. As her father–and the sheriff after Mathews–David Kagen is real bad. There are a lot of actors in a Jason Lives, sometimes too many to track, but none of them are good.
Jason Lives also distinguishes itself by putting children in danger of being brutally murdered by a resurrected by lightning slasher monster. McLoughlin can’t even make that sequence scary; he can’t even create empathy for children in danger.
Jason Lives is rather bad, even as a Friday the 13th movie.
Directed by Tom McLoughlin; screenplay by McLoughlin; director of photography, Jon Kranhouse; edited by Bruce Green; music by Harry Manfredini; production designer, Joseph T. Garrity; produced by Don Behrns; released by Paramount Pictures.
Starring Thom Mathews (Tommy), Jennifer Cooke (Megan), Courtney Vickery (Nancy), David Kagen (Sheriff Garris), Michael Swan (Officer Pappas), Mike Nomad (Officer Thornton), Vincent Guastaferro (Deputy Rick Cologne), Kerry Noonan (Paula), Renée Jones (Sissy), Tom Fridley (Cort), Darcy DeMoss (Nikki), Roger Rose (Steven), Cynthia Kania (Annette), Bob Larkin (Martin), Whitney Rydbeck (Roy), Alan Blumenfeld (Larry), Matthew Faison (Stan), Ann Ryerson (Katie), Wallace Merck (Burt), Nancy McLoughlin (Lizbeth), Tony Goldwyn (Darren) and Ron Palillo (Allen Hawes).