Friday the 13th Part 3: - Jason Trades in the Burlap Sack

Jan 7, 2013
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Introduces the Hockey Mask to the Series, Somewhat New Location

Cons:Cheesy, Campy and a Little Boring to be Honest

The Bottom Line: Now I've got that disco theme song stuck in my head...

Slasher films are one of my guilty pleasures. I know that it's mindless fair that will probably rot my brain, but sometimes I like to sit back back and watch something that's pure campy fun. The Friday the 13th series is one of my guilty pleasures and over the years I've grown to enjoy this films more and more. It's fairly routine for me to choose a random sequel and throw it in on a rainy day. I decided to once again sit through the series but this time I'm planning to review each installment picking up where I left off. This starting place just happens to be Friday the 13th part 3 which once was my favorite sequel in the axe wielding Jason saga. That was back when I was in junior high and my tastes have changed significantly over the years. I sat down and gave the blu-ray for this film a shot and wanted to see if it held up for me. There are some things that I like about part three, but it hasn't aged well even when compared to the other early sequels.

In an effort to pad the run time we are first treated to a montage of clips from the last film to catch the audience up. Part 3 begins right where the last film left off. The police are removing the bodies from the restored Camp Crystal Lake and the news of Jason's latest killing spree is all over the news. Unfortunately he was never apprehended and as we soon see he has made his way to an old general store down the road. After making short work of the man and his wife who own the joint Jason kicks rocks and arrives at a rustic cabin on the shores of a lake. It is here that our next set of fresh faced victims who have recently arrived for a weekend long trip. Jason quickly takes residence in the property's barn and awaits his opportunity to pick them off one by one. Throw in a handful of fake out scares, a cast of clueless twenty somethings, an uncomfortably retro disco theme song, a few inventive scares and you've got the third Friday the 13th film.

The major problem with this sequel is just how much of it is recycled from the previous two 13ths. It feels like the only difference between the characters from this one and the last are the actors who were cast for them. You have all the cliche archetypes; the nervous and chubby loser, the preppy couple, stoner couple, and of course your innocently platonic female along with her horn dog boyfriend. The only slightly original role here is the girl, named Vera, who is set up with the aforementioned prankster Shelly. She starts to come around just as she meets her end at the tip of a crossbows arrow. Also, the biker sub story wherein they try to get even with the protagonists for wrecking up their bikes is somewhat entertaining, but these three characters are very short lived within the story. Their sole purpose is to disrupt the means of escape for the protagonists later in the film which cheapens the sub-story, but I found their antics mildly enjoyable.

Unfortunately this film has aged worse than the other Fridays for a couple of reasons. The first one you will notice is the tacky theme song that plays in the opening and ending credits. The dark disco tune is incredibly campy. You have to hand it to the producers for not simply recycling the last theme, but they should have put a little more effort into their selection because it doesn't fit and is purely cheesy. The next issue is that this was made as a 3D film. Most of us don't have a 3D television, and when released these sets were not commercially available. This leaves us with a lot of cheesy shots intended to highlight this aspect of the film. Most of these shots have little to do with Jason or any of the horror elements. The director threw in random shots of swinging baseball bats, striking snakes, an in play yo-yo, and an awkwardly long juggling sequence. Of course there are some pertinent shots where we get a view of an arrow coming right at the screen, or an eyeball popping out of its socket, but for the most part the 3D highlights are stupid.

Performances are weak even by slasher standards. Dana Kimmel as the main character Chris can scream and act frightened decently, but when it comes to simply carrying a monotonous conversation the actress simply cannot do it. Her boyfriend Rick is plagued with an even worse actor - it was annoying to hear him say anything at all. The guy seemed bored even when he was trying to sound mad which makes for some very painful scenes. Everyone else is at best a slight step up, but none of the main performances were all that enjoyable. I must say that I rather did like Richard Brooker as Jason. The man has a big presence in every scene he shows up in - and the make-up effect artists did a wonderful job making him look grotesque in his mask-less scenes. I would actually go so far as to say that this is my favorite Jason in the entire series. Gore isn't as prevalent as it is in the later sequels, but the effects are fairly believeable here except for any scenes involving violence to the eyeball.

Overall Recommendation
Friday the 13th part 3 is decent when compared to your run of the mill slasher film. This sequel plays it very safe by sticking with the familiar character archetypes and adds very little to the overall story. This was just another one of those quick cash in sequels, and despite having loved it in the past, I was left bored through most of it due to the typical storyline and flat performances. The only thing added here that really stuck was the hockey mask which would later define the series, but even that is barely worth noting.

Viewing Format: Blu-Ray 

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