Friday the 13th part VII has so much good going for it, yet there are a few major set-backs. It has a lot to live up to, following on Part VI and picking up where the “Tommy Trilogy” left off. Part VII is the first of the “gimmicky” Friday the 13th flicks, which turns a lot of people off.
Tina (Lar Park Lincoln) is a girl with a wide range of telekinetic powers but with little control over them. Along with her mother (Susan Blu), they go to a cabin near Crystal Lake to try and settle her emotional problems with the help of the snotty and two-faced Dr. Cruise. Right next door, a band of rowdy teenagers have rented a cabin for the weekend so they can party. Tina remembers accidentally killing her father as a little girl out on the lake and in a fit of psychic rage unintentionally frees Jason from his watery grave. Well, you can guess what Jason does once he swims to shore. Tina has to learn to control her psychic abilities if she wants to take Jason down for good.
So yeah, basically, it’s “Jason vs. Carrie”. Supposedly, Part VII was intended to be the first attempt at “Freddy vs. Jason”, a project that didn’t actually get made until 2004. The whole concept of Jason fighting a girl with telekinetic powers may seem pretty goofy and out there, but at the same time, you have to consider that Jason is a back-from-the-dead Super Zombie. The levitation effects are all quite good (save for a few moments where you can tell objects are hanging from strings), and I have to admit, it *is* nice to see someone who can actually fight Jason.
There are a few things Part VII is notable for. It’s the first appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason, a role he would reprise for Part VIII, Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. Many fans prefer Kane’s interpretation of the character, which I do find impressive, though honestly, there hasn’t been a single actor to play Jason who has disappointed me. The role doesn’t require much acting talent, hence the reason they always cast stuntmen. It’s also recognized for having a popular montage opening which I actually prefer over the montage for Part IV. The selection of clips is great and the whole thing is amplified by a voice over from a creepy old man (“There’s a legend ‘round here…”). Then there’s the make-up effects which were top-notch. Jason’s face at the film’s climax remains one of his most memorable appearances ever. The make-up artist made it a point to work in all the damage Jason took over the previous movies, from machetes to the face or motorboat propellers to the jaw (his broken mask is very cool-looking).
The one thing people complain most about Part VII is the ruthless editing. Part VII features some of the best kills in the franchise (like the sleeping bag kill) but nearly all the gore is glossed-over, castrating some of these great scenes. Fans have been clamoring for an uncut release of Part VII for years but Paramount Pictures has yet to throw them a bone. The footage *does* exist, as Kane Hodder has shown it at conventions.
Part VII has its problems, but it’s one of my favorites for the excellent make-up effects and imaginative (if a little gore-less) kills. It gets a C+.