Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Friday the 13th Part III

1/4

Starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Larry Zerner, David Katims, Rachel Howard, Nick Savage, Gloria Charles, Kevin O'Brien, Cheri Maugins, Steve Susskind, Richard Brooker

Rated R (probably for Strong Violence/Gore, Language, Sexuality/Nudity and Drug Use)

The most interesting characters show up after the recap of the first film, and they're only on screen for five minutes.  Not a good sign; even for something as low grade as a "Friday the 13th" movie.  With a title like that, I'm not expecting something like "Halloween" or "Sinister."  But I would like to be repaid with something other than unending tedium.  Sadly, that's what happens in this gimmicky and utterly worthless horror flick.  The only thing worth noting about this dud is that it's the first time Jason puts on his infamous hockey mask.

Chris Higgins (Kimmell) is going to her family's old farm on Crystal Lake.  With her are the pregnant Debbie (Savage), her boyfriend Andy (Rogers), the tubby Shelly (Zerner), his blind date Vera (Parks), and their two stoner friends, Chuck (Katims) and Chili (Howard).  Chris's boyfriend Rick (Kratka) will meet them there.  Chris is still recovering from a terrifying attack that happened two years ago, but has returned to prove to herself that she has gotten past it.  There's also a subplot involving a trio of nasty bikers (Savage, Charles, O'Brien).

But let's face it.  Anyone who puts a "Friday the 13th" movie into the DVD player does so for one reason: to see Jason Voorhees (Brooker) stab, slice, dice, fillet or otherwise murder as many stupid, horny teenagers as the running time will allow.  Despite the large cast and body count, this movie is a snooze fest.  There are a few reasons for this:

-One, the acting is awful.  Horror movies are rarely known for their great performances, but this is a new low.  The acting is so bad that not even the cast members agents could say they were proud of their son or daughter with a straight face.  I'll give the cast members a break by not listing them by name, since it would be far too tedious to say how awful each one of them is.  To be fair, they're given a screenplay that wouldn't get a passing grade in a fifth grade English class, but that doesn't cut it.  Especially since the store owner and her husband (Maugins and Susskind) are quirky enough to be interesting, but sadly they're only on screen for five minutes.  And Larry Zerner manages to be a little endearing as the pudgy prankster.

-Two, the movie is dumb beyond description.  It is rare for a horror movie character to display a lot of brainpower, which is one of the many reasons why the indie horror flick "Hush" from last year made my Top 10 list.  That said, there is a line between campy and insulting to the audience, and this movie crosses it very quickly.  I'll give you an example.  On their way to the cabin, the teens see an ambulance crew bringing out body bags.  Then, they nearly run over a hobo who shows them a human eyeball that he found.  And yet they still go to the cabin.  The word "mistake" couldn't have been made clearer had it been on a billboard.  And the stupidity doesn't stop there.  Characters are constantly splitting up, playing pranks that are a, obvious, b, dangerous and c, stupid, that not only do we feel annoyed by the repetition, we feel insulted that people so lacking in intelligence and common sense aren't butchered to prevent them from contributing to the gene pool.

-Three, there is far too much dead space between the kill scenes.  "Friday the 13th" and the sequel weren't great movies, but they understood their appeal and how the genre works.  But with this movie, director Steve Miner apparently forgot that lesson.  He spends far too much time on the romantic melodramas between characters no one could possibly care about.  In addition to being boring and hideously acted, the screenplay is so bad that it makes the "Star Wars" movies appear to have been written by David Mamet.  Pornos have more convincing dialogue.

By the time the bloodletting really gets going, it's impossible to stay invested.  Few of the kills are impressive enough to raise an eyebrow at, and there's so little blood and gore that they can't much be enjoyed at a visceral level.  Miner gives a shout out to "Fangoria" fans, and a nod to make up master Tom Savini.  And he never passes up an opportunity to show of the 3D.  But really, there's no reason to bother with this piece of garbage.  Unless you're a die hard Jason Voorhees fan, in which case you've probably already seen it a zillion times.  If that's the case, I suggest you seek immediate psychological help.