Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

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Ranked #2,655
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Connections: Friday The 13th

Rennie Wickham is celebrating her graduation aboard the S.S. Lazarus, along with her strict uncle, her favorite teacher, her boyfriend, Sean Robertson, all of her classmates, and a stowaway: hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees. One by one, Jason slowly murders each classmate and sinks the ship, stranding the survivors in New York. Rennie and the few survivors now must face Jason to save their lives from impending doom. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: May 18, 2005
Part eight in our series picks up where part seven left off. As you may recall from "The New Blood", Tina used her psychic powers in order to resurrect her dead father from the lake, who pulled Jason down to the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake amidst a pile of wood and debris. This is where our feature film starts out - with Jason laying at the bottom of the lake, covered in the remains of the dock, and laying on top of a power line. On the surface of the lake, we find two young lovers who have just graduated high school and have rented a boat. Their plan consists of having a little premarital sex before joining a nearby cruise ship which will take them and a number of other graduates to New York for the summer. When the male of this duo drops the anchor and heads to the bedroom with his lady, things are going quite swell for him... however, when the anchor drags across the bottom of the lake, hits the power line, and causes it to send currents of electricity into the body of Jason Voorhees, the evening that this young couple had planned quickly turns to shit. The electricity resurrects Jason, who quickly climbs aboard the boat and dispatches both of these lovers. The boat drifts down the lake and into the harbor where the cruise ship is waiting, and Jason boards the cruise ship in order to pick off the graduates one by one on their way to The Big Apple. Amongst those in attendance are overcoming-her-fear-of-drowning Rennie (Jensen Daggett), the captain's son Sean Robertson (Scott Reeves), Rennie's uncle and school teacher Charles McCullough (Mark Richman), female teacher Colleen Van Deusen (Barbara Bingham), hair-band guitarist J.J. (Saffron Henderson), snobby rich girl Tamara Mason (Sharlene Martin), Asian girl Eva Watanabe (Kelly Hu), movie director wannabe Wayne Webber (Martin Cummins), body-count fodder Miles Wolfe (Gordon Currie), and boxer Julius Gaw (V.C. Dupree). Throw in a few guys in charge of the ship, some deck hands, and a few nameless graduates, and Jason (once again played by Kane Hodder) certainly has ample opportunities to bump up the running body count.

Here we have the entry that is commonly labeled as the low point of the series by F13 fans, yet I found it to be better than most fans. While it's true that the basis of the storyline is certainly far-fetched, and it was also pretty apparent that they were grasping for ideas at this point, the movie did turn out quite well and fits in nicely with the series up until this point. I found that the change of scenery was refreshing, as this was the first film (with the exception of the first five minutes) where everything took place outside of Camp Crystal Lake. Sure, it sort of defeats the whole basis of the storyline, but after seven movies of woods, lakes, and log cabins, a change was definitely needed. I also found the "gimmicky" aspect of each of the characters (the guitarist, the bitch, the boxer, etc.) to be more entertaining than the nameless fodder that makes up the bulk of Jason's resumé. Blasphemy, some hardcore fans may say... but in my opinion, it made the movie flow just a little bit better. My only real complaint with this entry was the censorship issues imposed by Paramount and the MPAA. I'm not going to get into that subject again, so just check it out in my review of part seven. Nearly every part of that long-winded rant applies to this film as well, and it still saddens me to no end.

For the most part, the cast is just what you'd expect from a F13 film. The gimmicks given to each character certainly livened them up a bit, but they're still being played by mediocre / average actors and actresses. The two exceptions here are Sharlene Martin (Tamara) and Mark Richman (Charles). These two characters play the bitch and asshole (respectively) roles to perfection, with Charles getting a rather large amount of screen time to ply his trade. When you have a character in a movie such as this that comes off as so arrogant and asshole'ish, it really helps the film move along; one simply can not wait to see those characters get their comeuppance. Both of these cast members played their roles to perfection, and in turn, made the movie that much better with their presence. Of course, I couldn't leave out the fact that Kane Hodder makes his return behind the mask, and really does a great job portraying the monster. Some people may ask why it matters who's behind the mask; you don't see their (real) face, and all that's required of the actor is to stalk the victims and murder them. What Kane brings to the character is body and mannerisms. The body part is obvious, one would think, but compare Kane's massive, hulking figure to some of the scrawnier fellows who have played Jason. There's just no comparison as to who makes the character look more menacing. Then, there's the mannerisms and body-language that Kane employs. Jason never speaks, so this is an important part of the character... sadly, most of the actors who played him failed to employ any of this into their portrayal, but Kane certainly bumps up the effectiveness with his actions and presence.

Nineteen victims are added to the body-count (we're at a total of eighty-five at this point in the series) in this entry, the storyline is somewhat original when compared to the previous entries, and Kane Hodder plays Jason for the second time. What more can one ask for out of a Friday The 13th film? 7/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added May 10, 2007 at 1:46am
I'm not sure if I enjoyed any of this movie at all, outside of Mark Richman. He was so damn entertaining to watch. But as far as the movie itself goes...blech. The acting in this was by far the worst yet, and Jason looked awful. Is there a reason why after a day or two he leaves behind slime? And that ending, while making no sense at all, certainly didn't transition into the next film in any way, shape or form. I still feel that this series died around 5, aside from Kane Hodder taking over as Jason, of course.
benloveshorror #2: benloveshorror - added August 14, 2010 at 1:35am
I watched this movie again tonight to celebrate Friday the 13th. Every time I watch it, I like it more and more. I mean, where else can you see Jason on a subway train, and bringing destruction to a cafe. 10/10
Crispy #3: Crispy - added June 3, 2015 at 7:01pm
Complete garbage. Not only was the New York angle blatantly pissed away, but there were way to many sloppy ideas. Crystal Lake is in Sussex New Jersey, a landlocked county in north western jersey, a mere 75 miles from Manhattan. Yet this boat is leaving on a 24 hour oceanic cruise to the city. I understand wanting to change things, but at least think a little bit about how to get him there. Plus, the concept with child Jason was mind-numbingly retarded, not to mention way out of the series timeline. Jason's new found ability of teleportation is just pure laziness. The toxic waste thing was worth nothing more than a confused blink and a depressed sigh. If you simply ignore this one, the franchise is better for it.
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