Have you heard the story of Jason Vorhees? It is said he was a masked madman who ran rampage around Crystal Lake, but now his body resides under the water and there he will stay. Or at least until a boat that happens to be sitting on the lake floats by, and its anchor disrupts a power line in the bed, starting an electrical disturbance which revives a certain corpse nearby. If only the couple who are in the boat had realised that you simply do not joke around with the legend of this killer, they might be alive today: but Jason will not lie down...
The advertising campaign for Friday the 13th Part VIII made it clear in no uncertain terms that it would be set in New York City, a welcome change of location as who wouldn't want to see the famed movie villain tackling the criminals there? Well, the producers apparently as there was some discontented muttering amongst the fans who paid to see this when they discovered most of it was not set in The Big Apple at all, but on a cruise ship taking some partygoers there, although it's worth pointing out as others have done that it's hard to see how the boat on Crystal Lake Jason is on gets to the open sea.
Mind you, that's pretty small beer compared to other irrational aspects of the film. Jason (Kane Hodder returns in the role) clambers aboard the cruiser and finds that he has his work cut out for him, but really save for the novel location this was nothing new for the greater part of the running time. There's yet another psychic girl, here the anti-indigestion tablet-evoking Rennie (Jensen Daggett), who has an otherworldly link to the killer, though we don't discover the circumstances of this until later on, but does mean that every so often she sees a vision of Jason as a child.
Rennie is an orphan, but has a guardian in the shape of teacher Mr McCulloch (American T.V. dependable Peter Mark Richman), an unsympathetic chap who is overprotective towards her but is furious that her other tutor has allowed her onto the ship. There is a lack of true shocks here, with the characters you expect to wind up as Jason fodder not disappointing you, from the bitchy girl who knocks Rennie over the side (she can't swim!) to the chap who follows everyone around with a video camera (pretty hi-tech for 1989, probably).
Additionally, Rennie has a boyfriend, Sean (Scott Reeves), who will go on to accompany her on the New York City streets when they finally "dock", although by this time the survivors have been forced to abandon ship in favour of a rowing boat - that's one hell of a journey, I bet their arms were tired. Jason has a new ability in this instalment to go along with his super strength in that he can leap from one place to another without anyone seeing him move, which certainly makes him more supernatural in form, but the idea of him in the title location promises more than it could deliver as it's largely the back alleys there he pops up in. All in all, a nice idea that sells itself short in execution, and the manner in which Jason is defeated is especially silly. Music by Fred Mollin (and dare I say it, that soft rock theme song isn't too bad, is it? No? Please yourselves).