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  Friday the 13th: A New Beginning The Impostor
Year: 1985
Director: Danny Steinmann
Stars: John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, Anthony Barrile, Todd Bryant, Tiffany Helm, Curtis Conaway, Juliette Cummins, John Robert Dixon, Carol Locatell, Corey Parker, Rebecca Wood, Sonny Shields, Dominick Brascia, Mike Weiand, Corey Feldman
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Little Tommy (Corey Feldman) knows that serial killer Jason Vorhees is finally dead, but he has to go out to his grave, a makeshift plot in the woods, to be sure. However, when he arrives there are two young men who have beaten him to it, and as Tommy watches from the trees, he sees them dig up the coffin and force open the lid. Their laughter soon stops when Jason's body springs back to life and stabs them, then climbs out of the grave and advances towards Tommy - but it is all a dream, as he is actually a few years older, heading to a retreat for emotionally damaged young people...

Well, at least they were trying something a bit different with this, the fifth instalment in the Friday the 13th series. Unlike previous sequels, it does not begin with lengthy clips of past ones and instead goes into that nightmare sequence as described above. Originally it was intended for Feldman to reprise his role, but he was off being a Goonie at the time and was only available for a cameo, so it is John Shepherd who plays the slightly older, looking completely different version of Tommy.

There is a definite attempt to turn this into the whodunnit of sorts that the first Friday the 13th was, so we're not sure that once Tommy settles in at the retreat and the murders start afresh, whether they are really the work of Jason or whether someone else is responsible. The answer to that question has left many fans disappointed, as if this were a poor facsimile of a Jason movie, but this actually renders the film more of a traditional slasher in that it incorporates an element of mystery into proceedings.

But don't be fooled, this is not a good film in spite of its efforts to be something genuinely new in the series. A lot of the problem is that the script, by Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen and director Danny Steinmann (this was to be his last film in a short career), goes out of its way to design the characters to drive you up the wall, so they are a boorish, unsympathetic lot and to say they're broadly played would be an understatement. There are even a comedy relief redneck couple who make unwelcome appearances to supposedly lighten the mood.

You might have thought Tommy should be the most likeable character, he is a troubled soul after all, but the script has him speak as little as possible, so with his collection of horror masks he is meant to be our chief suspect to the man who keeps dressing up in the hockey mask and bumping off people in pretty much exactly the same ways that occurs in the last films: even someone getting stabbed through a bed again. This leaves the true hero to be a little kid, as in The Final Chapter (which patently wasn't): Reggie (Shavar Ross), and our final girl isn't even one of the teens at the retreat. There are about five endings to this, as if they couldn't make up their minds which they liked best, but they become more redundant the longer this goes on. Yes, they tried something different, but it was really more of the same. Music by Harry Manfredi.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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