Jason X (2001)
Welcome to the Future of Horror.
It's that time of the year when everything starts getting spooky, so what better way to usher in the month of October than with a movie that's more comedic than it is terrifying? That's right, prices aren't the only thing to be getting slashed - Jason Voorhees returns in what is (at the time of this writing) the final of the Jason movies (also known to this point as the Friday the 13th series). I tell you what, having finished my quest of watching all of these things at long last, I can totally admit that this is in fact the most amusing of the movies from an entertainment standpoint, but we'll let you continue on to figure out why.
As far as plot is concerned, it sets up enough shreds of a story to convince some folks that there is one, when it really all boils down to one thing: hockey-masked killer Jason does what he does best. We start off at a lab where we find out Jason (Kane Hodder) (having been found to be unkillable) is scheduled to be cryogenically frozen indefinitely – that is until another lab member decides to instead use him for study into “good for everyone” immortality research. Well, this never ends up happening, because they arrive to find the guard dead, and then within the next 10 minutes of the movie, Jason has managed to kill every single person before being turned into a meat popsicle by scientist Rowan (Lexa Doig), who suffers a stab to the gut as her reward before also being frozen by the now breached cryo-pod.
Hundreds of years later, a space crew scavenging for treasures on a now-destroyed earth find the two “specimens,” one of which (Rowan) the local android figures can be revived. Everyone rushes back to ground (then the ship), and part of the crew works on reviving Rowan (introducing us to these little “ants” that repair physical damage, such as severed arms) while a few other members of the crew start working on studying Jason. Not long before he ends up reviving himself (slasher killers are fueled by the moans of people being naughty after all) and the movie trails into it's normal one by one slasher flick principals. This isn't to necessarily say that the plot ceases to exist, but really, it ceases to exist outside of the sense of “oh my goodness its a crazy man that won't die coming at us with a space machete how will we survive?”
Course, you didn't tune into a movie like Jason X (or any of the Friday the 13th films outside of the first two) expecting some kind of plot – you tuned in for cheap thrills and gory kills, the old thrill kill combo. It might surprise you to some extent to know that these once upon a time had a bit of a date-night movie draw to them (think the beginning of Micheal Jackson's The Thriller), but by now the only real innovation is spent in drawing up new kills or the effects used. To be blunt, I'm a bit disappointed with the transition over to as many digital effects as they actually used, as they do break the immersion of the moment when it's noticeably not real (unlike most practical effects are). It is, however, a necessary evil for what they wanted to pull of with this flick, and for the most part it pays off pretty well (outside of those few really lame looking kill moments).
The entire thing looks very unlike many other horror movies, particularly slashers, being very brightly colored and generally un-creepy to be around (outside of the cluttered and dark storage area of the ship). The change of space also helped to keep things feeling claustrophobic while having the size of the ship help make it feel as though plenty of hiding spots exist. Violence tends to be brutal and swift, but to some extent I can't help but feel it isn't really quite as violent as it once was (this might be a side effect of some of the more brutal deaths carrying a bit of CG to them, making it feel overall less real during it's happening as opposed to the good practical effects that left some watchers asking if the actors were still alive). The amount of nudity is also toned down a bit in this one (although the “naughty” scenes are still around), or at least it seems that way with all the action going on.
Jokes are all over the place this time around, some being exceptionally bad puns (which I of course absolutely love). Some moments end up being funny on purpose, while occasionally a moment slips through that might have not been intentionally funny and yet is anyways. It might require some of the more “high-class” humor aficionados to lower their humor-levels a bit to enjoy it though, with such lines as “It's gonna take more than a poke in the ribs to put down this old dog” followed immediately by a second stabbing and a “Yeah, that oughta do it.” It becomes a situation where the movie itself becomes confusing – not the plot or the actors or anything of that sort, but the actual movie. You tune in thinking you gonna watch a slasher, but instead get a comedy with slasher elements all the while never taking itself to seriously. It does make it a bit different from the other slasher movies out there by doing so, and in turn makes it feel as though it is doing something different, but I'm not sure just how sold I am on the departure of it being serious (which if nothing else helped to try and make things more tense).
Really, if your a fan of slashers then you shouldn't have any real issues with the movie (outside of a few of the cheaper looking kills I'm sure), and if you are a fan of the series (more so than me no doubt) you might have a few mixed opinions about this entry. The name change to Jason as opposed to Friday helps distinguish before hand that it's not going to be like all the others, and it does leave it open for them to try and continue making more (although we haven't seen one in 12 years now unless you include the versus match with Freddy). Not something I would recommend to anyone, but heck, if it's already up your alley you should at least leave amused (particularly if you only rented it)