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Paramount Studios presents
Friday the 13th—Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

"Looks like we got ourselves a maniac on the loose, huh sheriff?"
- Police deputy

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 02, 2001

Stars: Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, John Shepherd
Other Stars: Corey Feldman, Tiffany Helm, Dick Wieand, Juliette Cummins
Director: Danny Steinmann

MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence and simulated sex
Run Time: 01h:31m:06s
Release Date: September 25, 2001
UPC: 097360182347
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D D-B-C- D

DVD Review

Young Tommy Jarvis (John Shephard) staggers through the woods and views the crude grave of Jason Vorheesˇthe psychotic killer who has terrorized Crystal Lake for countless years. To his stunned horror, two thrill-seeking teenagers have decided to dig up the body to see the famous maniac. In a twist obvious to any fan of horror films, Jason rises out of the grave and quickly dispatches the two hooligans. Tommy stands in paralyzed fear as the monstrosity approaches him, promising a gruesome death. At the final moment before his end, everything is okay. It was only a dream.

Friday the 13th Part V—A New Beginning ranks among the bottom echelon of horror films in terms of its simplicity and completely nonsensical plot. Following the apparent "death" of Jason Vorhees in the fourth chapter of the series, its creators promised that there would be no fifth film. Unfortunately, they decided to break that vow with this worthless collection of clich╚s and almost unbearable devices. Following his traumatic battle with Jason as a twelve-year-old, Tommy has become a young adult unable to cope with the world. This leads him to Pinehurstˇa minimum-security mental institution that supposedly is helping its members. Unfortunately, things have not gone very well lately for its caring founders. In a fit of rage, one of the patients chops another member to pieces in plain daylight. Their eccentric neighbors also complain constantly about trespassing from the carefree teenagers housed at the institution. But things really grow chaotic when an unknown killer begins slicing up everyone in a variety of gruesome methods. Has Jason Vorhees risen from the dead? Very few characters will live to answer that question.

The "plot" of this turkey requires little discussion because it's thin and uninteresting from the start. Although there's a large cast of murder victims, few characters remain on the screen long enough to deserve mention. The group contains the usual caricatures, including the wild young couple; a slow, fat boy; several dorky kids; and the inept police force. While one doesn't always view horror films for emotional complexity, this story even falls below the usual expectations set by the genre. Tommy is probably the central character, but his role lacks any punch and becomes annoying fairly quickly. The only ones with any personality are Pam (Melanie Kinnaman) and young Reggie (Shavar Ross). She works at the institute and does appear to care for the patients, and his youthful enthusiasm is far less annoying than Tommy's ridiculous behavior.

In terms of genre conventions, Part V does feature the usual amount of grisly killings, gratuitous nudity, and false scares. The gore factor is pretty high with this film, but most of the murders are dull and uninventive. The shock factor of the deaths wears off fairly quickly, and the ridiculous nature of much of the plot makes them less interesting. The suspense level remains so low and nonexistent that countless amounts of fake blood couldn't save this story. False scares are rampant here, with cats falling jumping into the frame several times when the killer may be lurking. While these devices work effectively when used sparingly in a well-directed film, they fail here and become more annoying than spine-chilling.

Following the release of the fifth installment in 1985, the Friday the 13th series continued with no apparent ending in sight. Four more entries have come out since then, and there appears to be a tenth film on the horizon. While Jason Vorhees has long outgrown his welcome, the subsequent chillers at least exist above this dull yawner. It contains virtually zero creativity and simply rehashes the mistakes of uninventive horror films of past years.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer on this disc works decently to present this horror film without any major glitches. Due to the low production values of this feature, however, there are few memorable moments of visual interest. Much of the story takes place at night, and the dark landscape does include some grain that limits the overall suspenseful effects. The daytime scenes are adequate, and they lack more than a few specks, but the colors aren't anything spectacular. Overall, this transfer succeeds for the most part, but it fails to overcome the cheap feeling of the production to make it above average.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: Friday the 13th Part V—A New Beginning relies heavily on a tense atmosphere filled with false scares and nasty surprises. This type of film requires an impressive audio transfer to succeed on the small screen. Unfortunately, this English mono track fails to provide the extra edge necessary to generate suspense. While it resonates clearly, there's no punch to this transfer, and it leads to an even duller experience. Considering the low quality of this movie, it's understandable that Paramount would avoid wasting too much time on the soundtrack. Sadly, it hampers the story and lessens the viewing experience.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The lone extra on this disc is the dull widescreen theatrical trailer. It does contain a decent picture that matches the visual quality level of the feature film.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

While I don't consider myself a large fan of the Friday the 13th film series, I have obtained at least a small amount of entertainment from the more creative entries. Unfortunately, Friday the 13th Part V—A New Beginning is easily the worst of the ones I've viewed. This tired story is recommended solely for completists who want to add all nine movies to their DVD collection.


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