Review by Jenny Jediny
Posted on 30 October 2006
Source Paramount DVD
Features: 31 Days of Horror
Poor Tommy Jarvis just can’t help himself; heading to Eternal Peace cemetery with his drunken pal, teenage Tommy is only trying to reassure himself that Jason is truly dead and buried by returning to the grave and digging him up again. The boy has not only concocted a brilliantly preposterous plan, but also manages to stage it during a thunderstorm that inadvertently has a hand in reanimating Jason Voorhees. The sixth installment in the Friday the 13th series, Jason Lives brings Jason back to life via a makeshift and unintentional lighting rod and then follows Tommy as he desperately tries to convince the police that Jason has come back from the dead, that he’s aiming to kill, and that he’s headed back to his favorite campground, recently renamed as Camp Forest Lake (all the while protesting that he’s not crazy!).
Amusingly, the film is in on the joke, and much of Jason Lives seems to be poking fun not only at itself but the series as a whole with goofy humor and visual imagery aplenty. A camp counselor couple approaching Camp Forest Lake finds Jason blocking their path and discuss their options in a Scream-like manner (“I’ve seen enough horror movies to know any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly”) before falling prey to Jason’s machete. There’s also the sloshed caretaker at the cemetery blathering about the supposed grave robbery, musing on the things that pass as “entertainment” nowadays. This is the kind of tongue in cheek humor that moves the film quickly along, as do the quick and somewhat cookie-cutter murders committed as Jason approaches the camp by moonlight.
Of course Jason’s revitalization has coincided not only with the return of counselors to Camp Forest Lake, but also a bevy of little children, all tucked in and fast asleep as Jason proceeds to nail the counselors one by one. As Tommy and his comely admirer Megan race to save the camp, Jason wreaks gory havoc; counselors have their heads twisted off and cabins are awash in blood by the time Tommy arrives and lures Jason out to the lake with the notion of chaining Jason to a large block of cement, creating a watery grave for the undead fiend. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives effectively distinguishes itself with cheeky humor that enlivens the fairly routine murders that occur in rapid frequency (occasionally it feels as though we are in a victim obstacle course, particularly when not only camp counselors are prey, but a random group of camouflaged paintballers in the woods). However in the infamous tradition of the series, we can never be sure if it’s really over, as we glimpse Jason’s still roving eye underwater in the film’s final scene.