Starting off with that tweet sort of ruins any suspense I may have built regarding my opinion of Friday the 13th Part III (1982). That’s kind of apt really, because the film itself utterly fails to build any suspense as well.
After a really enjoyable second entry, I was excited to check this out, especially given I was under the impression this was a straight sequel to that film. I was mistaken though, because even though it unnecessarily rehashes the final five minutes of the previous film, this is not a direct sequel. I have no issue with a film franchise having films that are more or less individual. But for some reason, this series seems to revel in the fact that there is no continuity, which is a major downfall of this film. The plot is the same as the first two films. Teenagers go hang out by a lake. Teenagers get brutally murdered. The plot is so the same, they have even rehashed characters they killed off earlier in the series – there is another crazy old dude who warns the kids not to go up to the lake. The script is worse than just tired. It is numbingly terrible. None of the skill that is required to build a horror film is contained in it and as a result this is one of the cheapest and most obvious horror flicks I recall enduring. A large swathe of it just regresses into a lot of doors opening mysteriously and the film trying to trick you into thinking Jason is around, but ta-da, yet again it is just some random dude. If the script exhibited any suggestion of being able to build some narrative or conflict, the film would have had some sort of chance.
The starkest deficiency between this series and the Elm Street series of films I have just finished reviewing is that these are utterly incapable of building a character that you care about in the slightest. This lack of character building crucially extends to the creation of the all important ‘final girls’, who all kinda suck. The writing is all kinds of bad and the execution of the script is, if anything, worse. The title tune is uber-80s tripe that would have been better suited to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It sounds like a minor quibble, but the title track for a horror film needs to set the creepyarse tone, Halloween (1978) style, not totally detract from it. The acting is uniformly terrible, even by 80s slasher standards. I am writing this half an hour after I finished the film and I can’t remember one redeemable facet of any of the performances. However, there is still one more aspect of this film to talk about that possibly takes the cake as being worse than all the aforementioned rubbish – the fact that the film was shot for 3D and there are endless, utterly boring shots designed to take advantage of this gimmick. Obviously you could understand the odd axe or knife coming out of the screen. But the characters just keep holding random, moderately pointy household objects up to the screen. You can just see the shocked 1982 audiences right now ‘OH MY GOD THAT YO-YO IS COMING DIRECTLY FOR US’. Obviously the filmmakers were not to know how crappy these shots would look 30 years later. But I can’t let that distract from the fact that these shots not only do look exceptionally crappy, they are also repeated ad nauseam. I feel confident in asserting that not one of them would have looked halfway decent in 3D either.
Friday the 13th Part III is such a mess. I can think of possibly two positive things to say on this – some early sequences have such reasonable old school tension to them and the first scene where Jason rocks his famous hockey mask is almost awesome (but it’s not, so guess that’s not really a positive). The rest of the film is so poorly written and executed that I can’t imagine there being anything here to keep anyone interested.
Verdict: Schooner of Tooheys New
Updated franchise ranking below (no surprises where this one comes in):