It’s not that often that franchises reach seven installments, especially in the span of 8 years, but that’s exactly what the Friday the 13th franchise has done with The New Blood, entry number seven into a series about a man slicing people up with a knife because of various reasons. For me, the series turned a corner with the fifth film, as it and chapter six were actually relatively enjoyable. I was hoping that trend would continue, but, as I’m constantly reminded, hope is a dangerous thing which often lets you down.
The film takes one idea from its last two predecessors and gives us a central character upon whom we can focus. She comes in the form of Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln), who kills her father with telekinetic powers in the film’s opening scene. No, seriously. She’s played by a different actor (Jennifer Banko), but after she and her father have a fight, she uses previously dormant psychic powers to collapse the dock he’s standing on and send him into the depths of the lake they live right beside. And what a coincidence that this lake is Crystal Lake, the one Jason, the franchise serial killer, was left at the bottom of at the end of the last film.
Some years later, and Tina has been in a mental hospital for a while. She gets to return to her house at the lake under the supervision of her doctor and mother. After another fight, she goes down to the lake an inadvertently uses her powers to break Jason free of the chains and big rock that kept him underneath the water all this time. Now, he’s wandering around the forest, waiting to kill anyone he encounters.
And that doesn’t just include Ms. Psychic and the two adults. As we’ve learned in earlier movies — primarily the fourth, I think — there are other houses near the lake, and if the primary one is home to a family, the second one has to have partying teenagers. That’s the case here, as a bunch of teens show up to celebrate a birthday. Most of them wind up dead. Spoiler alert for a movie franchise in which the majority of characters to ever appear in the earlier six installments have died.
Apart from the inherent silliness of the girl having telekinetic powers — and this is a series which had its antagonist revived via lightning — The New Blood is as serious as they come. The last two films had a tongue-in-cheek approach to their subject matter, which was beneficial because it poked fun at a concept I’d grown tired of after the first couple of movies. This one takes it back to the straight, narrow, and not at all funny. I missed laughing with the film; I wound up just laughing at this one.
We go back to the franchise roots by having terrible acting and dialogue, for one. All of the characters blend together in a mosh of clichéd lines, paper-thin personalities, and romance which can only be called that by virtue that some of them have sex. Even the telekinetic girl, Tina, fits right in. Save for the fact that when she gets emotional, she can make things fly with her mind, she’s as dull as they come. The power only actually matters in the final few moments anyway.
The deaths are all routine, too. Jason wanders around, he stabs people with a knife, and then he moves on to his next target. And he even had a chance right near the beginning to kill Tina, but decided against it. I thought perhaps he was thankful that she allowed him to go kill more people, but then the climax involves a chase around houses and the general area between Jason, who never runs, and Tina, who tries to further slow him down by hurling whatever object she encounters at him.
How can people find this fun? Watching Teenager #76 stabbed in the same was as #75, #74 and #73 can’t be that enjoyable, can it, especially if 80% of the teenagers preceding these four were also killed in the same way? I mean, I’m all for killing off characters with a serial killer if there’s a reason and/or ingenuity to the deaths. When there’s neither of those things, how enjoyable can it be? A highlight reel from this film could just be one stabbing and that would be it, because you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Friday the 13th: Part VII — The New Blood is a terrible movie and an entry into this franchise that was unnecessary. It’s a dull slasher movie in which the killer stabs people a whole bunch. Yawn. The telekinetic storyline was ridiculous and didn’t match the serious tone of the rest of the film, and it didn’t even help to define the central character, who blended in with the other nameless, faceless teenagers waiting to get a knife to the stomach.