With Part 4 representing a peak in the series' overall pop culture presence, but the producers not quite realizing it, they pushed another entry into production. Using left-over ideas from a early Part 3 script, they set the new movie in a half-way house with killer of Jason Tommy Jarvis as the main character. Presumably set some years into "the future", what with Tommy Jarvis now being played by an actor in his early 20's, Crystal Lake has now moved on from the Jason murders and is home to half-way house for, apparently, troubled teenagers. Besides Tommy Jarvis (who doesn't talk and has angry outbursts), there's a "slow" fat kid, a stutterer, a nymphomaniac couple, a goth, a sullen skinhead, and uhh, a rude redhead girl (other than doing some mean things, it's hard to figure out what she's doing here. To add to the festivities, there's also a redneck woman and her adult son, who are tired of the teenagers causing trouble, and also the child grandson of the place's cook (is this the best place to send your child out to for a "family" vacation?). The half-way house is run by a new-agey guy and a women who appears to be only about 8-10 years older than the "teenagers".
Tommy finds this place to be of little use in helping with his demons, as he frequently day-dreams about Jason and pops pills. Actor John Sheperd does a good job; too bad the same can't be said about most of the other actors. The acting is all over the place, with some actors being quite earnest (like the half-way house owner and Sheperd), and others being very wooden (like the Sherrif), or very campy (like the redneck family).
After the skinhead guy murders the fat kid, when the proprietors let skinhead guy handle an axe (!), another series of murders commences...But skinhead guy got hauled off by the cops, so who's doing the killing this time? Damaged Tommy? "Cremated" Jason? Another of the weirdos who inhabit Crystal Lake?
Folks, this one is a bumpy ride. The dark atmosphere of the first 4 films is gone, replaced by a more quirky and seedy vibe. Much of the time it doesn't even seem as if the movie is trying to be scary, with little effort made to generate suspense or establish the presence of danger (90% of the time, the killer appears out of nowhere and quickly murders victims). The production values are strange; the photography is generally quite good, but the costumes and locations are generally very cheap looking, stock b-grade Cormanesque stuff. Part 3, 4, and 5 were all filmed in California, but 3 and esp. 5 chose some very dubious locations that don't resemble the first two movies at all (and Part 5 has no lake at all!).
The identity of the killer is a groaner, and the attempt made at a "gotcha" ending is probably the 2nd worst in the series (nothing could we worse than the half-assed cliff hanger of part 2). Probably due to the sheer number of victims, and the sleazy vibe of the movie, the MPAA cut the movie to ribbons, with only Part 7 being more censored. Not that many of the special FX are that great, anyway. Drugs were evidently all over the set, with the director being quite "wired" himself. This one would open well but it quickly fell off, indicating that viewers were put off by the movie.
Overall rating: 5/10