In Defense of: ‘Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning’


It’s been a pretty Jason-heavy week. The video game has reached its Kickstarter goal, ensuring its release for October of 2016. Couple that with today being an actual Friday the 13th and you’ll see why Jason Voorhees has been getting a lot of attention lately. So, with the Crystal Lake slasher being the man of the hour, and having came to the defense of the 1989 Friday the 13th NES game just last week, I thought I’d take a look at another underrated part of the lore of the franchise: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

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Released in 1985, the fifth Friday film was the first entry after A Final Chapter, and the story picks up several years later. Tommy Jarvis, the young boy who managed to kill Jason at the end of the previous film, is now an adult in a Pennsylvania halfway house. When one of the residents kills another over an incident with a chocolate bar, one of the paramedics who arrives on the scene— Roy Burns— seems particularly distraught. The next day, Jason Voorhees, wearing the hockey mask and everything, seems to have returned and proceeds to butcher nearly everybody in and around the halfway house. The ending reveals that— SPOILER ALERT— the killer wasn’t Jason at all, but grieving paramedic Roy Burns avenging the death of his chocolate-loving son.

Most of the criticism surrounding this movie is the fact that Jason Voorhees isn’t technically the villain; fans considered it a bait-and-switch. The reason for that is because this film was originally intended to be the start of a new trilogy of Friday the 13th films, each featuring a different killer. That plan was scrapped after the negative reception A New Beginning endured upon its release, and Jason was wisely brought back for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Maybe not everyone cared for the ending, but at least they took a chance by going for something different. All of the endings from the other sequels are pretty much the same (the 1st film had an awesome twist).

While it was better for the series for Jason to return as the primary antagonist, you can’t discount Roy Burns. We still got to see a man slaughtering a bunch of people while wearing a hockey mask, so it felt enough like Jason. It’s not like Roy was killing people in his white EMT outfit. And I kind of like the idea of this guy going on a killing spree and adopting the Jason persona to use as a cover, simply because a Crystal Lake survivor was present at his son’s murder site. It’s a rather macabre tale.

Despite Jason Voorhees remaining in the backseat, A New Beginning still feels like a classic Friday the 13th film. I can remember watching the TV-edited version of this movie as a kid and getting really freaked out by it. Roy’s reveal in the ending was, for some reason, very disturbing and it stuck with me for some time. I think it’s because it’s the only time the series has really taken a psychological horror approach, usually sticking to the tried-and-true slasher formula.

Give A New Beginning a break. It’s a decent sequel that’s far better than some of the other entries in that franchise. The body count is high and many of the deaths are unintentionally humorous, as is the case with every Friday the 13th film. Jason or no Jason, it deserves its spot in Friday the 13th lore.

Next: In Defense of the 'Friday the 13th' 1989 NES Game