JASON X (REVIEW)
Dir. James Isaac
Reviewer. Joey Keogh
Cronenberg, space and one of the best deaths in slasher cinema, JASON X is without doubt the stupidest gamble in franchise history but over 20 years after it's release, remains one of the series highlights.
In the words of Benoit Blanc; "It's just dumb" - Ed
The FRIDAY THE 13TH series has made a legend out of a character who didn’t even appear as the villain in its first instalment, and who lacks the charisma of Freddy Krueger, or the scare appeal of Michael Myers. And yet, through some miracle, Jason Voorhees has become the go-to serial killer for a multitude of moviegoers, influencing the look of pretty much every slasher movie villain that followed.
After causing trouble in Hell and New York, along with his old stomping ground Crystal Lake, not to mention somehow managing to beat the superior Krueger later on in 2003’s decent FREDDY VS JASON, JASON X sets the action in the not-too-distant future, on a space station, where the supposedly dead Voorhees has been stowed, for future analysis, by a group of braindead morons, masquerading as scientists.
We know it’s the future because everybody is dressed in Cyberdog clothing, and Final Girl Rowan accidentally froze herself almost five hundred years ago. Despite the fact that, immediately upon waking, she warns everyone aboard the ship that Jason is evil, and in her vast experience, he is definitely not dead, they ignore her pleas and instead focus on helping her rehabilitate back into the world, almost five centuries after she last lived in it.
It’s a ridiculous premise that should allow for more space madness than it does, but at this stage in the game, we know what to expect from an outing with Jason Voorhees, and JASON X delivers it in spades. Loaded with stupid dialogue, inventive gore and a hilarious nod to the previous instalments, it’s impossible not to enjoy the film for what it is – a dumb, gory slasher with little to say but lots to show.
As a villain, Jason is still one-dimensional to the extreme. It could, quite literally, be anyone playing him underneath that worn-out hockey mask, but the knowledge that the legendary Kane Hodder (who was noticeably absent from the dreadful 2009 reboot) has taken the reigns once again is a nice nod to hardcore fans of the series. Though it seems crazy, Hodder is really the only man for the job, and Jason feels more like Jason when he’s underneath the mask.
Voorhees doesn’t inspire quite as much fear as Michael Myers, nor does he enjoy a spectacular identity reveal like Ghostface, but he does the job and, when a key character claims that Jason is acting up because he “just wants his machete back”, as if that’s a positive development, we at least get to see what kind of damage he can do when underestimated.
JASON X is by no means a remarkable, or even memorable, slasher, but, much like Jason himself, it does what is expected of it, without messing about too much. The action gets going quite quickly, there is a suitable amount of carnage, and the deaths are inventive enough to keep us awake long enough.