Film Review - Friday The 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan

Starring - Jensen Daggett, Scott Reeves, Kane Hodder, Alex Diakun | Directed by Rob Hedden | Paramount DVD WS R 100min 1989

Review By Xmortis

A couple is on Crystal Lake, and by a stroke of bad luck they free the un-masked killer Jason from his watery tomb. Jason comes aboard, kills the teens and gets a new hockey mask that is on board. The next day the graduating class is set for a cruise to New York City. On the ship is Rennie Wickham, a smart talented girl who's afraid of water. Her goal in life is to be a writer. Also on board Charles a mean cruel man who is the principal, teacher Colleen Van Deusen who is kind and loving, Shawn the captain's son who loves Rennie, Tamara a snobby girl who gets what she wants, J.J a rock chick, Wayne the video nerd, Eva the art girl and Julius the boxing jock. But the ship also has a stowaway in Jason Voorhees. J.J is the first to die when Jason beats her to death with her own guitar in the ships bowels. Rennie meanwhile is having weird visions of her fear of water that some how connects to a young Jason in Crystal Lake. Things on the ship are going well for students, but Jason is on the prowl and is killing them off one by one when they are alone. Tamara is next to bite the big one when Jason makes her pay with a piece of mirror shard. As a huge thunderstorm roles in Jason kills the captain and his first mate leaving the boat out of control. When the bodies are found, it's Jason vs. the school on a death cruise. Eva is next to die as Jason chokes her life out of her. Wayne follows when he goes up in flames. Jason is not done as he throws one student to his death and goes for Julius who he throws over board. Rennie is next on his list, but she is able to escape his grip and runs into Shawn's waiting arms. The boat is sinking as Rennie, Shawn, Charles and Miss Deusen get on the lifeboat and leave Jason on the sinking ship, but a surprise is coming as Julius also gets aboard the raft. They float for awhile and find the Big Apple, but so has Jason and he still wants these teens dead. Things are not perfect when they get to land as they are mugged and once again find themselves being hunted down for the slaughter. Julius is next and loses his head in a boxing fight with Jason as a car crash kills Deusen. After the accident Rennie has a flash back as to why she is afraid of water. When she was young Charles pushed her into the lake and she almost drowned. Jason then comes and kills Charles in a barrel of sewage water. Rennie and Shawn run through the city as Jason plays cat and mouse with them. In the end they wind up in the sewers where Rennie throws a bucket of toxic waste (or green Kool-Aid) in Jason's face who screams a weird Godzilla-like sound. When the sewers flood with toxic water he is transformed into a little boy again. It ends with Rennie and Shawn getting out of the sewer and back onto the streets of New York.

While this is the last film from the Paramount years of the Friday The 13th films, it is by no means the worst like so many would have you believe. However the ending with the toxic waste on Jason, who then turns into a boy is just plan stupid and weird. Plus, you can tell this chapter in the series is heavily cut, which makes this one tame in the blood department. I will say I like the setting of the ship because it makes you feel no hope for the victims as a thunderstorm outside tears at the ship and Jason is inside. Jason's look in the film is a little lame with more of a slimy look then a dead man's look. While I guess that kind of makes sense if he was under the water for a long time and pond scum was attached to him, but still not a very cool look. The acting is what you would come to expect from a Friday film with over acting and some just plain bad acting, but for this film it really fits. The script is a little dumb and has lots of WTF moments like why is the ghost of Jason as a boy tormenting Rennie, why does he turn into the boy after the toxic waste and why the hell does the toxic waste look like lime-flavored Kool-Aid? That said, this is a fun dumb ride that you will want to leave your brain at the door but pop some corn and have a fun ride with.

The DVD has some great extras that make it a must have for Friday fans: commentary with the cast, deleted scenes, making of feature and a gag reel. The cover is okay but it would have been nice to get the original posters as the cover.

Jason Takes Manhattan is far from a perfect film, but it is better than the 2009 remake of Friday The 13th. I say that it's worth a watch for sure and a buy for all you collectors out there.

On a side note, this film has been put out also on a barebones DVD and in a box set, both by Paramount. But this is the best version to get for your horror collection.