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Jason X   B-

New Line Cinema

Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jim Isaac
Writer: Todd Farmer
Cast: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Peter Mensah, Jonathan Potts, Melyssa Ade, Melody Johnson, Derwin Jordan, Kane Hodder.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Jason X is the kind of mindlessly fun action-horror romp that Resident Evil could have been if it hadn't taken itself so seriously. This 10th entry in the Friday the 13th series is well aware of all the tired slasher conventions, and it employs them with a self-deprecating sense of humor that's refreshing. But the humor won't win over everyone. Geoff Pevere of the Toronto Star writes: "Does winky ironic self-consciousness of one's own crappiness... make the object in question any less crappy? If a turd winks, does that make it any less a turd?" In this case, I'd say yes.

The movie takes place in the year 2455. A professor and his students on their way back to Earth II make a stop at the Camp Crystal Lake Research Facility on Old Earth (now a wasteland) and discover two cryogenically frozen bodies. One is hockey-masked Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), the murderous bastard who can't seem to be destroyed even by a trip to hell. The other is Rowan (Lexa Doig), a foxy scientist who knows Jason's machete-wielding history. The professor decides to take the bodies with them. They thaw out Rowan, who nails the title of the all-time hottest chick over 455 years old. Jason, however, seems as dead as ever. What causes him to wake up from his 455-year sleep? The sense that two teenagers are having sex down the hall.

While I initially scoffed at the idea of Jason running amok on a spaceship, the film quickly won me over with its slightly self-mocking tone. It doesn't take itself too seriously, nor does it ever stoop to outright self-parody, instead opting for a tone that implies screenwriter Todd Farmer and director Jim Isaac have their tongues planted firmly in cheek, but don't think they're better than the material. It's clear they're F13 fans just out to deliver a fun time with a few laughs and maybe some scares, too.

In fact, there is one scare that literally made me jump. That moment is followed by the most visually creative kill in the movie -- which shows a pretty young woman's face being frozen in liquid nitrogen, then smashed against a counter and shattering into bloody shards. While a few of the murders are a bit mundane, there's enough neck-snapping, throat-slicing, impaling, and decapitating to keep most Jason fans happy. Fans of Friday the 13th Part VII's sleeping bag death will probably be delighted with the hilarious surprise near the end. There's a decent amount of gore, but it's not as gruesome as the previous entry, 1993's Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Incidentally, it's not as quite as much fun, nor nearly as good as its immediate predecessor, but I digress.

The characters here are little more than fodder for Jason. As a cute android with detachable nipples, Lisa Ryder is fun and likable, while Peter Mensah as the badass Sergeant Brodski is easy to root for. Lexa Doig as Rowan isn't given much to do but look pretty, though she does have at least one good line. When someone asks what the hell is going on, she replies: "Jason fucking Voorhees, that's what!" And everyone's favorite Jason, Kane Hodder, is back behind the mask for the fourth time. I'm sure he'll be receiving his honorary Oscar sometime soon.

If one thing's certain, the success or failure of Jason X will help determine New Line's decision on whether to greenlight the long-rumored Freddy vs. Jason project. Boy, my head is just spinning with thoughts of all that can go wrong with that one. Can it possibly avoid sucking? Well, if it turns out to be a turd, let's just hope it knows how to wink.

Review published 04.27.2002.

Follow Michael Scrutchin on Twitter or Letterboxd.

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