Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Rob Hedden, 1989, USA)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is a much-maligned entry into the Jason franchise but is it deservingly so? Rob Hedden's entry into the franchise seems to divide both critics and audiences, with some praising the films, and others considering one of the weakest films in the franchise. This is probably mostly due to the film not living up to its subtitle - "Jason Takes Manhattan." Despite an intro that sets the stage for Jason to be making his way through Manhattan, it takes more than an hour for the film to begin its Manhattan action. This was due largely to budgetary constraints - Hedden had written scenes with Jason on the Brooklyn Bridge, at the Empire State Building, and so on. Instead, we are treated to two days of footage featuring Jason in Times Square. The rest of the NYC sequences were shot in Vancouver.

What's good about Jason Takes Manhattan? The film gives a fresh take on the franchise by moving the setting from the tired summer camp to a boat of teenagers on a trip to New York. The film also adds the interesting element of having the victims realize that they are being picked off by Jason, and having them decide to fight back. The last third of the film - the part that takes place in Manhattan - is genuinely entertaining and among the best segments in the entire franchise. Unfortunately, the second act drags a bit, as we begin to wonder when - if ever - we will finally make it to Manhattan. The MPAA also interfered quite a lot with censorship in the film again, leaving something to be desired. Still, the film has standout moments - notably a quite surreal and nightmarish scene at the boat's discotheque. Worth checking out.



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