Damien the Antichrist, now age 13, finally learns of his destiny under the guidance of an unholy disciple of Satan. Meanwhile dark mystical forces begin to eliminate all those who suspect the child's true identity.
The graduating class of the local high school is going on a luxury cruise with Jason Voorhees as a stowaway. The heroine Rennie Wickham believes she was almost drowned by Jason as a child. Jason eventually sinks the boat and kills many of the students on it, but many of them escape to Manhattan. A long battle with Jason ensues until Jason is washed away in the New York sewers by a midnight flooding of toxic waste. Written by
Jason Ihle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to an interview in Fangoria Magazine (August 1989), Kane Hodder vomited on cue in the final scene after drinking several pitchers of water. This was not a special effect. See more »
Sewer tunnel entrances in Manhattan are barricaded. See more »
It's like this... We live in claustrophobia, the land of steel & concrete. Trapped by dark waters. There is no escape. Nor do we want it. We've come to thrive on it and each other. You can't get the adrenaline pumpin' without the terror, good people... I love this town.
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What's up with all these high schools in the movies having these insane senior trips? The kids in Final Destination flew to Europe, and these kids go on a freaking cruise? I went to Magic Mountain for my senior trip! Oh, well, I guess the payback is that in the movies they all get killed. Magic Mountain sounds a lot better in that sense. By this point in the lengthy Friday the 13th saga, it's clear that even the writers of these movies (generally the last people to catch on when they come up with idiotic ideas) have noticed that a lot of teenagers going up to Camp Crystal Lake to be rebellious and get slashed all up is getting a little bit old, so in this installment they decided it would be a good idea to have the movie take place on a whole ship full of high school students.
Moving someone like Jason Voorhees from his home on Camp Crystal Lake to an unfamiliar setting is actually a really good idea for generating more interest in the series, because although it's a given in a series like this, I think audiences always like to see familiar characters come back from other stories. So while you already know Jason is going to be in the movie because it's a Friday the 13th, you at least see him in an unfamiliar atmosphere, which removes a lot of the automatic cynicism that is now being generated toward the teenagers who are still stupid enough to go out to the lake. Now we see Jason killing all kinds of kids unsuspectingly on their school trip and then more people on the streets of New York. Amazing the things we find entertaining these days, isn't it?
There are a lot of fairly innovative deaths aboard the ship in the first half of the film, such as a guy relaxing in the sauna getting one of the hot rocks shoved through his stomach, a guy getting impaled on the communication antenna on the boat, and throat slit by a machete, an amazingly botched scene. You would think that since it was so obvious the knife didn't even touch that poor guy, they would at least not have done it in such a close-up.
Ironically enough, the part that I was anticipating to be the most interesting was the least creatively done. After realizing what is going on on the boat (meaning, after just about all of them had been killed), the surviving students on board get the life raft and escape, rowing out into the dark ocean in hopes of hitting land. Eventually, they see the New York City skyline and jump for joy. I was anticipating a creative and fun romp through the streets of New York, maybe with Jason confused at his surroundings and therefore going even more nuts, which would create havoc among the population. I mean, LOOK at the guy. He spent the time between the last movie and this one rotting on the bottom of the lake, and he certainly looks like it through this entire movie.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers not only revealed the modesty of their budget through the lack of anything really interesting happening, they also displayed a massive lack of understanding of the geography of the city of New York. I've never even been there myself, but it seems like pretty much basic logic that they would not design the city so that the dirtiest slums had the finest waterfront property. Meaning, I doubt you could row up to New York from the ocean, right alongside the Statue of Liberty, and climb up onto land, finding yourself surrounded by endless alleyways full of things like gun-toting rapists and standing barrels of toxic waste. New York is a big city, and all cities throughout the world pretty much have to have things like this somewhere, but generally not right on the water and right next to major monuments. I happen to know, for example, that if you go to San Francisco, you won't find the crime-ridden slums right under the Golden Gate Bridge, and I doubt that you would find open barrels of toxic waste ANYWHERE.
But anyway, they certainly find some room for effective comic relief (although notably less than other films in the series), my favorite example of which is the scene where Jason looks curiously at a picture of a hockey player on a billboard wearing exactly the same mask that he has on, a sort of self-realization that has since been overshadowed by the T-1000 pausing to look at a metallic mannequin in Terminator 2. I love that stuff, it gives even the most two-dimensional bad guys a sort of self-consciousness, so that they're not just mindless killing machines but have some semblance of actual thought in their heads, seeing and analyzing their surroundings and pausing when they see something that they don't understand. Makes the inhuman killers more human, you know?
Speaking of which, there was also a scene that was really funny for much the same reason, and feel free to make fun of me for seeing it this way. There's a scene pretty near the end of the film where Jason is pursuing the few remaining kids through the streets of Manhattan, and he passes by some street punks hanging out and smoking on the sidewalk and listening to some ridiculous 80s music ('Livin' inna city ain't no big deal, livin' inna city ain't no big deal. If the drugs don't getcha then the hooka's will .' And so forth ), and as Jason walks by, he kicks their boom-box across the sidewalk. Being tough gutterpunks, of course, they stand up and pull out their switchblades, informing Jason that he just dug his own grave. Jason's response is to turn and face them and lift up his mask so they can see his face. I liked that scene, because like the one above, it shows a self-consciousness. Jason KNOWS that he looks terrifying. He always has, and rotting on the bottom of the lake made it even worse. It also shows that he can deal with people in a way other than cutting them all up and still have it be pretty satisfying to the audience.
The climax of the film is bogged down pretty badly by some heavily botched logic and another massive lack of understanding of the underbelly operations of a major city. First of all, none of the passersby up on the streets take a second look at this gigantic, wet, rotting man walking down the street with a hockey mask. I know New Yorkers can be cold and indifferent, but even THEY would not take something like THAT as normal. But even worse, as the kids escape into the underground sewage system (which does not run through wide walkways beneath the sidewalks in ANY city that doesn't want to smell like it's own waste), they run into a sewage worker who informs them that the sewers (in which they are currently standing) fill with toxic waste every night at midnight ('Exactly ten minutes from now!'), and is then killed by Jason before being able to show them how to get out.
I won't get into the fact that there is no imaginable reason for any underground pipe system to fill with toxic waste every night at a certain time other than to create false suspense for a movie like this, although that is most of the reason that this climax falls so completely flat. We do get something for the kids to run away from and a time-limit for them to get out of the sewer, and we do get a glimpse of Jason's hideous face as he melts into the waste, but it is a completely contrived setting that has no basis in reality, which is the one thing that always makes horror films (or films of almost any genre, for that matter) more effective. Friday the 13th VIII, obviously, is not very concerned with that, which makes it one of the less interesting installments in the saga, although at least it takes place in a different setting so we have a reason to slap our foreheads other than because there is yet ANOTHER group of morons going up to Camp Crystal Lake to taunt the legend of Jason Voorhees.
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