As the 6th film in the franchise, “Jason Lives” doesn’t beat around the bush as it understands what the audience expects and needs. The film wastes no time dropping us into an eerie environment of a cemetery deep into the night. Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis returns to the grave in order to put an end to Jason Voorhees’s havoc once and for all. Unfortunately, through Frankenstein-like circumstances, Jason is reanimated into an even deadlier supernatural being. It’s then up to Tommy to defeat his rival yet again; that is before the body count increases.
This installment marks the third appearance of Tommy, who has been established as the hero to the franchise thus far. While we don’t get a detailed narrative on the psychosis nor relationship accumulated from the past, there is an apparent amount of trauma that drives the two characters. Working as a bookend between the two, the film manages to bring the roughly executed plot together for a decent entry to the series. Like it’s predecessors, “Jason Lives” has its handful of characters that are literal throwaways to the body count. The actions of each individual character are formulaic with a few new factors incorporated. For one, the camp, now rebranded Forest Green, is open for business. Never before have we seen Jason come face to face with dozens of children; a quick but riveting scene when taking into mind the possibilities that arise from the situation.
Quite possibly the most compelling component to “Jason Lives” is the usage of comedy. The humor is kicked into high gear with goofy situations. There are times in fact that it becomes so meta that you can’t help but enjoy it. Perhaps it dips its toes into the pool of satire, but it never drowns in spoof territory. Punchlines are swapped with dark humor to those select few that float between the lines of horror and comedy. It’s a truly deserving layer that rejuvenates the franchise muddled with stale teen slasher tropes.
Along with its humor, the film fully embraces the ludicrousy of the franchise with making Jason a full-fledged zombie. Jason has become an unstoppable force; not even unloading a full clip of bullets can impair his pursuit. His visual presence has evolved as well. The decaying flesh of his head is more apparent than ever. Along with much broodier physique, he’s equipped with a tool belt that offers ever unique weapons; one being throwing knives. Sadly, much like part V, the kills in the film suffer due to the involvement of the MPAA. Jason uses unconventional objects and methods when chasing down his victims, but edits erase what the visual eye candy that could have been. Thankfully the score holds it together. The theme itself has been upgraded with heavier bass drums and more strings to give a multilayered piece that’s as intense as it is iconic.
The highs and lows of “Jason Lives” balance each other out. Keeping in mind what the filmmakers were striving for, the film manages to be one of the better installments in the franchise.