Eye For Film >> Movies >> Friday The 13th: Part 3 (1982) Film Review
If Paramount's A-movie franchise was Star Trek, then their B-movie franchise would definitely be Friday The 13th. A total of eight were made and, with the exception of '83, there was a Friday The 13th for every year in the Eighties, with the TV series debuting in '87.
They were tacky, badly made and infrequently showed any professionalism, or dynamic filmmaking. But they sure had their moments and Part 3 is definitely the best of the first four, Part 5 being the joker in the pack and 6-8 the second instalment of the Jason Voorhees legacy.
Apparently, not getting enough of butchering teenagers with the first sequel, director Steve Miner returns for more unlucky day murders. While his first outing was almost the exact same as the original, only with a different killer, Part 3 reinvents the franchise and totally solidifies Jason as a horror movie icon.
Chris (Dana Kimmel) has had a difficult past few years and she decides to spend a long weekend at Higgins Haven with her friends. Too bad for them that Jason (Richard Brooker) is lurking in the woods. He and Chris have had a scuffle in the past and she's afraid to go out there alone.
Her friends are an unusual bunch. There are a couple of stoners, Shelly, a fat kid who just wants to be loved (Larry Zerner), a pregnant friend (Tracie Savage) and her hunky squeeze (Paul Kratka). These are not the typical goofball sex-mad teenagers of the early Eighties. For some reason, the writers have made them somewhat subdued and realistic. They seriously want a quiet weekend - no partying, no loud music. It helps that we like them, because in most other occasions we can't wait for them to get slaughtered.
And they aren't the only ones in trouble. A non-threatening biker gang plan to cause havoc at Higgins Haven, because Shelly knocked over their scooters, and end up regretting it. If anything, they make for some light comedy - intentional, or not.
Halfway through, Shelly pulls a joke on the girl he fancies. He leaps out of the water wearing a hockey mask and brandishing a harpoon. Five minutes later Jason gets his hands on them. And ever since, the image of the hockey mask has been the trademark of the series.
In every other sequel, Jason is a walking monolith. He'd kick Freddy's ass, show Michael Myers a thing or two about the art of teenage massacre and somehow be able to maintain his cool and make it all seems effortless. This is the only time you will see him for what he really is - a retarded hillbilly. He evens smiles! Twice!!
Miner would return later to the same location in Lake Placid. Here, he successfully portrays Crystal Lake as a tranquil, peaceful place and manages, in the final scenes, to infuse it with atmospheric excitement, all without the use of rain, or lightning.
It wouldn't be hard to make a sequel superior to the original Friday The 13th. Miner failed with Part 2, but excels in Part 3. It has a lighter tone and different feel from the others. In fact, it shouldn't be viewed as a horror film at all. It's an adventure movie, set in the woods, with one of the best villains ever.Reviewed on: 27 Sep 2002