I'll start off with the negative first and get that out of the way. The three things you can always count on in slasher flicks are body counts, blood, and boobs. And with Friday the 13th being a staple of the genre, and arguably the reason people expect those three things, it's kind of surprising that this film lacks two of them. Sure there's a body count, but you see very few of the actual deaths. I can think of maybe 3 kills you actually see in this movie--the rest being off-screen--and they're the most bloodless of the bunch. In fact, the only times you do see blood are after the fact. You might see a detached arm with a bloody stump or a slash of blood hit a window. In fact, the most blood you see is a cabin with the walls covered in it, but that's about 2 shots, each about 1 second long each, and you don't see how it came to be that way. So in the blood and violence department, I was rather let down. And then there's the sex and nudity... of which this movie has none. Well, there is one sex scene, but the two people are practically fully clothed and there's nothing special about it besides a 'too early' joke.
But that's all the negative I have. On the whole, the film actually has a decent story that's more than just "Jason comes to life and kills more nameless people." There's actually some investment here. Are there still idiotic moves? Yeah. But you can't take away all the charm! What really makes this movie fun is the first half of the movie (not saying the second half is bad--I'll get to that in a minute). You have Jason just being Jason. There's a group of businessmen (and a woman) just out playing paintball for no reason, and they're goofy and fun and totally random ("she should stay in the kitchen!"). There's the drunken graveyard groundskeeper who is just wacky. There's an elementary-age girl reading Jean-Paul Sartre for no reason (a bit of light reading, I'm sure). The woman who says "I've seen enough horror movies to know a weirdo in a mask is never friendly." A policeman with a new laser sight that's bigger than the freakin' gun... Among other ridiculous things. The second half of the movie isn't as random or wacky, but it's still fun. The final battle at the end is good and intense.
Overall, what makes this movie work is the writing (I know... shocking for a Friday the 13th flick, huh?). The movie knows what it is and runs with it. I wish it would have run with it a little more and actually been more in touch with the rest of the genre (blood and boobs), but for what it gives you, it's good enough. And there are some visuals and camera work which aren't too shabby. I definitely understand why it's considered one of the best of the sequels (despite not having seen the majority of them... at least in their entirety).
I Am McLovin!
(P.S. That'll about do it for Jason's Month! It sure was an interesting ride. Oh, and if you haven't seen it, at the very beginning of the month, Jason posted a predictions post on his blog about how he felt I would react to these movies, and I couldn't look at said predictions until after I saw the movie. I went a step further and didn't look at them until after I wrote the review (promise!). And I'll be honest... some of his predictions are so dead-on it's scary. That man knows me well. Anyway, now that that's done, I must prepare myself for next month. I'm transitioning from Jason... to Rachel... who has given me nothing but Shakespeare. I hope that by the end, I'm not biting my thumb at her.)