After officially killing Jason Voorhees in FRIDAY PART IV and tricking us in PART V, JASON LIVES was meant to revitalize the franchise, which was originally wrapped up nicely with a bow. Young Tommy Jarvis finally took down the elusive Jason Voorhees and ended his rein of terror at Camp Crystal Lake, and now, years later, has returned to make sure the deed was really done. With an actual story in place, JASON LIVES is probably the second best in the franchise next to first.
In this sixth entry, Tommy Jarvis return to Jason’s grave to dig him up and cremate him, ensuring his demise. Only his anger takes over and he stabs the corpse with a giant pole, which is then struck by lightening. Jason returns to life a la FRANKENSTIN and is now more than a deformed madman stalking innocent victims for revenge, he’s an unstoppable ghoul (zombie) hell bent on killing anyone in his path.
The movie is not only the last truly gory one on the franchise, but the best directed and shot. Even though most of the film is shot during the daytime, it still has frightening moments. The gore is still pretty heavy – even though we get a few “aftermath” shots – and Jason looks cooler than ever. The special FX work is top notch, with a rotting Jason looking extremely believable.
In addition to the film being extremely climatic, the finale is beautifully directed, featuring stunning cinematography. Tommy sits in a boat waiting for Jason to come to him, the plan, drop a chain around his neck and let the boulder pull him to the bottom. When Jason looms closer, he eventually goes underwater creating a suspenseful moment that is historic to the franchise. When Jason doesn’t come out of the water, Tommy pours gasoline around the boat to lour him out, which crates the most astounding atmosphere for the final battle.
Truly one of the best (if not THE best) of the 11 movies, JASON LIVES is not to be missed. In an age where remakes are the only creative way of bringing a character back to the big screen, it really does help one appreciate the true genius behind Franken-Jason and his sixth return to the big screen. Too bad everything that follows is worthless.