Jason X (2001)

For those of you not down with Jason Voorhees but up on your Roman numerals, yes, Jason X is the tenth film in the series. Why am I starting at the tenth film? Well read on, and find out….

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Not all movies are created equal. This is a generally understood and accepted fact of life.

When movies aren’t good, they tend to fall into two categories: 1) So bad, they are, in fact, pretty good or 2) They make you resent the time you spent watching them, which now feels like it has been stolen from you. Literally, your soul hurts because you feel that cheated.

Jason X falls into the second category.

So, why am I discussing it at all, let alone on a sci-fi website?

Well, for two reasons. The first is that, because it is set in space and involves time travel and the freezing and revivification of characters it is technically a sci-fi horror. The other reason, I’m doing my duty as a decent human being to try and prevent anyone else from falling prey to this horrendous piece of rubbish.

See, I’ve been watching  Friday the 13th since I can remember. I’ve probably seen the first half dozen at least 5 times, admittedly the later ones are harder to sit through. After Jason Goes to Hell I pretty much gave up on the franchise. That also, was a bloody awful film… You think I would have learnt my lesson after VIII: Jason takes Manhattan, but no!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Jason is a deformed, deranged serial killer, who has been cutting people up with a dirty big machete since the sequel to Friday the 13th, way back in 1981. I’m not entirely sure how, but Jason is immortal, he’s also about 7 foot tall and has a real issue with people having sexy times anywhere in his general vicinity (this final character trait stems from the fact that his summer camp counsellors where too busy getting it on when they should have been watching him, which lead to his death, so fair go on that point, I suppose). Anyway, up until Jason X, the franchise pretty much followed Jason around Camp Crystal Lake and surrounds, as he merrily went about cutting up pert all-American teens. There was a general over-arching mythology to the series and a good time was had by all. Friday the 13th VIII and IX were both pretty bad, but still, you could almost get past it… I mean, it’s not like Nightmare on Elm Street was doing much better at the same point in its competing franchise.

Then Jason X happened.

In Jason X, Jason is frozen in a cryogenic chamber, after going on a brief and pointless rampage at a mysterious research facility, where he is being kept alive for the purpose of scientific study. For some reason the military get involved in trying to move him, Jason breaks loose, finds his trusty machete and subsequently kills everyone except the lead doctor, who ends up being stabbed and accidentally frozen alongside Jason (not in a chamber, just on the floor next to his chamber).

Flash forward 400 years. Earth seems to have devolved into something akin to Mars, and a team of research scientists stumble on the facility in which Jason and his lady doctor friend are frozen (which has miraculously survived despite the rest of the earth being in ruin). The pair are taken back onto a space ship and the lady doctor is revived, but not in time to warn the crew that Jason Voorhees, despite being dead, is actually immortal, so will be waking up from his frosty coma soon.

You can fill in the rest.

My biggest issue with the film is actually not the terrible acting, the cheap set design, or the completely ridiculous premise, it’s the mindless killing. Really, Jason puts the machete through so many people that you not only lose count, you lose interest because you don’t even know who most of them are. There are so many token stereotypes running around with their juggs out or saying ‘whoa’ that you almost end up hoping that Jason prevails. Surely the future would be a better place without so many nitwits.

And bam! Right there is where the fight is lost.

See, the best horror films are the ones in which you’re actually rooting for the characters. You invest in them early on and thus, are terrified and horrified right along side them. Even when you bond with a character that you know, deep down, won’t be making it to the final scene, you can’t help but hope that the tried and true horror movie formula will surprise you… this will not happen in Jason X.

I love horror films, so when shit heaps like this come along, I get a bit offended. To my mind, the original Friday the 13th really holds its own amongst the horror genre and I’d encourage any young horror fans who haven’t seen it to give it a watch (if only for Kevin Bacon – LOL). Adding insult to injury is the fact that this film not only trashes the horror genre, it tarnishes sci-fi as well. Apart from the film makers ignoring even the basic fundamentals of cryogenics, why did they have to dress all of the ‘future’ characters in ripped knit wear and cargo pants? Can no one make clothing in the future? For a spaceship full of (apparently) brilliant scientists, why are there so many young kids having sex and carrying on as if they were in the sci-fi version of a National Lampoons film? I don’t know. There are just so many things that don’t make sense that thinking about them all makes me angry all over again. Okay, I’ll take a deep breath and let this one go…

Please, just promise me you’ll never see Jason X.

**Now that we have this horrid piece of rubbish out of the way, we’re free to move onto the other instalments in the franchise (in the fullness of time) and to discuss these with some sanity. 

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