Review by Jenny Jediny
Posted on 30 October 2006
Source Warner Home Video DVD
Features: 31 Days of Horror
Jason X opens not in the woods of Camp Crystal Lake, nor at any cemetery or city even remotely resembling the locations used in the previous nine installments of the Friday the 13th series but instead in a cryogenic holding facility somewhere in Pennsylvania where Jason has been held by the government for his unexplainable superpowers in regeneration. Friday the 13th has gone hi-tech in this series installment, introducing our location with scrolling type text as often used in sci-fi series such as The X-Files , and as in that series, the government is corrupt , self-serving, and stupidly entering the facility to transport Jason for further testing, rather than putting him on ice. Despite protests from one of the female scientists, Rowan, Dr. Wimmer (a notable cameo from David Cronenberg) merely smiles and insists his team can handle Jason. Of course they can’t, and are immediately slaughtered, leaving Rowan to battle Jason; leading him to the cryogenic chamber she succeeds in freezing Jason, but not without suffering a machete wound through her stomach (which he manages to impale through the steel door of this obviously cheaply made chamber), putting them both in cryogenic hibernation. Flash forward about 400 years (2455AD to be exact) and a team from Earth II discovers both specimens and brings them aboard their spacecraft, where the true pandemonium begins.
Jason X is ridiculously bad. It sets up the question though, of how faithful fans are to a series such as Friday the 13th, that they will endure this special kind of dreadful filmmaking for a horror icon that has managed to survive two decades of sequels and bizarre reincarnations. Admittedly, Jason X is so bad, it almost becomes a pleasure to watch, because it not only looks cheap and goes for cheap thrills, but it goes entirely overboard in attaining them. Once aboard the spaceship, the crew, headed by a Professor and his devoted grad students, revive Rowan. Despite work that might seem serious to us, mere Earth bound mortals that we are, these futuristic students barely blink at the idea of bringing a 400 year old woman back to life—they want to party and participate in Jason’s favorite activity, promiscuous sex. All of the women onboard are outfitted in midriff tops and are blatantly flirtatious with not only the male students, but also their professor, whose idea of passing a midterm exam involves nipple clamps. There’s an entertaining cutaway sequence as two of the students proceed to engage in lovemaking, and their increasing cries of passion seem to revive Jason, whose assumed corpse body is under autopsy by a fellow student unaware of her cadaver’s sudden twitches. Jason inevitably wakes up and embarks on a killing spree, rubbing out nearly all of the ship’s security crew in less than ten minutes (but not before attacking the young couple whose orgasmic efforts woke him up in the first place), therefore leaving the remaining students to fend for themselves.
Expectedly, the situation goes from very bad to worse; the ship crashes into its docking station after Jason kills the pilot, and a futile escape effort via the ship’s escape pod is ruined by a panicked student who tries to escape a bit too quickly. However — and certainly one of the highlights of Jason X — these events lead to a showdown between Jason and K-M, the female android on board, whose creator has modified her into a kickboxing, gun slinging machine complete with black dominatrix gear. Jason is wiped out, his limbs and head blown off by K-M, and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief as they regroup to save the ship, leaving Jason’s remains alone. Yes, alone, and somehow Jason regenerates again, but this time into a Terminator-like steel encased monster whose lumbering gait is even slower than before (it seems as though Jason’s walk becomes even more arduous as he moves further away from a human corpse into a Frankenstein’s monster). Despite the expected surprise, the students’ attempts to fool Jason as they prepare to board a rescue ship result in an inspired CG visit back to Camp Crystal Lake. Utilizing the video game technology onboard, the students trick Jason into believing he is back at the camp, complete with two female campers who declare their love of premarital sex before stripping and sliding into sleeping bags, one of which Jason hysterically picks up and uses to beat the other with (recalling with humor a brutal murder that occurs in Friday the 13th; The New Blood). Aside from K-M’s attack on Jason, this is genuinely well-played, and probably the best and only reference back to the origin of the series.
The three survivors manage to escape the exploding ship and Jason is sent reeling into space, only to land on Earth II, where who else notices his descent, but two cuddling campers who set off to investigate the falling star. It’s extraordinarily groan worthy, as is all of Jason X. Following this installment, the eleventh part of the series thankfully moved onto new territory by incorporating horror’s other unstoppable sequel villain, Freddy Krueger.