The story of how I finally came to watch this, the fifth installment of the Friday the 13th series, is probably more entertaining than the movie itself, so I'll tell it now.
I tried to rent it several weeks before I actually did. I picked up the box at the rental store and brought it to the front. The person behind the counter opened it, glanced in the box, and checked it through. When I got home with the movie, however, I discovered that although the box said Friday the 13th Part V, the tape that was actually inside was A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. Right number, wrong series. I'd seen that movie, and I'd hated it, and I didn't want to see it again. I took it back, told them of the mixup, and they credited my account for it.
This time when I went to rent the movie, I was more careful. I opened the box myself before taking it to the counter. This time, the movie inside the box was Friday the 13th Part VI. Right series, wrong number! So I looked inside the box for part six, and sure enough, there was the movie I was trying to rent. I switched the two and finally rented the right movie.
Unfortunately, this whole ordeal wasn't at all worth it. This was the only entry in the series that I hadn't seen before, and I can safely say that I could have easily gone the rest of my life without watching it. Of course, I can probably say that about all the other entries in the series, but I think it applies most of all to this one.
If you've seen one of these movies, you've seen them all. The formula is always the same. A bunch of teens are in a secluded place (in this series, it's usually Camp Crystal Lake, but in this particular entry, it's not) and they get picked off one by one. You get to see every woman in the film topless at some point, and there will be only two people (one male, one female) alive at the end. In this particular series, most of the fun comes in counting the different and absurd ways in which the people get offed.
This movie has all of that, but it basically just goes through the motions. You see, by all reports the series was supposed to have ended after the fourth installment. Jason finally "dies" at the end of that movie, and it's even called The Final Chapter. However, the series was doing well enough at the time that the powers that be decided to start it back up.
It begins with Tommy, the boy who "killed" Jason in the last movie, having a dream. He watches two teenagers dig up Jason's grave. They open the casket and look down on the body (Jason was apparently buried in his hockey mask). Jason comes back to life and kills them. He then ambles over to young Tommy, and just before he would have slashed the boy's head off, Tommy awakens in the back seat of a car taking him to Pinehurst, some sort of mental institution in the woods for troubled teens. Now, I thought at first that this was the once again reopened Camp Crystal Lake, but they never do show the lake, so I was never sure. It is, however, somewhere near the area where Jason did his thing, as everyone certainly knows who he is. It also doesn't make sense that they would take Tommy, now a teenager, right to the place where he encountered the very person who caused all his mental problems. But of course, expecting anything in a slasher movie to make sense is silly anyway.
Pam and Matt run the center, and the other inhabitants are Joey, Vic, Violet, Robin, Tina, and Eddie. A young boy named Reggie hangs out there because his grandfather apparently works there. It seems that Tina and Eddie like to make out on the property of the neighbors, one Ethel and her idiot son "Junior" (I'm not sure he had a name, and I really don't care). The only reason for this is to introduce two more people to be killed.
Anyway, fat stupid Joey tries to help buff psycho Vic chop wood. Vic decides to chop Joey instead, and Vic gets hauled off to jail while Joey goes to the morgue in the local ambulance. This is actually important to the plot, so remember this for later.
After this, the "real" killings begin. Two random teens named Vinny and Pete (who are only in this movie long enough to die) are on the side of the road, trying to get their car to start. They argue, and Pete goes off into the woods to "take a crap." "Crap, my @$$!" says Vinny, in one of the movie's funniest and most inexplicable lines.
Anyway, "someone" (we don't get to see the killer until nearly the end) comes along and kills the two of them -- Vinny gets a flare in the mouth, and Pete gets his throat slit.
Meanwhile, back at the mental camp, nothing is happening. Oh wait, Tommy is seeing visions of Jason.
Later, we meet Lana and Billy, two more people who are in this movie only to die. Lana works at a local diner, and Billy comes to pick her up. Billy waits in the car, and, as he gets out to check on Lana, he gets an axe in the head. Lana comes out, gets in the car (apparently she doesn't see Billy lying dead beside the car) "someone" comes and gets her in the chest with the axe.
Meanwhile, back at the mental camp, nothing is happening. Oh wait, Tommy is seeing visions of Jason. Still.
Tina and Eddie decide to go have one of their trysts in the woods. A local hobo is watching in the woods, and "someone" knifes him in the guts. Tina gets a pair of hedge clippers in the eyes, and Eddie gets a belt wrapped around his head (and around the tree behind him). "Someone" tightens the belt until Eddie dies.
Everyone notices that Tina and Eddie are missing, but nobody thinks to go looking for them. Later that night, Pam and Tommy take little Reggie "into town" to see his brother Demon. Demon lives in a trailer park. I know because it had a huge neon sign that said "Trailer Park." Demon introduces Reggie to his girlfriend Anita, another person only in this movie long enough to die. Demon has quite a feast. He's got tacos, eggrolls, and pizza that he offers to his little brother. Where the heck does this guy get take-out from?
Anyway, Reggie gets to see his big brother for all of five minutes before Pam decides to take him back to the camp. Tommy, somehow, gets left behind and doesn't show up again until the very end of the movie (with no explanation as to where he went).
After Pam and Reggie leave, Demon has a nasty gas attack and goes to sit in the outhouse. While he's in there, Anita fulfills her contractual obligation by getting her throat slit. Demon gets it with a spike driven through the outhouse wall.
Later still, Junior is riding his motorcycle around his yard (and on his porch) while his mother screams "I am making your dinner!" inside the house. Junior gets decapitated, and Ethel gets a machete in the head.
Back at the mental camp, all the other extras get killed. Jake gets a machete in the head, Robin gets stabbed through the bottom of her bed, and Violet gets a knife in the stomach.
Reggie and Pam get back, and Reggie goes looking for Tommy. Wait a minute, wasn't he supposed to be with them? Anyway, Reggie opens Tommy's door, and inside are Robin, Violet, and Jake. How the killer got these three bloody bodies into this one room from the places they were killed without getting blood all over the place is beyond me.
Reggie and Pam try to run away, and finally we see the killer as he busts through the front door like it was made out of balsa wood. Sure enough, he's wearing the familiar hockey mask and carrying a machete.
"Jason" chases Pam around and almost gets her, but Reggie runs him down with a front end loader in the nick of time. Of course, "Jason" isn't dead, and he gets up to chase them into the barn that I don't think was there until just that moment. Somewhere in here, we come upon one of the ambulance guys (in the parked ambulance) with his throat slashed, and Matt up against a tree with a knife in his head. I only tell you about these so you can tally up the body count from this review alone.
Pam and "Jason" duel with a chainsaw and a machete in the barn while Reggie cheers. Tommy inexplicably comes wandering into the barn and gets slashed across the chest. Everyone rushes up to the hay loft (why they thought they'd be safe up there is anybody's guess), and "Jason" follows. A whole lot of nothing happens, and "Jason" finally falls out of the loft and onto a conveniently placed bed of spikes outside. Who knows what that thing is or how it got there. The mask falls off, and we find out that "Jason" is actually just Roy, the other ambulance attendant.
Tommy, Pam, and Reggie get taken to the hospital, where the local, ineffective Sheriff explains the whole thing to Pam. It seems that Joey -- (Remember him? I told you it was important.) -- was Roy's son, but he'd kept it secret for years. When he had to go pick up his own son who had been hacked to pieces, he lost it and donned the Jason mask. The sheriff shows Pam the newspaper clippings they found at Roy's house chronicling Jason's exploits, which was where he obviously got the idea.
There are a bunch of stories surrounding this movie, most of which are either impossible to know the truth of or just plain wrong. The first story is that the guy who played Roy was actually the same guy who played Jason in the other movies in the series. It took about five minutes of checking at the IMDb web site to determine that "Roy" never played Jason except in this movie -- in fact, Jason was rarely played by the same man twice.
Another story holds that this movie was to be the prototype for all the other Friday the 13th movies to come. In each, a new person would don the Jason mask, and the idea was that the audience would try to figure out who it was. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that the reaction I get whenever I mention this movie to someone who has seen it is usually something like, "Oh yeah, that's the one where it wasn't even Jason; it was that stupid ambulance driver." Fans of the series didn't want to see a Friday the 13th movie without the "real" Jason, so they quickly brought him back to "life" in the sixth movie, aptly subtitled Jason Lives. Personally, I don't really see what difference it makes, but oh well.
In summary, this movie sucks. There are eight other movies in this series, and while I'm not sure this was the worst, I do know there are others that are way more entertaining (such as 1, 2, 6, and 8) as far as "good" bad movies go. Don't bother with this one.
Scene to watch for: "It's showtime!"
Best line: "I got a bomb on me."
Things that make you go "Huh?": How did Tommy get the mask?