31 Screams in October, Vol. 3, #1: Jason X (2001)

Posted: October 1, 2016 in Movie Review
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1. Jason X (2001)

Director: Jim Isaac

Starring: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Peter Mensah, Melyssa Ade, Melody Johnson, Jonathan Potts, Phillip Williams, Derwin Jordan, Dov Tiefenbach

It has been said that space is where a horror franchise goes to die when it has run out of ideas. In the case of the Friday the 13th series, “Jason X” is less of a final resting place than it is the undercard before a main event. 1993’s “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday,” a pathetic mess which turned Jason Voorhees into a body-hopping slug, was so bad that I would only ever consider seeing it again if I were paid in advance. However, it did get one thing right, and that was setting up a showdown between Jason and the other of the 1980s’ two big horror icons: Freddy Krueger. With that project still stuck in developmental hell, it was decided that another Jason solo movie was needed to keep the hockey-masked serial killer in the minds of horror fans everywhere. “Jason X,” the tenth entry in the long-running series, was the end result.

In an unspecified year early in the 21st century (most likely meant to be 2010), Jason (Kane Hodder) has been captured. Rowan (Lexa Doig) wants to put him in cryogenic stasis since all attempts at killing him have failed. The government, seeing his regenerative properties as an asset, has other ideas. This results in several deaths before Rowan is able to freeze Jason, who causes a breach in the cryostasis chamber, freezing Rowan as well.

Both are discovered by a research team of young students in the year 2455, by which time Earth is a barren wasteland and all of its former inhabitants have moved to Earth Two. Rowan and Jason are both brought on board the spaceship Grendel. Thinking Jason to be dead, he is taken to the lab to be studied while the crew thaws out Rowan. A very much alive Jason wakes up, and the inevitable carnage ensues. The best of his kills is the very first one, dunking the lab tech’s head in liquid nitrogen, and then shattering her frozen face into a million pieces on the countertop. Before long, most of the crew is dead, including all but one of its security personnel and both pilots, and the ship is tearing herself apart.

Soon, all that remains of the crew are Rowan, Janessa (Melyssa Ade), Waylander (Derwin Jordan), Sergeant Brodski (Peter Mensah), Kinsa (Melody Johnson), Tsunaron (Chuck Campbell) and the android Kay-Em 14 (Lisa Ryder). A panic attack overwhelms Kinsa, and she dies trying to launch the shuttle without detaching the fuel line. A quick-thinking Tsunaron makes some modifications to Kay-Em’s programming, allowing her to easily defeat Jason. As the survivors call for help, Jason is inadvertently revived by the ship’s nanotechnology, making him too strong even for Kay-Em, whose head is punched off. Tsunaron grabs Kay-Em’s head. Everyone runs for cover, except for Waylander, whose self-sacrifice buys them time to escape. However, when Jason (now outside the ship) starts punching holes in the hull, Janessa is pulled out into space.

Help arrives, but the docking door isn’t working. Brodski puts on an EVA suit to go out and fix it, while Tsunaron creates a holographic projection of Crystal Lake circa 1980 to distract Jason. The stunt barely works long enough for Brodski to complete the repairs, after which he intercepts Jason so that the others can escape. They watch from a safe distance as Brodski and Jason burn up entering Earth Two’s atmosphere.

“Jason X” gets pretty routinely bashed by both critcs and fans alike. Chalk a lot of that up to the outer space setting. The acting and referential humor both also are met with genuine displeasure. Truthfully, the acting is no worse than in any of the films in the series which everybody loves. As for the setting, yeah, it’s quite a stretch when you consider the simple summer camp setting we started with back in 1980. Other than that, it’s not that big a deal.

Honestly, I don’t have as much of a problem with “Jason X” as I’m supposed to. When I do a marathon of the Friday the 13th films, I have no trouble with including it (“Jason Goes to Hell” always gets skipped). In fact, due to the futuristic setting, I usually play “Jason X” last. Of the four sequels featuring Kane Hodder as Jason, this one is easily my favorite. It’s just the right kind of silly. If you like the Friday the 13th franchise but haven’t touched this one because it’s in outer space, I say give it a chance.

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