Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

This fifth sequel is an impressive entry in the ongoing series. Replacing the previous movie’s sloppy indifference and infamous climax with a tight focus, director Tom McLoughlin tackles the charred remains of the series with obvious glee. Injecting self-aware humor that foreshadows the self-referential spirit of “Scream,” the movie is packed with in-jokes and one-liners that appeal to longtime fans and ultimately it’s the perfect approach following the potentially franchise-killing climax of the previous entry. Thom Matthews is an engaging lead and he’s well matched by David Kagen and Jennifer Cooke, but really this one is all about Jason, and McLoughlin knows just how to use him as something resembling a character instead of a plot device. Add in a memorable theme song by Alice Cooper and the finished result reinvigorates the franchise in all the right ways.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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