There are a number of changes in this third sequel to the 1980 original that successfully shake up the franchise. There’s the fact that the story is primarily centered around a family instead of campers, even though there’s a group of nubile teenagers readily accessible to Jason for slaughter of course. The killings themselves are also much gorier and extreme than the first three movies, with a surprisingly high body count even for this series. The gloom-and-doom atmosphere of the first three movies is also replaced with a more passive vibe, with director Joseph Zito spending an impressive amount of time establishing the dynamics among the characters. Add in a go-for-broke climax courtesy of Tom Savini’s extraordinary, imaginative gore effects, and you have yet another surprisingly strong entry in the long-running franchise.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)