Part V of the series is an oft derided and ridiculed addition to the franchise, mainly due to the fact that they attempted to go in a different direction and create a new Jason Voorhees (thus the title, A New Beginning). It was intended to kick off a new trilogy of films but due to a drop off in ticket returns at the box office they scuttled this idea and brought back the old Jason in Part VI.
Despite the fact that Jason Voorhees isn’t actually in this film, I really enjoy A New Beginning. The fact that you have a real, flesh and blood killer on the loose makes this film seem all the more dangerous for it. For the mid-80’s it’s a solid slasher that ticks off all the correct boxes, and Part V was noted for being the most graphic film in the franchise up to that time.
The plot in A New Beginning sees our protagonist from Part IV, Tommy, being admitted to a halfway house. He’s having issues getting over what Jason did and has become mentally unstable. Crystal Lake is not the setting. I know, gasp! Instead we’re treated to a bit more of a psychological slasher film as we deal with Tommy’s breakdown. Honestly, my biggest issue with this film and the next are actually Tommy. I just don’t like him. He’s not likable and you don’t really care if he succeeds. You actually find yourself rooting for the hockey masked killer, which makes for an interesting dynamic.
As far as the kills go, Part V is pretty brutal. You’ve got a lot of classic machete work, some cleaver kills, and one of the most creative deaths in the franchise…a leather strap tightened around a tree to crush the skull of a victim. A lot of the kills are more implied than actually shown (to avoid an X rating) but the cutaways are effective. No worries out there slasher gorehounds…you’ll be happy with A New Beginning.
Much like Halloween III, Friday the 13th Part V suffered a great deal of derision for trying to go a different direction with the franchise. I still think it works (as did Halloween III) and if it helps, just view it as a standalone slasher and maybe you’ll get more out of it. For 1985 I think it’s a solid film that sits on the edge of the whole genre starting its downward spiral.