The Space Age Slasher – Jason X Brings the Voorhees Horror to the Final Frontier
Jason X is the best film in the series after Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter. It is a kick-ass joy ride of a film that, unlike Friday the 13th Part XIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, takes Jason out of the element of Crystal Lake and plants him in the year 2455 on board a spaceship loaded with a group of students on a training mission. Oddly enough, teenagers are just as horny in 2455 as they are in 2001, which is when this film was released. So, even though he’s been cryogenically frozen for 454 years and then thawed out on board the ship by the unsuspecting crew Jason is never bored or at a lack of things to do. It’s sort of like when you take a kid to the bank and give them a coloring book and crayons to keep them occupied. Jason nearly meets his match in this film at the hands of Kay-Em 14, a fairly hot cyborg whose nipples tend to fall off at inopportune times. You have to see it to believe it, trust me. But, just when you think Mrs. Voorhees baby boy has bitten the dust for the umpteenth time, he returns as (cue Superman theme music) UBER-JASON!!! Faster than a speeding victim! More powerful than a horny teenager!! Able to slash through bodies with a single swipe!! Look out behind you! It’s not Michael, not Freddy! It’s Uber-Jason!! Just as soon as our boy gets his upgrade he is back in the business of killing. He even pays homage to one of his earlier kills in this one. When you see it you’ll know the one I’m talking about.
In the tenth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, Jason X sends the infamous Crystal Lake killer Jason Voorhees on a futuristic rampage aboard a spaceship in the year 2455. After numerous failed attempts to execute him in the early 2000s, Jason is cryogenically frozen by the government. When a group of students from Earth II find him centuries later and bring his corpse aboard their ship, they quickly learn the grave danger posed by this resilient mass murderer.
Director Jim Isaac takes the franchise into fresh territory, transcending the familiar woodsy Camp Crystal Lake settings and unleashing Jason on unsuspecting prey in deep space. While past films have framed Jason as an unstoppable force of vengeance, Jason X utilizes sci-fi concepts to transform him into a literal cyborg killing machine. After being mortally wounded aboard the spacecraft Grendel, Jason is rebuilt via advanced nanotechnology into an armored, robotic-enhanced superbeing with strength exceeding his earlier supernatural incarnations.
This interstellar setting allows for inventive riffs on the traditional Voorhees formula. In cryonic stasis, on an abandoned Earth, and freely drifting through space, Jason embodies the unkillable persistence of evil. The futuristic technology likewise provides creative twists on Jason’s archetypal machete, like a holographic simulation of Camp Crystal Lake and a medical station that makes him near invincible. Even In the vacuum of space, the final girl cannot escape.
Underneath the space-age gimmicks, Jason X stays true to the slasher roots. Creative kill scenes pick off victims in graphically gory fashion. The contrast between Jason’s vintage, earthbound roots and the sleek futuristic backdrop underscores his menace. He prefers familiar weapons and settings, a literal monster let loose amid technological advancement. For devoted followers of the franchise, Jason X offers a novel spin while remaining dead-set on bloodshed.
The biggest complaint I have against this film is the acting. The main cast is good, but the supporting cast leaves a bit to be desired. Kane Hodder is in excellent form as both Jason and Uber-Jason. After four films he’s got this part down to a science. It’s no wonder the guy has such a large following at conventions.
Jason X is the final film in the Friday the 13th series. I don’t count Freddy vs Jason as the last because the events in it would have taken place before the year 2455, regardless of whether it was released at a later date than Jason X. It’s like the Beatles with Abbey Road and Let It Be. The latter was the last album released, but the former was the last album recorded.
This film allows the series to go out with a bang. Not a big bang, but a bang none the less.
The space debris floating in space has “Cunningham Reality” written on the side. This is a reference to the name of producer Noel Cunningham, the son of executive producer and maker of the original Friday the 13th (1980/I), Sean S. Cunningham.
Jason Voorhees’ eyes never blink when they are shown.
The name of the primary ship in the film is the “Grendel” which is the name of a monster in the Old English poem “Beowulf”. Grendel was a direct descendant of Cain from the Book of Genesis, a monster described as half-troll, half-ogre. Like Jason, Grendel rose from a lake in search of victims and seemingly could not be killed. Also, in their fight, Beowulf rips Grendel’s arm off, and in the movie, when Kay-Em shoots up Jason, the first thing he loses is his arm.
Lexa Doig as Rowan
Lisa Ryder as Kay-Em 14
Jonathan Potts as Prof. Lowe
Peter Mensah as Sgt. Brodski
Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
Kane Hodder as Uber-Jaon
Directed by Jim Isaac
Written by Todd Farmer and Victor Miller (characters)