Review : Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Only one year has passed since the first Friday the 13th sequel and Steve Miner is back in the director’s chair for a new Friday sequel…in 3D ! While the previous sequel introduced the character of Jason Voorhees, this new entry marks the debut of the iconic hockey mask. Friday the 13th Part III was also intended to end the series as a trilogy.

The film directly follows the events of the previous installment. A wounded Jason goes to a convenience store for a change of clothes…of course, while he’s there, might as well murder the store owners ! Meanwhile, a new group of teenagers arrive in the Crystal Lake area, unknowingly about to become Jason’s play “mates”.

Friday the 13th Part III is often criticized and some have stated it is one of the worst entries in the franchise (what???). I happen to really enjoy the film and it is the one I enjoyed the most out of the first three. The plot is thin and the characters are annoying walking clichés. But oh boy, is it entertaining ! This being the second sequel, patterns start to clearly emerge : sex equals death, there is always that prankster character that you hope will die first, there is always the crazy old man warning the teens about upcoming danger etc… We have now been given the Friday the 13th formula !

The group of teenagers is not very well characterized and their only purpose is either to be killed off or, in Chris’s case, to be the survivor. It seems that nothing more defines them. The acting is mostly decent but the final scene is extremely cringe-worthy and some of the worst acting possible.

I can’t write much about the 3-D because I actually have never seen the film in 3-D. However, even in 2-D, the scenes specifically designed for 3-D effects look very gimmicky and mostly pointless. They also tend to drag those scenes out so they are quite annoying. Who wants to see a guy play with a yo-yo for several minutes ? Not me ! Some kills must look fun in 3-D but I can’t comment on that.

Now, let’s address the most important character ! Jason is now in his final form when he acquires his famous hockey mask. This has become an iconic moment for any fan but I was surprised how the scene is almost underwhelming. However, Jason looks like an absolute badass when he walks on the dock wearing the mask for the first time. I also really love the way Jason moves. He is nonchalant, calm and seems to really enjoy his work. He is not the sharpest tool in the shed as demonstrated in multiple scenes but it’s appropriate because it enhances the feeling that he is a true and brutal force of nature. He is a killing machine, nothing more. And the kills are awesome ! The most memorable one is the harpon going straight to the camera and ending its course in someone’s eye. Jason’s reaction afterwards is priceless, dropping his weapon and walking away slowly. And this is one among several enjoyable kills. The effects are still really well-made and creativity is still strong in this second sequel.

Though a lot of people seem to dislike Part III, I really enjoyed it. The writing and the characters are weak but the entertainment value is high especially thanks to Jason and the creative kills.

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3 thoughts on “Review : Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

  1. Part 3 is my favourite in the franchise. Love the character of Shelly and I’m happy it was him who ‘gave’ Jason his iconic mask (or the first of them anyway). I also like that the cast of characters is relatively small, as opposed to later entries where random people are introduced just to be swiftly dispatched.

    Good reviews as always, looking forward to the rest of the series.

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    1. Thank you, I always appreciate your comments. Part 3 is not my favourite but it’s definitely in my top 3 ! I like the “boy who cried wolf” aspect of Shelly’s arc. And I agree, it’ better when there’s a small cast, contained to one area.

      Like

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