Review: Jason Rising Is A Great Homage To Classic Friday The 13th Films

The lawsuit that has plagued the Friday The 13th franchise for almost five years, as well as the studio's bumbling of potential sequels since 2010, has created an interesting side affect, it birthed a new era of independent fan films. Many of our readers know of the much appreciated and celebrated Never Hike Alone independent franchise film. Not only did that film showcase some of the most professional and studio-like filming ever seen in the fan film realm, it showed that a unique and exciting tale of Jason Voorhees could be created that would make fans cheer, even in the current self referential climate of horror films we are in today. With Red Crow Film's Jason Rising, we get another technically sound independent film with some absolute gorgeous shots, a killer score, and two awesome cameos, one of which was advertised in the film's trailer.

To start with, I will say that I was a bit weary of the premise when I first heard about this project when it was in it's infancy. Three women escape from a correction facility and local Wessex County police officers and U.S. Marshals track them to the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. The leader of the escaped convicts figure they will be safe there as no one would be dumb enough to enter the cursed camp grounds. That is, except for the convicts themselves as they will be the first to be served up to our resident mass murderer, Jason Voorhees.

Although the setup to get our story to the infamous camp was troublesome to me, even in the beginning of the film, the premise did grow on me and I was impressed with the acting and interaction between characters. But we have to back up to the prologue of the film, prior to meeting the escaped convicts and local police force. The opening of the film confirms that Jason Rising is indeed a direct sequel to Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter and explains the sorted history of curse and Jason's body count. After the demise of Jason at the hands of  twelve year old Tommy Jarvis, local police decide that instead of burying Jason in a normal cemetery, or simply having him cremated, they are going to take him to the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake and bury him there! This leads to a great encounter before fading to the opening credits.

As we transition to present day, we find some quick exposition and character building related to the local law enforcement from Wessex County and their relation to the Sheriff from 1984 that directed Jason to be laid to rest in Camp Crystal Lake. After the convicts escape, and the Wessex County cops and U.S. Marshalls begin their pursuit, we spend sometime with the three ladies who left the correctional facility and are now hiding out in an abandoned cabin at the camp. It's at this point that Mrs. Voorhees summons Jason back from the dead to take care of a new batch of intruders. 

This is where Jason Rising has definitely set itself apart from other independent fan films of the franchise. Not only does Mrs. Voorhees call to summon Jason back from his grave (a gnarly and brutal performance by Dan Kyle), but Pamela herself rises from the grave, missing head and all, to exact some of her own brand of revenge. I never thought I would ever see the imagery of mamma Voorhees killing in the decayed state she is in for this film, but it is some of the creepiest imagery I have seen in any of the studio films as well as fan films. 

If Neca could license this Pamela Voorhees, I think this version of the character would sell like crazy. With that being said, after Pamela is resurrected, and in turn Jason, they both embark on their own killing sprees, first directed at the ill-fated female escapees now hiding in their camp. In true Friday The 13th fashion, these kills are brutal, and again, done so with some really great cinematography.

After the convicts are killed, we truly get a standard stalk and slash film, where the U.S. Marshals and Wessex County police search for the convicts, while Jason (and his mom!) watch from the shadows stalking their prey, waiting for the right moment to strike. There is a weird, terrifying, awesome scene, where a U.S. Marshal mentions someone is watching them, and then Pamela Voorhees (without a head, remember) leaps out from behind the trees to attack! Her corpse gets riddled with bullets before Jason arrives and more mayhem ensues. Again, it's a crazy scene where I laughed, but then was in awe of what was going down. Mrs. Voorhees is creepy!

After a number of chase scenes and officer deaths (Predator reference anyone?), our few remaining characters trek back to the Correctional facility for salvation after they seemingly dispatching of ol' Jason with a chainsaw. By the way, after all those years of numerous television shows, movies and ad campaigns depicting Jason with a chainsaw, he actually uses one in this film. The first time he ever has in any fan film (I can recollect) or studio film. Kudos to Red Crow for getting that done.

It's the ending of this film that just gets bonkers, and I am here for it. After a call for help from the officers over radio from the Corrections facility, a killer comes knocking, and it is Mrs. Voorhees! This time she has collected her head from Jason's shrine and is full on Leatherfacing these cops before an unlikely heroine appears to save the day once and for all. That person is none other than Alice Hardy!

With Pamela decapitated again (Alice uttering "I never thought I would have to do that again") Jason appears one final time. Alice takes out Jason as well, with one final blow being an ice pick to the head. Instant Karma and ultimate fan service!

The ending leaves this tale open for a sequel and it would definitely be fun to see. I really enjoyed this film. As I mentioned in the opening of the review, the film looks gorgeous with definite high grade equipment being used during production, a tight script and some wonderful acting. I like the mythology of what we know from the first few films being kept intact and then adding a more supernatural element to the fold, specifically with Mrs. Voorhees. With that being said, as a fan of the franchise and seeing these films a number of times, you have to suspend some of what you know from previous films.

Of course, Alice Hardy being in this film doesn't make a lot of sense considering she dies in the prologue of Friday The 13th Part 2. There is a contingent of fans that believe Alice never died, however, and that has been explored in various fan fiction stories throughout the decades. So, if you don't think Alice died in the opening of Part 2, and that corpse with an ice pick in Jason's shack isn't Alice, then you have no problems here at all. If you think she died, then suspension of disbelief for this film will be your friend (Although this film eludes to her being in witness protection).

So we had a few cameos in the film; Mrs. Voorhees returning, Alice Hardy saving the day, but we even had a cameo (sort of) for Ginny Field as she leaves a voice recording for Alice. We also have a former Jason from another fan film (Vincent DiSante) appear as a correctional officer. 

Some nice Easter eggs were littered about Jason Rising as well. In the prologue of the film, Mrs. Voorhees' decapitated head on the beach is the actual prop head used in the original Friday The 13th! There is a line in the film where someone asks what Camp Crystal Lake is and the Sheriff replies "It's just some land locked in a legal battle". A great nod to the actual legal battle the franchise has endured for so many years. I am sure there others that I just didn't think of when writing this.

This was very entertaining film that did a lot of justice to Jason Voorhees, the mythos of Camp Crystal Lake, and added it's own flavor of supernatural aura to the franchise. Evil Dead fans rejoice in the crazy of Mrs. Voorhees! Big thanks to Red Crow Films and Womp Stomp Films for creating such an entertaining and rewatchable film for Friday The 13th fans. Highly recommended.

Watch the film on Youtube now!

About Red Crow Films

Formed in 2017, Red Crow Films is headed by Portland, OR-based filmmakers James Sweet, Karl Whinnery, and Freddy Heath, who first collaborated on the short film Blood and Sugar (2017).

Our team not only shares a common passion for quality filmmaking but also a fond devotion to the Friday the 13th franchise. JASON RISING is our way of showing appreciation for the films that many of us grew up with during the 1980s.

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