An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at 1982’s Friday the 13th Part 3
A group of friends heads to Higgins Haven near Camp Crystal Lake just days after the events of Friday the 13th Part 2.
Is Friday the 13th Part 3 Scary?
If you’ve seen plenty of horror movies or slashers, you probably won’t be too scared of anything Friday the 13th Part 3 offers but if you haven’t, you might get caught by the few jump scares. You also won’t find anything creepy or any good attempts at creating a tension-filled atmosphere so you won’t leave it scared.
Overall you’ll only find Friday the 13th Part 3 scary if you’re on your way to a cabin in the middle of the woods on a lake that has had several mass murders within the last 5 years.
All Friday the 13th Explanations/Reviews:
Friday the 13th Part 3 Full Plot Summary:
Last we left Jason in Friday the 13th Part 2, main character Ginny fucked up Jason’s day by driving a machete into his shoulder. To be fair, he did kill almost all her friends. Though Jason appeared dead, the ending implied he was still alive as the candles surrounding his mother’s decomposed head which sits atop a shrine in a small cabin, were lit. That sentence is a weird one if you know nothing about the Friday the 13th franchise.
Friday the 13th Part 3 realizes you might not know anything about its movies so it starts by replaying the last 5 minutes of Part 2. This time though, we get confirmation Jason is very much alive which makes sense otherwise, this would have been a very short movie. As we zoom into the decomposed head of Jason’s mom, we get a jarring title screen that plays some funky 80’s music so I don’t know how I feel about that.
We open at night on the day following the events of Friday the 13th Part 2 as a woman, Edna (played by Cheri Maugans) living near Crystal Lake, watches a news report of the murders. The reporter calls the killings the worst in the area’s history which feels inaccurate since the original Friday the 13th took place 5 years earlier.
Meanwhile, Edna’s husband and convenience store owner Harold (played by Steve Susskind) tends to the store that is connected to their home. This is important to know since Edna spots someone outside the home who she suspects is Harold but we all know it’s Jason. Interestingly Jason appears to be fully healed from having a machete implanted into his shoulder.
Edna searches for Harold in the store and scolds him for eating the food they’re selling and walking around with a “filthy” rabbit.
Later we watch Harold take a shit in the most disturbing scene of the series and, I’d like to note, he doesn’t wipe his ass when he gets up to investigate strange sounds. As Harold opens the door of the outhouse, Jason appears and stabs him in the chest with a cleaver. Edna then investigates the sounds and gets a sewing needle in her back which, apparently, is more deadly than a machete to the shoulder.
The next day we meet our new group of main characters who are driving to the lake but first they stop to pick up a friend, Vera, from her home. In the screenshots below from left to right we have:
- Chris (played by Dana Kimmell), who hints at having experienced some trauma at the lake in the past
- Shelly (played by Larry Zerner), who is not a very good prankster and has low self-esteem
- Couple Andy and Debbie (played by Jeffrey Rogers and Tracie Savage), who we’re told love sex and we learn Debbie is pregnant
- Vera (played by Catherine Parks) who is brought along as Shelly’s “date” although this is their first time meeting and she doesn’t like him
- And finally, weed enthusiasts Chuck and Chili (played by David Katims and Rachel Howard)
The gang head to the lake but on their way get into some classic hijinks when they’re forced to eat their drugs because they hear police sirens approaching. After swallowing all their drugs, it turns out the police are actually heading to the site of the gruesome murders we opened the movie with… hilarious hijinks.
Next, the gang bumps into a man sleeping in the middle of the road who has clearly lost his mind as he shows them a human eyeball he found. As the group drives off freaked out at the man, the man warns them about something but he doesn’t exactly tell them what to watch out for.
Finally, the gang arrives at Higgens Haven near Crystal Lake and park outside a cabin as we see someone watching them from inside. While everyone else rushes toward the lake, Chris heads inside and is grabbed by the watcher in a jump scare.
Turns out the watcher is Rick (played by Paul Kratka) who is… an ex-boyfriend? Current boyfriend? Summer fling? It’s not really clear.
Chris pushes him off of her and we learn that Higgins Haven is actually Chris’s home and where she grew up but she left 2 years ago after an incident. Meanwhile, Rick works at Higgins Haven, tending to the cabins and other duties which includes an on-again-off-again relationship with Chris.
A short time later Chris and Rick move some hay bales to the second level of the nearby barn when they hear a scream coming from the cabin. The two rush back to the cabin and Chris runs upstairs to search the rooms. Checking a closet in a room, she screams when Shelly falls out with a hatchet buried in his skull.
The rest of the gang run into the room and Shelly’s death is quickly discovered to be a prank when Andy tickles Shelly.
The gang all get angry at Shelly for his dumb prank and Vera asks Rick if she can borrow his car to go to the store. As she’s about to drive off, Shelly runs to her and begs to join her. Reluctantly Vera agrees despite Shelly being the reason she wanted to get away.
Meanwhile, Debbie catches up with Chris and it’s made very clear that an incident happened 2 years ago that traumatized Chris. Do we get any new information on it? Of course not. Back with Shelly and Vera, the two arrive at a local store and are hassled by a group of nefarious bikers who take Shelly’s wallet.
Oh no! Do they steal the money in the wallet? Do they beat up Shelly? Do they threaten to kill Vera and Shelly?… Nah, they give the wallet back almost immediately but only after forcing Vera to ask for it nicely. Is this what bullying was in the 80s? From left to right the members of this biker “gang” are Fox (played by Gloria Charles), Ali (played by Nick Savage), and Loco (played by Kevin O’Brien)
Returning to the car, Shelly accidentally reverses into Ali’s motorcycle just as Ali steps outside. Pissed, probably because Shelly didn’t apologize, Ali smashes the car’s windows and windshield with a chain.
Shelly drives off but turns the car around fearlessly announcing, “They went too far this time.” As Ali jumps out of the way, Shelly runs over the motorcycle tire and speeds off. Who put this character development in my teen slasher movie?
Back at Higgins Haven, as Shelly and Vera tell the group what happened, we’re reminded this is a Friday the 13th movie when we see Jason watching them from the barn. Seeing the state of his car, Rick decides he’s had enough of this shit and tells Chris he’s leaving. Chris begs him not to go and the two drive off together.
Meanwhile, the Manners Gang have arrived and they’re not looking too friendly. Despite Fox’s reluctance, Loco and Ali siphon the gas out of our main group’s van while Fox goes to investigate the barn and she’s like a kid in a candy store. As Fox is inexplicably wowed by everything in the barn which includes hay, a saddle, a canteen, and boots, she doesn’t notice Jason watching her from a corner.
Outside, Ali sends Loco into the barn with the gasoline and orders him to find Fox and to start pouring gasoline around. Thinking Fox may be on the second floor of the barn, Loco climbs up and discovers he was right. But, she can’t come down because she’s been pinned to a board with a pitchfork through her neck.
Jason then shows up and drives a pitchfork through Loco’s body, killing him as well. A few moments later, Ali enters the barn and finds Loco dead as Jason jumps down to attack him. Ali grabs a machete but is quickly and easily overpowered by Jason who beats him over the head with a wrench.
That night Chris decides to tell Rick what happened two years ago that caused her to move from Higgins Haven. After a fight with her parents, Chris ran from her home at night and hid in the woods, falling asleep under a tree.
When she awoke she heard someone approaching her, turns out it was Jason holding a knife. Chris was able to kick the knife from his hands but, after a brief struggle, Jason grabs her and drags her away. Back in the present, Chris says she blacked out, and the next thing she remembers she was back at home in her bed.
The two return to Rick’s car but discover the battery has died which forces them to start walking back to the cabin. This is also a convenient way to keep the main character away from the murder party Jason is about to start.
Meanwhile, Chuck and Chili (remember them?) spot Jason heading into the barn but assume it’s Shelly setting up another prank. The two enter the barn in an attempt to scare him first but for some reason, Jason doesn’t kill them and just hides. Maybe like everyone watching, he also forgot they were in this movie and was confused about who they were.
Near the lake by the cabin, Vera is sitting on the pier when a hand reaches up from the water and grabs her foot. Vera is able to shake free and gets up to run but the assailant is revealed to be Shelly pulling another prank. Despite Shelly claiming it was to teach her a lesson about being alone at night, we all know it’s because Vera turned him down earlier.
Incensed, Vera yells at Shelly and we see more of Shelly’s self-esteem issues when he claims he rather be a jerk than a nobody. Walking off Shelly hears some sounds coming from the barn and goes to investigate.
At the pier, Vera realizes she still has Shelly’s wallet and accidentally drops it in the lake forcing her to jump in to get it. Jason then walks up to the pier now wearing Shelly’s mask, holding a speargun, and possibly thinking “This is way too easy.”
Vera initially assumes it’s Shelly but quickly realizes it’s not him. Despite this, she doesn’t move out of the way or attempt to dodge the speargun pointed directly at her even though, it takes Jason about 10 seconds to line up his shot. Vera then gets shot in the eye and dies.
Inside the cabin, Debbie and Andy finish having sex and Debbie jumps in the shower while we see Jason enter the cabin. For some reason, Andy decides to handstand walk his way to the kitchen for some beers. Before Andy can get downstairs, Jason easily walks up behind him, because he’s not using his hands, and stabs him through the stomach with a machete… I think, the scene cuts away too fast.
Debbie doesn’t hear any of the noise and returns to her room to read a magazine. As she lies on the hammock, blood drops from above and she discovers Andy’s body has been stuffed into the ceiling. Unfortunately, she has no time to react because Jason is under the hammock and stabs her through the chest with the machete.
In the kitchen, Chili and Chuck are making popcorn when the power goes out. After Chili sends Chuck to go check the breaker she hears a knock on the door and assumes it’s Chuck. Turns out it’s actually Shelly with his throat slashed but Chili assumes it’s make-up in another prank attempt… awkward.
Meanwhile downstairs, Chuck is able to switch the power back on but this only makes it easier for Jason to see him. Jason shoves Chuck into the breaker electrocuting him.
Chili finally realizes Shelly is actually dead, screams, and runs upstairs to find anyone to help her. Jason then enters the cabin, grabs a fire poker, and stabs her through the stomach, killing her.
A short time later, Rick and Chris return to the cabin and discover burning popcorn which is the number one sign that some weird shit is going on. After searching the cabin for the others, Rick decides to check around outside but is grabbed by Jason. Chris goes to search for Rick but apparently, her searches are less in-depth as she doesn’t even turn the corner.
As Chris heads back inside, Jason squeezes Rick’s head crushing his skull and causing his eye to pop out. Inside, Chris discovers the bathtub filled with water and bloody clothes so it’s nice that Jason was trying to help with laundry. Chris, instead, is freaked out by this and runs outside toward the barn.
Weirdly, Loco’s body randomly drops from a nearby tree which causes Chris to run back to the cabin. Why was Jason hiding Loco’s body in the tree? What was the plan there? We next get a quick scene of Chris desperately trying to keep the windows and doors closed as the wind has picked up. I think this was supposed to build tension as you don’t know if it’s Jason opening the doors but in reality, it’s just silly.
As Chris runs around the living room closing windows and doors, she continues to call out for Rick. Jason decides he’s heard enough and tosses Rick’s dead body through the window which I guess is not exactly what Chris was asking for.
Jason enters the cabin through the window but Chris is able to avoid him by running upstairs and dropping a bookcase on him. Locking herself in a closet, Chris quickly gives up her position when she screams due to discovering Debbie’s body next to her. Jason runs upstairs with an axe and starts ripping a hole in the door to reach in and unlock it.
As Jason reaches in, Chris notices the knife still in Debbie’s back and pulls it out, using it to stab Jason in the hand. Jason backs away in pain while Chris launches out of the closet and stabs him in the leg. Chris then jumps out of a window, narrowly avoiding Jason again, and runs to the front of the cabin.
Grabbing a nearby log, Chris smacks Jason on the back of the head as he exits the cabin and then heads to the van to escape. Unfortunately, the van runs out of gas which allows Jason to catch up and attempt to strangle Chris. Once again avoiding Jason, Chris has no other choice but to run and lock herself in the barn, something she does a poor job of as Jason easily enters moments later.
Jason searches the barn for Chris but she’s able to get the drop on him, knocking him to the ground. Chris then discovers that Jason has properly locked the barn and is forced to hide on the second level. Jason climbs up moments later and he is easily knocked out when Chris hits him with a shovel. Using a rope, Chris ties it around Jason’s neck and tosses him over the side.
With Jason seemingly dead, Chris escapes the barn but I said “seemingly dead” for a reason because as soon as she opens the barn doors, Jason wakes up. Removing the rope from his neck causes Jason to push his mask up and Chris realizes he is the same person who attacked her two years ago.
Chris is too shocked to ask important questions like, “What happened after I blacked out?”, “How did I escape?”, “How did I end up in my bed?”, etc. Jason picks up his machete and is about to stab Chris but a still-alive Ali appears and grabs Jason. It was a really bad plan because Jason immediately chops off Ali’s hand.
Jason knocks Ali to the ground and hacks at him with the machete to ensure he stays dead this time. Meanwhile, Chris picks up an axe and buries in it Jason’s head as he turns around.
With Jason now dead, Chris heads onto the lake in a small rowboat and falls asleep. The next morning Chris wakes up and sees Jason watching her from the second-floor window of the cabin. Jason runs downstairs and breaks through the door as Chris starts to panic and row away.
When turning back around Chris realizes it was just a hallucination but this ain’t a Friday the 13th movie without Jason coming back with one last jump scare. As Chris looks around, Pamela freaking Voorhees, somehow with her head back on, launches out of the water and grabs Chris.
This is also revealed to be a hallucination when we cut to police at the camp escorting Chris, who has had a mental breakdown, into a police car. The film ends as we see a still dead Jason lying in the barn with the axe in his head.
Friday the 13th Part 3 is good for what it is. It’s a slasher movie that follows the Friday the 13th formula to a tee and that’s not a bad thing if you like that formula. The acting overall feels pretty stiff and a bit over the top for the biker gang but I wouldn’t call it bad acting. Dialogue from all characters was bland while the overall story felt like it needed to be fleshed out more.
The film also tries, to some success, to give all of its characters some personality and traits that make them feel like real people. Shelly is probably the best example of this as he definitely has a minor character.
Unfortunately, the character arc and development of the main character, Chris, is not as good. It also feels like the writer’s attempt to give her some trauma for her to overcome wasn’t fully fleshed out. Her experience with Jason 2 years prior could have been cut and it wouldn’t have made a difference to how she dealt with Jason this time around.
Overall if you like Friday the 13th movies, you’ll like this one. It doesn’t try to do anything different or new and sometimes that’s not a bad thing. I recommend it to those who are fans especially if you’re wondering where Jason’s mask came from.