Touted as “the most successfully Kickstarted Friday the 13th fan film of all time” (like one of those Guinness Records they put at the back of the book because no one cares), Vengeance debuted for free to online streaming services on September 13th. Yes, it was indeed a Friday. I had heard very little about this not-for-profit indy flick (that cost $50,000 of backer bucks) until the date of its release, as many members of the Joe Bob Briggs Facebook fan page posted in fervent hype for its debut. As nigh-lifelong lovers of the merry murderous misadventures of Jason Voorhees, my Evil Dead Bride Krix and I gave it a go and, well…we’re not mad at you, Vengeance, just disappointed…gravely disappointed…“fuck you back to Hell” disappointed.
Jason (or at least an upper tax bracket Spirit Halloween costume version) is back and once again killing people in the general area of Crystal Lake. He’s not alone though, as his long lost daddy Elias is also stalking the region and dispatching of victims of his own. Because…like father like son…I guess? Meanwhile, no sooner have the killings started again, but who other than Tommy Jarvis suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving his daughters Ashley and Angelica concerned for poppa’s well being. Ash (the older of the two) gathers the offspring of other F13 survivors to hunt down and kill Jason once and for all, making for a big clusterfuck of a family affair.
Be warned, fellow Friday fans, Vengeance doesn’t just take liberties with the lore of the Friday the 13th franchise so much as roofies its drink and does obscene, disgusting, morally vomit-inducing things to it. The whole tale reeks of lazy fan fic worse than the shit I used to hack together in high school. Part of the movies’ charm was gonzo shit happening that never needed an explanation. It took the ”MST3K” approach of “repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax”. Vengeance tries to fill in gaps that no one ever asked to be filled. If someone wanted to super glue arms to the Venus de Milo, they’d be booed back to the toilet store they part-timed at. Not equating slasher movies to 500 year-old works of classical art, but the metaphor is apt.
Even if perverting Jason’s legacy for the sake of aggrandizing some fanboys’ fantasy booking doesn’t grind your teeth down to the nerve endings, the execution of the movie itself is botched harder than one of those nightmare scenarios where someone on Death Row gets shot up with the wrong cocktail and takes an hour to die in utter pain and agony. The cast is packed with more extras than you can shake an occupied sleeping bag at, just so it can boast “the biggest body count of any Friday the 13th movie!” (that isn’t a Friday the 13th movie, no matter how many fucking stars you wish upon). The biggest problem? These people aren’t characters, they’re fodder. Jason isn’t about body counts, he’s about slaughtering people we’re supposed to establish some sliver of a connection to in classic “one by one” fashion. This version just mows down groups of people with little-to-no aplomb. An entire chain gang gets hacked down in less time than it takes Gummy Joe to brush his tooth, and not one of these hardened criminals puts up anything resembling a struggle. Crappity crap crap.
For anyone who denounces slasher flicks as “just blood and tits trash”, Vengeance only affirms their argument. It butchers the genre down to its base components and throws any of the edible bits straight down the garbage chute. What’s left isn’t even good enough to make it into the hot dog grinder. It’s an insult to fan films and a waste of other peoples’ money. The only redeeming factor? Nobody needs to pay to watch it. It’s 90 minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but it’s better than drinking bleach, I suppose.
1 Burning Pile of Fan Money out-of-Five
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