If I may, I'd like to quote from Title 18, Code 1030, Subparagraph G of the United States Code: "It is hereby ordained that any and all motion pictures titled with the Roman numeral 'III' or the Arabic numeral '3,' including but not limited to those motion pictures that are third in a series of motion pictures, must be shot in 3D. Furthermore, all such motion pictures, when they are released on video cassette, shall bear a disclaimer on the box stating "Home Video Version Not In 3D." Said disclaimer shall not be more than .25 millimeters by .5 millimeters in size, whether or not there is a font that can physically fit all those letters into that space or not."
Ok, so there isn't really any such law. But sometimes I think there is. Jaws 3, Amityville Horror 3, even Duke Nukem 3 (and that wasn't even a movie) all follow this convention. Friday the 13th, Part 3 is no exception. I missed the disclaimer on the box, of course, so it took me a bit to figure out why people kept shoving stuff directly at the camera.
The trap most 3D movies fall into, unfortunately, is becoming so enamored by the 3D effects that they go out of their way to construct scenes so that things come flying at the camera. This movie is very, very bad in this respect -- entire scenes owed their existence to a single 3D effect that they set up. Of course, when you take the 3D feature away, these scenes are entirely ineffectual.
That's not to say that this was a good movie in its original state, or even that I would have enjoyed this movie more if I had viewed it in 3D (although the second point is at least debatable). It's a stinker of a movie anyway, made worse by the reliance on non-existant 3D gimmicks.
The movie opens with what is actually the last five minutes of the second movie, even though none of this has anything to do with what happens in this movie. Oh wait, I guess it shows how Jason didn't actually die in the second movie. Well, duh, we knew that.
A bunch of teenagers drive up to a cabin on the shores of Crystal Lake and drive right by the ambulances that are even now being filled up with the bodies of the victims from Part 2. If it were me, and I were going to vacation in a spot where there had just recently been a string of murders and they hadn't even caught the killer yet...well, I'd be looking for a new vacation spot pretty quickly. Not these kids, though -- they blissfully arive at their destination, seemingly unaware that anything out of the ordinary had ever happened.
From this point on, the movie slowly and painfully goes through the motions of a slasher film without ever once trying to develop a plot. I was drifting in and out during this movie, and even though I was taking notes as I commonly do for movies I expect to review for this page, I didn't once write down anything worth mentioning except for the sequence and means of everyone's death and the more blatant failed 3D effects, which I will now list:
It seemed like every single one of those 3D effects was the focal point of the scene it was in, and many times (such as the Yo-yo and juggling scenes) the effect was the reason for the scene. And I know I missed some of them, because I really wasn't looking for them -- I only listed the most blatant, obvious ones.
The worst part about this movie, besides its non-existent plot, terrible characterization, stupid 3D gimmicks, bad acting, lame 70s style soundtrack, and overall stupidity, is the ending. I didn't even pretend to follow what was going on. I'm not even sure if the killer was revealed to be someone other than Jason or not -- Jason's mask comes off, and it looks to me like the man under the mask is the crazy old man the kids meet in the beginning. But by the end, this all turns out to (apparently) have been a delusion of the lone survivor. Whatever. I can't recommend this movie to anyone.
This movie has but one "redeeming" feature. This is the movie where Jason first dons his trademark hockey mask, which he picks up from one of his victims. (Jason isn't the killer in the first movie, and he wears a stupid flour sack over his head during the second.) The scene where Jason walks out of the barn wearing the mask for the first time is the only scene in the movie I actually liked. And I only liked that scene because of its "historical" value. For better or for worse, pop culture would never be the same after that scene -- the hockey mask is so tightly woven into our collective subconscious as a symbol of psychotic murder that even hockey players don't wear them anymore. Unless, of course, they want to look evil. And leave the back of their heads completely unprotected.
Scene to watch for: Rick gets his head squeezed.
Best line: "Where is this coming from?"
Things that make you go "Huh?": The ending.