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All Friday the 13th Movies Ranked (From Worst to Best)

All Friday the 13th Movies Ranked (From Worst to Best)

Morgan Olson

Whether you’re new to the franchise or a long-time fan, here are all Friday the 13th Movies, ranked from worst to best.


Happy Friday the 13th! Well, not actually, but during this quarantine we have lost track of time… So, grab a hockey mask and a machete (or chainsaw, corkscrew, cleaver, ice pick, speargun, axe, or even a fence post) and let’s get to it. Fair warning, these are my (very) subjective takes and judging from researched rankings, you will disagree with this list. A final note, all of the entries below are the original versions of each respective film, while there are bootleg/retconned versions of some of these, this ranking is looking only at the original releases of each.


12. JASON X

(2001)

Director: Jim Isaac
Writer: Todd Farmer
Cinematographer: Derick V. Underschultz
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews jason x
Kane Hodder in Jason X (New Line Cinema)

If so-bad-they’re-good movies are your deal, you’re welcome for the introduction. Described by Todd Farmer as the only pitch he presented for moving the franchise forward, Jason X certainly did take the series in an unexpected direction. Yet, for as radical a concept as placing the slasher supreme in future-space is, Jason X is functionally a poor parody of prior installments. Featuring an over-reliance on homages (Blade Runner – 1983, Solaris – 1976, Alien – 1979), purposefully awkward sex-scenes, atrocious acting, stale production work, and rampant, low-budget CGI, the overall film is a rather dull affair. However, there are some merits: Kane Hodder’s Jason is always enjoyable, and his cryogenic head-smash kill is a series highlight. Lisa Ryder’s role as KM-14 is also quite fun, but undoubtedly, this is my least favorite entry.

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11. FRIDAY THE 13TH

(2009)

Director: Marcus Nispel
Writers: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Cinematographer: Daniel Pearl
Composer: Steve Jablonsky

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th 2009
Derek Mears in Friday the 13th (Paramount Pictures)

With director Marcus Nispel, responsible for the dreadful Conan the Barbarian (2011) reboot, and producers Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form, whom all possess a myriad history of critically panned horror reboots (A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ­– 2003, The Amityville Horror – 2005), at the helm, this film was doomed from the start. Stuck between a remake, a reboot, and loose origin story, Friday the 13th is an awkward, soulless affair. The campy, black comedy tone of the prior films is noticeably absent, leaving us with only unlikeable, obnoxiously written characters that Bay excels at churning out; It’s genuinely difficult not to laugh at some of the dialogue, “your t*ts are stupendous… you’ve got perfect nipple placement”. Jason himself has been rebranded from a supernatural, lumbering zombie to a faster, trap-setting, and territorial killer. And aside from the accompanying, above-average sound work of Jason’s heavy footsteps and the scrape of his unsheathed machete, the reboot is immediately forgettable. It’s exactly what you would expect from a 2000’s reboot of a beloved, horror franchise that simply functions as a poor version of the greatest hits: visually bland and over-reliant on licensed music, stock jump-scares, and worthless homages.

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10. FRIDAY THE 13TH

(1980)

Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Writers: Victor Miller, Ron Kurz (uncredited)
Cinematographer: Barry Abrams
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th 1980
Ari Lehman & Adrienne King in Friday the 13th (Paramount Pictures)

And this is where this ranking loses most franchise fans… But, truth be told, the original has not aged well. It’s so blatantly padded and unenergetic, and considering it was made for double the budget of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1982) which premiered just two years after, it’s embarrassing how sluggish and anemic it feels. While Jason is featured as the final jump-scare (which was a last-minute, joint effort from Tom Savini, Victor Miller, and Ron Kurz), the killer in Friday the 13th is largely limited to a mysterious, POV perspective until the surprise twist. The true killer, Jason’s mother as Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), is memorably maniac in her brief screen time and the motherly murderer twist is iconic, but overall the film is rather stale. While many horror fanatics tout it as one of the best horror movies of all time, this is a case of legacy substituting for quality.

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9. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING

(1985)

Director: Danny Steinmann
Writers: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, Danny Steinmann
Cinematographer: Stephen L. Posey
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th a new beginning
John Shepherd & Tom Morga in Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (Paramount Pictures)

Your eyes don’t deceive, yes, Part 5: A New Beginning is ranking above the original. Now, this isn’t to say that its anything but mediocre at best, or that the paramedic murderer twist works (because it’s a mostly ineffective reveal), but however narrowly, it still beats out the original. Jason’s nightmarish resurrection is a blast, and the first time the series dabbles in gothic imagery. And while the true Jason is relegated to jump-scare hallucinations and dream sequences courtesy of the older, franchise favorite Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman & John Shepard), his backstage protégé is still a creative and resourceful murderer. While it doesn’t do it many favors, Part 5: A New Beginning is virtually a horror comedy. Though it’s stuffed with trite, stereotypical characters, a lackluster plot that doesn’t give older Tommy much to do, and is truly, truly sleazy, there is meager fun to be had with Part 5: A New Beginning.

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8. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN

(1989)

Director: Rob Hedden
Writer: Rob Hedden
Cinematographer: Bryan England
Composer: Fred Mollin

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th jason takes manhattan
Kane Hodder in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Paramount Pictures)

Being the campiest entry in the Friday the 13th series is no small feat, and Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, is just that. It’s absolutely full of low-budget 1980’s cheese, amusing effects work, and ghostly lighting compositions, though it remains a tonal mess. Unfortunately, Jason does spend most of the runtime stalking amidst a boat instead of running rampant on the streets. However, the denizens of the boat are entertaining enough, and this entry does feature one of the series more memorable side-villains with Peter Mark Richman as Charles McCulloch. Once Jason is let loose on the streets, it’s a full-stop, ridiculous romp. Even though the MPAA were heavy handed with doling out censorships to this entry, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan manages some creative and hilarious kills.

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7. FREDDY VS JASON

(2003)

Director: Ronny Yu
Writer: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Cinematographer: Fred Murphy
Composer: Graeme Revell

Loud and clear reviews Freddy vs Jason
Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger in Freddy vs. Jason (Everett Collection)

The actual final entry before the dreaded reboots of each respective horror icon, Freddy vs. Jason is a distinctly early 2000’s affair. Featuring stock, fake-out jump scares, horrid CG, and ugly color grading, it’s quick pace and concept alone carry it to success. Of all the entries on this list, Freddy vs. Jason certainly tries the hardest to entertain at all times. And while Jason was recast with Ken Kirzinger instead of veteran Kane Hodder, Kirzinger does the towering character justice. Freddy Kruger fares far worse, and though Robert Englund’s final performance as the titular villain is unanimously great, Freddy’s dialogue is obnoxiously offensive and insensitive (yes, even more so than prior iterations). When it’s used, the practical effects work is impressive and it’s hard to deny the joy of watching two legendary horror figures duel it out to tracks from Killswitch Engage, Sevendust, and Slipknot- “You’ve got Freddy out and now he’s fighting Jason, what more do you want?!”. Apparently, not much more.

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6. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II

(1981)

Director: Steve Miner
Writer: Ron Kurz
Cinematographer: Peter Stein
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th part II
Steve Dash in Friday the 13th Part 2 (Paramount Pictures)

After the original Friday the 13th’s director, Sean S. Cunningham, declined to return for subsequent sequels, the mantle was passed to former associate producer Steve Miner. Following the suggestion of producers, Miner resurrected and rebranded Jason as the series’ next killer, setting the stage for the future. Jason’s new presence as a hulking, hooded figure does lend more tension to Friday the 13th Part II’s atmosphere than his mother’s previous off-screen killings. And, a few of the kills are fairly gruesome as well, with a double impalement as the standout scene. Though, what truly sets this entry above the rest is final girl Ginny Field (Amy Steel), who’s one of the more resourceful and likeable survivors in the whole franchise. Ginny’s discovery of Jason’s altar, replete with his mother’s severed head, and the subsequent, climatic standoff that ensues set the bar high for the following entries.

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5. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III

(1982)

Director: Steve Miner
Writers: Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson, Petru Popescu (uncredited)
Cinematographer: Gerald Feil
Composer: Harry Manfredini & Michael Zager

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th part III
Richard Brooker in Friday the 13th Part III (Paramount Pictures)

Steve Miner returns again for Friday the 13th Part III, marking the first appearance of Jason’s now legendary hockey mask. Since actress Amy Steel, the final girl of Friday the 13th Part II, declined to return, Miner and crew decided to introduce an all new cast. Most notably, Friday the 13th Part III uses a lot of 3D effects and, surprisingly, employs them quite well – eyeballs beware. The acting overall is improved, with Larry Zerner and Dana Kimmell providing solid performances. Lastly, series veteran composer Harry Manfredini and associate Michael Zager also update the series’ theme with some disco layering, helping the material lean futher into black comedy. However, this new disco theme and the frankly comical 3D don’t entirely damper Jason’s viciousness and he remains a terrifying threat throughout. Ultimately, Friday the 13th Part III strikes an excellent balance between fun and fright.

See Also

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4. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD

(1988)

Director: John Carl Buechler
Writers: Manuel Fidello, Daryl Haney       
Cinematographer: Paul Elliott
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th the new blood
Kane Hodder in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount Pictures)

A peculiar entry, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is basically Jason vs. Carrie (1976). Tina (played well by Lar Park Lincoln), is the lead girl, gifted with repressed psychokinetic abilities. Still harboring guilt over accidently killing her father, Tina returns to the lake-house where it all happened and accidently resurrects Jason from his watery grave. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood has hands down, the best iteration of Jason- a fractured mask exposing facial rot infested with maggots, this is the most menacing and terrifying Jason has ever been. Aesthetics aside, the practical effects are the most extensive of the series. And with Tina, Jason meets possibly his one true match in the franchise. Frustratingly, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood was plagued with censorship pitfalls, and though the kills are still visceral and gruesome, it’s noticeably neutered at times. Still, this is a fantastic entry- gut-churningly detailed, creative, and grisly.

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3. JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY

(1993)

Director: Adam Marcus
Writers: Jay Huguely, Dean Lorey
Cinematographer: Bill Dill
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews jason goes to hell
Kane Hodder in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (New Line Cinema)

Yes, it has to be said, that Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is an underrated gem. While technically, Jason (in his usual form) only has about 5 minutes of screen time and the new twists to the Voorhees mythology are nonsensical and convoluted, it’s still a blast. Like so many latter entries, this iteration is basically another mashup conceptual, as Jason is now killing through demonic possession, body-snatching anyone and everyone in his way towards continuing his bloodline through familial sacrifice… wow, have we come a long way since summer-camp serial killings. And speaking of killing, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday boasts a record kill count for the series (tied with Jason X) that makes full use of nearly every kill. Newcomer Creighton Duke (Steven William), is a wonderfully smooth, cowboy bounty-hunter and together with the believably frightened protagonist, Steven Freeman (John LeMay), make a fantastic team. The effects work is brilliant and there’re clear homages to both John Carpenter and Sam Raimi’s work sprinkled throughout, plus, a perfect teaser ending that sets up Jason vs. Freddy!

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2. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES

(1986)

Director: Tom McLoughlin
Writer: Tom McLoughlin
Cinematographer: Jon Kranhouse
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th jason lives
C.J. Graham in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (Paramount Pictures)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is the series at its most self-aware and self-reflexive. Opening with a James Bond-esque title card and featuring priceless, original songs by Alice Cooper, director Tom McLoughlin’s entry is a perfect spoof of the franchise itself. No doubt, Jason is still a deadly force. This is the first entry to transform him into a resurrected, supernatural, and unkillable killer. Yet, McLoughlin also has outright fun with his characters and kills. There’s less sleaze and more comedy that actually lands. With quick pacing, a re-imagined and more powerful Jason, and likeable leads, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is nearly the best of the series.

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1. FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER

(1984)

Director: Joseph Zito
Writer: Barney Cohen
Cinematographer: Joāo Fernandes
Composer: Harry Manfredini

Loud and clear reviews Friday the 13th the final chapter
Ted White in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Paramount Pictures)

You knew this was coming… Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is easily the best of the whole series. Jason’s place in pop-culture was likely already canonized by Friday the 13th Part III, but in The Final Chapter, Jason just feels, perfect. Stuck uncertainly between an outright supernatural being and a realistic killer, Jason is downright ferocious in this entry- an unfeeling, unflinching mass of vengeful rage. Director Joseph Zito is also clearly obsessed with having Jason break anything and everything he can (doors, windows, walls, etc…), it creates consistent tension throughout knowing that our characters are never truly safe. Speaking of characters, Corey Feldman is perfect as Tommy Jarvis, striking that uneasy balance between just being a strange child and possibly sharing too many uncanny similarities with Jason himself. Legendary makeup artist Tom Savini, one of the original creators of Jason, returns again to kill his darling with spectacularly detailed effects work. This film was also the last entry to slip by censorship boards relatively untrimmed. With brutal black comedy, incredible effects, a stellar cast, and the second best iterations of Jason (and his potential apprentice), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a horror masterpiece.

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