Though Halloween kicked off the slasher genre, Friday the 13thpopularized it. Friday the 13th is easily one of the most iconic horror franchises of all time. Featuring Jason Voorhees as a hockey-masked killer, the film ushered in a slew of sequels, reboots, and imitators, and even games looking to cash in on the franchise. However, despite the common adage that sequels are never good, there are a lot of great installments in the series. However, other entries might be worth skipping unless you’re a completionist. The following list will exclude the 2009 reboot, which is not canon in the franchise. This is the Friday the 13th movies ranked from worse to best!
11) Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Out of all the Friday the 13th Movies ranked, Jason Goes to Hell is an easy pick for the bottom. Indeed, the film should be much better, considering that it claims to be the “Final Friday”. Unfortunately, Jason Goes to Hell is as dull and lifeless as the bodies Jason leaves in his wake. It barely qualifies as a Friday the 13th film. One of the big sins of the film is that the movie introduces new character mythology that neither fits in with the original nor enhances the previous installments.
This would be fine if the movie itself was entertaining. However, Jason Goes to Hell is a bore. Jason doesn’t make much of an appearance in it. Instead, we are stuck with paper-thin characters and a self-serious ‘90s aesthetic that’s a drag to watch. Additionally, the kills are lackluster and the plot is just a retread of previous films.
10) Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Despite a promising premise, the biggest flaw with Jason Takes Manhattan is that he spends very little time in Manhattan. Instead, we see the hockey-masked killer spend most of his time on a boat. Due to budget constraints, the movie spends most of the time having Jason kill off teens on The Lazarus.
The majority of the time is spent with generic characters as the film spins its wheels with familiar scenarios and lackluster kills. When the crew finally gets to New York, the film opts to have their characters wander around a generic shipyard instead of exploring the city. Sure, the scene of Jason walking through Times Square is iconic. But it’s a short-lived shot in a movie that refuses to deliver on its premise.
9) Jason X
Some lists tasked with compiling the Friday the 13th films ranked may put Jason X in last place. After all, the premise of Jason is space seems like a sure harbinger of a franchise running on fumes. However, Jason X has its moments. While riddled with terrible CGI that qualifies as an eyesore, the film features one of the most memorable deaths of the franchise: the liquid nitrogen death scene.
But aside from the unintentional campiness and the aforementioned icy death, there’s not much to recommend this time around. The characters are generic, the pacing is very slow, and the filmmaking is shoddy at best. There’s a better film in here, one that leans into the parody elements a little more. However, as it stands, Jason X’s blend of sci-fi, parody, and horror falls flat.
8) Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is a movie that fans refer to as Carrie Vs. Jason. The film features a final girl who inexplicably has telekinetic powers. The ensuing showdown between her and Jason is entertaining in its own right. However, it takes a while to get there.
In the meantime, viewers must sit through generic characters, a lot of melodrama, and a surprisingly low amount of kills. While the film is notable for being iconic stuntman Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason, the film ultimately suffers from a half-baked premise. Despite this, the last 20 minutes are worth a watch, even if the film is just going through the motions until the final showdown.
7) Freddy Vs. Jason
We all wish that this Friday the 13th crossover event ranked higher. When Freddy Vs. Jason came out, it was an event. Finally, viewers could see the most iconic horror villains duke it out on the big screen. However, instead of bringing together the best of both franchises, the much-hyped crossover felt more like a cheap gimmick.
The biggest problem in this installment is that there are too many scenes with the teenagers and not enough Freddy or Jason. This is a problem common in a lot of crossover films. The billed event, Freddy fighting Jason, is entertaining when it finally makes an appearance. But their presence makes about a combined 20 minutes of the film.
Terrible CGI and obnoxious choppy slow-motion visual effects also brought the movie down. In addition, the movie features some of the most superficial characters that have ever graced the franchise.
6) Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
We all knew that The Final Chapter wasn’t going to be the final chapter. Fortunately, this installment proved that the franchise was worth revisiting. The film benefits from the direction of Joseph Zito, who demonstrates a fantastic sense of directorial flair with derivative material. Indeed, the kills in A New Beginning balance brutality and fun in a way that gives viewers exactly what they want out of a Friday the 13th movie.
The film takes a unique smutty and gratuitous approach to the hang-out scenes that helps establish a comedic sensibility that would carry over into some of the higher-ranked films on this list. Indeed, the characters are very memorable. Unlike many installments in this franchise, the downtime between kills offers a level of entertainment that films like Jason Goes to Hell lacked.
5) Friday the 13th Part 2
Often when the Friday the 13th films get ranked, Part 2 is placed higher than part 1. When it comes down to it, Friday the 13th Part 2 is just the first film redone, with the addition of Jason. No, he doesn’t wear his mask in this one. Instead, Jason wears a sack with eye-holes. While some people dislike that Jason isn’t wearing a hockey mask in this entry, there’s a lot to love here. The film has some of the most vivid characters of the franchise. Director Steve Miner has a great handle on what made the first film work and improves upon it with solid world-building.
Indeed, this film is, in many ways, better than the first, even if it is less iconic. The movie is chock-full of memorable death sequences that take from the Italian horror film tradition, including a memorable scene involving a spear.
4) Friday the 13th
When you’re ranking the Friday the 13th films, some say that you can’t beat the original. While the first legendary installment does not rank as the highest on this list, it’s very compelling in its own right. Indeed, it’s hard to overstate the sheer moral panic that Friday the 13th ushered in. The film itself became a foundation that which all other slashers were built upon. The film is widely regarded for starting one of the most popular franchises of all time, introducing the world to Jason Voorhees.
The catch, of course, is that Jason is not in this movie until the end. He doesn’t even serve as the chief antagonist. The billion of this movie is instead Jason’s mother, who takes it upon herself to kill campers at Camp Crystal Lake. Sure, it’s a bit of a knock-off, but there’s something undeniably efficient about the original that struck a chord with imitators everywhere.
3) Friday the 13th Part III
Of the all Friday the 13th films ranked, part three earns a top spot for simply being the first film to introduce Jason with his iconic hockey mask on. The third installment is a vicious installment that features brutal kills and good ’80s camp in equal doses. The film came out in 3D, leading to a bevy of goofy shots that were meant to tantalize theater-goers. Some of these shots include a joint being “passed to the audience” and an eye-popping kill that features an eye launched from its socket.
In all senses, this film shows Jason working at full capacity. Add a fantastic atmosphere and plot that kicks into high gear around the third act, and you have a formidable entry that provides plenty of kills.
2) Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Jason Lives stands among the films as the best attempt at the self-parody formula that began to take hold of the franchise in part 3. Filled to the brim with great gags and self-aware characters, Jason Lives embodies the best of a franchise that most people thought would never make it this far. It’s one of the best-looking films in the series, with dynamic shots and atmosphere to spare.
The movie has one of the most iconic opening scenes and maintains a razor-sharp pace that never gets dull. The strong characterization, especially with Tommy and Megan, keeps the story engaging.
1) Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Out of all the Friday the 13th movies ranked, The Final Chapter is the go-to film to watch if you don’t want to sit through the whole series. This entry features a well-rounded cast, including a dancing Crispin Glover, and strong characterization. This is the film that set the standard for Friday the 13th as a series. The film features incredible gore makeup, endearing characters, and a dynamic plot that never bores.