You're All Doomed! The Friday The 13th Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Over the past week, I've been revisiting the Friday the 13th series with one simple, stupid goal: I was going to rank every single person killed by Jason Voorhees (and his fellow murderers) in the entire series. There turned out to be 181 of them and I ranked them here and here.

But throughout the process, other questions kept cropping up: which Friday the 13th movie is your favorite? How would you rank them? Is The New Blood really worse than Jason Takes Manhattan? So, in the interest of laying it all on the table, here is the completely correct and scientifically accurate ranking of every movie in the Friday the 13th series.

friday the 13th movies ranked freddy vs jason

Not ranked: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

After a lot of back and forth, I have decided to not include Freddy vs. Jason in the official Friday the 13th ranking. Not because it's a bad movie (it's pretty good and often very fun), but because it's not really a Friday the 13th movie. Sure, Jason Voorhees is a main character and he racks up quite the body count, but it terms of structure and tone, this is very much A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 8, which just so happens to guest star the other most famous horror movie villain to emerge from the '80s. It's a perfectly fine Nightmare movie, one that does a good job of toning down Freddy Krueger's more obnoxious antics, but it is far too divergent from what makes a Friday the 13th movie a Friday the 13th movie truly to rank here.

friday the 13th movies ranked jason goes to hell

11. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

The second time the Friday the 13th series promised a final chapter (only to deliver more sequels), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is structured as if this was going to be the last time we'd see our favorite hockey masked undead serial murderer, which makes its sins all the more insulting. Rather than just roll with the series' charming improvisatory style (and then this happens and then this happens), the film bends over backward to explain why Jason Voorhees cannot die – he's actually an immortal demon that can jump between bodies and resurrect in his true form under the right circumstances. The "final" Jason movie barely features any Jason at all as he takes over a series of bodies on a road trip back to Crystal Lake, which could've been forgivable if the movie weren't so dimly lit and so littered with uninspired characters and set pieces. It's not enough that Jason Goes to Hell goes out of its way to clutter up the reliably simple Friday the 13th mythos. It's also really boring.

friday the 13th movies ranked the new blood

10. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

The story goes that Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood found itself under fire by the MPAA and was forced to remove almost all of its onscreen violence, reducing a gnarly slasher movie into a tame, almost PG-13 affair. I'm not sure if a healthy serving of gore would fix this movie's underutilized high-concept premise (it's Jason versus Carrie, basically) or its monotonous characters, but it certainly doesn't help that this is a Friday the 13th movie where the kills (the reason people watch these movies in the first place!) are so very boring. But the whole movie feels tired, especially after the energetic sixth film, and it's quite clear that the series needed some kind of shake-up at this point. There are Friday the 13th movies that make more baffling decisions and fall a little harder on their faces, but this is the only one that feels downright lethargic.

friday the 13th movies ranked jason takes manhattan

9. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

I'll say this much about the oft-maligned eighth film in the series: it certainly isn't boring! Baffling and stupid and incoherent and completely unaware of the laws that govern space, time, and matter, but not boring! Despite the title, only the final act takes place in New York City, with the bulk of the film essentially boiling down to Jason Takes a Cruise Ship Full of Obnoxious Teens. But the film really comes alive with charming stupidity once the survivors reach the Big Apple, a land of dark alleys, broken buildings, gang members borrowed from Tim Burton's Batman, and random barrels of green goo on every street corner. Did you know that toxic waste floods the sewers beneath Manhattan every night at midnight? And that said toxic waste can transform a murderous zombie hillbilly into his younger, more innocent self? Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is one of the stupidest horror movies every made and I can't help admire its spunk.

Every Friday the 13th Kill

8. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

If you ask someone who has never seen a Friday the 13th movie to describe the series, they'd probably describe Friday the 13th Part III. This is where the final pieces fell into place to create the template that has pierced larger pop culture awareness. The woodsy, lakeside setting is still prominent. Jason finally gets his hockey mask. The victims are a fine mixture of local hicks, ditzes, nerds, and stoners. There's something classical about the whole thing – it exists as a perfect artifact of everything this series represents as a whole. But as a movie, it's not especially good. Many of Jason's kills are fairly uninspired, the characters rarely stand out enough to make you care about their impending demises, and the film frequently goes on bizarre tangents to help pad out the running time. I personally get a kick out of the various objects and weapons flying at the screen (the film was originally projected in 3D), but there's no denying that it renders sequences hokey rather than effective.

friday the 13th movies ranked a new beginning

7. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

Quite possibly the most underrated film in the entire series, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning continues to receive a lot of flak because it's the one without Jason. Since the lead villain of this series was killed in the previous movie (he got better in time for part six), this one introduces a mystery: who is wearing a hockey mask and committing a series of Jason Voorhees copycat murders? The answer who make you yell "Wait, who's that guy?" but it's intriguing for a little while and a nice throwback to the original film and its Agatha Christie/And Then There Were None roots. While the film does botch its central mystery, it's a perfectly engaging and wholly entertaining slasher movie, even without a proper Jason Voorhees at the center. The homestretch, where our lead heroine does battle with faux-Jason in the middle of a raging storm, is very possibly the best climax in the entire series.

friday the 13th movies ranked jason x

6. Jason X (2001)

Jason X sounds like a terrible idea, but that's part of its plucky charm – it's so stupid that it just might work! And it works far better than you'd expect, especially since the movie is so keenly aware of exactly what it is and plants its tongue firmly in cheek. The mere premise is enough to make some eyes roll and inspire a cackle: Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen and awakened 450 years later by a class of college students visiting the wasteland planet called Earth. Naturally, they bring their newfound artifact back on board their spaceship, where he thaws out and proceeds to start murdering everyone. It's preposterous and the film's budget often hampers some of the more ambitious set pieces, but it's genuinely funny and intelligently stupid. It knows you're going to laugh and damn it, it leans into the comedy something fierce.friday the 13th movies ranked friday the 13th

5. Friday the 13th (1980)

The original Friday the 13th often gets reduced to a footnote because it's the one without Jason, but that's a little unfair. Sure, the iconic lead character wouldn't take center stage until the sequel, but the first film is an effective, trashy little chiller that sets out to shock and disgust and succeeds with aplomb. Since the franchise hasn't settled into a comfortable formula by this point, the first film can't help but feel fresh, especially when compared to the later sequels it inspired. It's very much a mystery (who is killing off these camp counselors and why?) and Tom Savini's make-up effects set a high standard that the rest of the series struggles to meet. Those looking for a silly hack 'n' slash romp should look elsewhere – this is a slow-burning horror tale that feels like it emerged from a campfire storytelling session.

Friday The 13th

4. Friday the 13th (2009)

The 2009 remake of Friday the 13th is the slick, stylish, and funny shot in the arm this series had been demanding for 20 years. Retelling the basic events of the original three films, this is a movie that is well-aware of the public perception of Jason Voorhees, ready and willing to give the people what they want and subvert expectations in equal measure. Jason himself is no longer a lumbering titan, but a lean and crafty backwoods survivalist who moves like a panther and thinks like a guerrilla. His victims, while still broadly sketched, are a likable bunch who stand out as the overall best pack of fresh meat this series has ever seen. The kills, while outrageous enough to get a midnight crowd hooting and hollering, are vicious enough to leave you dizzy. This movie is a total blast.

friday the 13th movies ranked friday the 13th part 2

3. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Pre-hockey mask Jason is one hell of a thing. He's weirdly human (you can kick him in the groin and he tumbles right over), he wears a bag over his head to disguise his hideous features, and so on. But like his later incarnations, he's capable of shattering the laws of physics. While later movies utilize a "teleporting" Jason as a crutch to get around actually staging proper chase sequences, Friday the 13th Part 2 upends reality in ways that are often troubling and effective. Jason kills from impossible angles, appearing from off-camera in ways that his victim (and us) should have seen coming. While this could be frustrating, the result is something compelling and queasy, feeling more like a nightmare than anything else. There's an artfulness to the violence in Part 2 that is missing in almost every subsequent film, making this the rare Friday the 13th film to actually feel uncomfortable.

friday the 13th movies ranked the final chapter

2. Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)

After sitting out parts two and three, make-up genius Tom Savini returns to kill off Jason and that makes all the difference in the world. Every death in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter is gruesome, with each one seemingly trying to top the one that came before it. It's a smorgasbord of violent delights, a mic drop that reverberates through the eight subsequent movies. While the practical effects are a key component to making this one work, the film surrounding those gruesome set pieces works, too. The victims are a varied bunch, more capably acted than most, and the rainy, nighttime setting does wonders for atmosphere. Perhaps most important is the introduction of Tommy Jarvis, the young horror buff who manages to do what so many teenagers have failed to do: kill Jason Voorhees. If Part III is the purest distillation of the Friday the 13th formula, Part IV is the best-executed version of it.

friday the 13th movies ranked jason lives

1. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

When it came time to rank these films, I struggled with the number one spot. Do I pick the movie that is best at being a Friday the 13th movie or do I pick the movie that I'd sooner watch again, right now? I went with the latter. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is less of a film and more of a party, a celebration of the series that indulges the audience in just about every way. There isn't much of a story here. For the most part, it's just Jason Voorhees (now a zombie re-animated by lightning) wandering through a series of vignettes, where he encounters various groups of quickly sketched characters and ruthlessly dispatches them. It helps that the victims in these vignettes tend to be very entertaining and it helps that the film never gets lazy with their demises, consistently finding clever ways to kill them off. And most of all, it helps that the film is very much a horror comedy in the same vein as Evil Dead 2 and Braindead, going for the laugh just as often as it goes for the scare. Jason Lives is more of a reaction to the previous movies than a continuation, but there's no denying the love it has in its heart for Jason and the slasher genre in general.