A New Beginning departs from the Camp Crystal Lake setting and Voorhees-themed mystery of the previous four installments, instead acting as a psychological horror film set at a fictional halfway house in Pennsylvania. It was supposed to set up a new trilogy of films with a different villain for the series. However, after A New Beginning ’s disappointing reception from fans and steep decline in box-office receipts from The Final Chapter, Jason Voorhees was brought back for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and has been the main antagonist in every entry in the series since.
The film stars John Shepherd as Tommy Jarvis, the heroic boy from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) who killed Jason Voorhees, and a series of similar murders surrounding the halfway house he currently resides at. Shepherd replaces Corey Feldman, who played Tommy in The Final Chapter, although Feldman makes a cameo appearance in the film’s prologue.
The film opens with a young Tommy Jarvis stumbling upon a graveyard while walking through the woods on a rainy night, where he witnesses two grave robbers digging up the corpse of Jason Voorhees. Jason rises from the grave and murders the grave robbers before advancing towards Tommy.
Awakening from his nightmare, teenager Tommy arrives at Pinehurst Halfway House after Jason attacked him and his sister Trish and killed their mother. The director Pam introduces Tommy to the head doctor Matt, and in his assigned room, he meets Reggie, a boy whose grandfather George works as the kitchen cook. Other teens introduced are Robin, goth Violet, shy Jake, short-tempered Vic and compulsive eater Joey. The sheriff brings two more residents, nymphomaniac lovers Tina and Eddie, after catching them having sex on neighbor Ethel Hubbard’s lawn. Neighbors Ethel Hubbard and her son Junior show up and threaten to have the house closed down if the teens do not stop sneaking onto their property.
Afterward, Vic kills Joey with an ax and is subsequently arrested. Attending ambulance drivers Duke and Roy Burns discover the body. Roy is devastated and angered by Duke’s light attitude regarding the murder. That night, punks Pete and Vinnie are murdered by an unseen assailant after their car breaks down. The following night, Billy and his friend Lana are killed with an ax. Panic begins to ensue, but the mayor refuses the sheriff’s claim that somehow Jason Voorhees has returned.
The next day, more murders occur when Tina and Eddie sneak off into the woods. Ethel’s farmhand Raymond is killed while spying on the two having sex. While Eddie leaves go wash off in the creek, Tina is murdered. Eddie returns to find her dead and is also killed. Tommy and Pam accompany Reggie to visit Reggie’s older brother Demon and his girlfriend Anita. While there, Junior has a fight with Tommy, and he runs off when Pam tries to stop it. After Reggie and Pam leave, Demon and Anita are murdered. At the Hubbard farm, Ethel and Junior are murdered.
Pam leaves Reggie at the halfway house to look for Tommy. After Reggie falls asleep, the killer enters and murders Jake, Robin, and Violet. Reggie awakens and discovers the dead bodies in Tommy’s room before running into Pam. Jason bursts into the house and chases them out into the rain, after discovering the bodies of Duke, Matt, and George. Pam rushes toward the barn, chased by Jason, but he is struck by a tractor driven by Reggie. They run into the barn and hide as Jason comes to find them. Tommy comes shortly after and believes Jason to be a hallucination until he is attacked by him. Together, they manage to get Jason to fall out of the loft window and he is killed on a harrow below. In the process, it is revealed that it was Roy Burns all along.
At the hospital, the sheriff tells Pam that Joey was Roy’s son, and after seeing him slaughtered he adopted Jason’s identity to kill everyone at the house. She goes to Tommy’s room who awakens and stabs her with a hidden machete before Tommy awakens to a hallucination of Jason. Facing his fears, he makes Jason’s illusion disappear. He hears Pam approaching and throws his bed through the window to make it look like he’s escaped. When she rushes in, he appears from behind the door, wearing Roy’s hockey mask and holding a knife and the screen cuts to black.