Director: Joseph Zito
Writer: Barney Cohen (Story by Bruce Hidemi Sakow)
Starring: Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, Corey Feldman, E. Erich Anderson, Crispin Glover, Alan Hayes, Barbara Howard, Lawrence Monoson, Joan Freeman, Judie Aronson, Camilla and Carey More
The fourth Friday the 13th film was subtitled The Final Chapter to mark the death of Jason and the end of the series, while also being a marketing ploy at the same time. After a declining box office and lowering interest in slasher films, the idea was to kill Jason off. Paramount also liked the idea of calling it the final film from a marketing angle, thinking that it would bring a bigger box office. The plan worked and the film made enough money for the series continued for years afterwards with six more entries to the main series, a spin-off and a remake in the years since.
Like the previous three films The Final Chapter is about a group of teenagers going to Crystal Lake for a weekend getaway and Jason slowly murders them one by one. It starts with a recap of the series so far, making this feel like the ending as it goes through the highlights of each of the previous film. It feels more like an event than a standard sequel. After the recap, the opening of the film picks up exactly where the third one ends, with Jason’s body being moved to the hospital with everyone thinking he’s dead. Surprise! He’s not. Jason gets up in the hospital, with a pretty cool sequence, and murders his way out of there.
The group of new characters are almost all completely bland and interchangeable. None of them feel like anything more than fodder for Jason to work his way through. The scenes with them just hanging out are so mind-numbingly dull it’s painful to sit through, apart from Crispin Glover’s dance moves which are genuinely funny. There’s so much unnecessary nudity that just makes the film feel cheap. Maybe if you’re a thirteen-year-old boy the lead up to the killings will be entertaining, but for anyone older than that it’s just a real struggle to get through. Even when Jason starts killing them, it’s hard to care. There’s nothing scary about it or even jumpy.
The characters that actually feel more developed aren’t even part of the group on their weekend getaway. It’s the family who live opposite the holiday home that are more interesting, Trish (Kimberly) and Tommy (Corey Feldman). Tommy is obsessed with effects and animatronics, and also manages to make it through to the end to give a pretty creepy final scene. Trish handles her own against Jason, fighting back more than most other characters. The other good character is Rob (E. Erich Anderson) who has travelled to the lake specifically to find and kill Jason. His character is wasted, but at least he’s more interesting than the main group of teenagers/future body count.
The effects are a strange one. On the one-hand they’re really well done, especially when you watch some of the special features that shows them slowed down, but during the film it’s often hard to make out what’s happening. They’re quick, and before you really know what’s happening they’re over. Tom Savini re-joined the series to help with he effects, wanting to give an end to Jason and he does just that. While every effect seems to happen at lightning speed, Jason’s death is slow and brutal. It’s the best moment of the film and the most blood curdling. One of the highlights of the series for sure.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a real mixed bag. It sticks to the formula and gives everything you’d expect from a slasher sequel. It’s not a very good slasher film, but it is what it is. It’s braindead entertainment.
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