Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 @ 5:58 am | DVD, Friday the 13th

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Tagline: Evil has finally found a home.
Released: 1993
Starring John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Erin Gray, Allison Smith, Steven Culp, Steven Williams, and Kane Hodder
Directed by Adam Marcus
Written by Jay Huguely, Adam Marcus, and Dean Lorey

Format: DVD
Distributed by New Line Home Video
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2002

Features:
Unrated and R-Rated versions
Widescreen presentation
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound
DTS Surround sound
Stereo Surround sound
English subtitles and closed captions
Filmmaker commentary with Director Adam Marcus and Screenwriter Dean Lorey
TV version alternate scenes
Scene selection
Original Theatrical Trailer

Premise: Jason Voorhees, the living breathing essence of evil, is back for another fierce fling. Tracked down and blown to bits by a special FBI task force, everyone now assumes that he’s finally dead. But everyone assumes wrong. Jason has been reborn with the bone-chilling ability to assume the identity of anyone he touches. The terrifying truth is he could be anywhere. Or anybody.

In this shocking, blood soaked installment to Jason’s carnage-ridden reign of terror, the secret of his unstoppable killing instinct is finally revealed. And once you know the chilling facts, you’ll see him your nightmares. And he’ll see you in hell!

Plot Breakdown (spoilers): In this supposed “final” chapter in the Friday series, Jason is allegedly destroyed after being blown to pieces in an FBI raid. However, Jason lives on by transferring his evil heart from one body to another, taking control of them in the process. The only way that Jason can reclaim his former glory is to possess the body of another Voorhees, leading him on a gory quest for his long-lost relatives. The secrets to bringing Jason down are guarded by bounty hunter Creighton Duke, who must pass these secrets on to Jason’s relatives before Jason can get to them himself.

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

The Good: Jason Goes to Hell has always been seen as the black sheep of the Friday series, for reasons which will be elaborated on later. However, like any decent slasher film, this one is not without its merits. The film makes up for the MPAA’s ruthless slash job on the last few entries by piling on a sizable chunk of gory and creative kills. If you can get your hands on the unrated DVD, you’ll be in for a real treat. Highlights include a girl being impaled and torn in half, and another poor sap who slowly melts into a gooey sludge. The requisite nudity is also here in spades. Suffice to say, one can’t deny that this movie doesn’t deliver the guilty pleasures that this series is known for.

The actors in this movie all deserve credit for doing their best with what they had. Special recognition goes to John D. LeMay, whose really sold me on his performance as a desperate father trying to protect his infant daughter from an unstoppable foe. Steven Williams also put in a solid performance as bounty hunter Creighton Duke, portraying the character with a perfect balance of over-the-top zeal and biting cynicism. Kane Hodder once again applies his ferocious mannerisms in portraying Jason as the furious juggernaut that he is, for what little time that he is present.

Harry Manfredini contributes his musical chops to the film’s score, which will be immediately recognizable to fans. Although the score does feel out of place given the film’s vast departure in tone from the previous entries, it helps add a layer of familiarity that ought to help remind viewers that yes, indeed, this is a Friday the 13th film that they are watching. The classic “chi chi chi” takes more of a backseat this time around, however.

Paramount could really learn something from New Line Cinema when it comes to DVD releases. While Paramount was stingy with their Friday the 13th DVD releases in relation to the unrated scenes fans have been clamoring for, New Line was generous enough to provide the unrated and R-rated versions of the film on one disc. The unrated version features a plethora of extended death scenes, along with an extended sex scene. We also get some scenes that were only included on the TV version of the film. Many of these scenes are rather mundane, such as extended dialogue scenes, but they are still interesting for curious completists.

The highlight of the DVD is the extremely entertaining commentary with Adam Marcus and Dean Lorey. These guys genuinely had a lot of fun making the film, and constantly provide all sorts of interesting background information on many of the films scenes, along with their amusing banter. These guys are definitely huge Jason fans, despite what detractors of the film may say.

The Bad: It’s hard to get into the downsides of this film, without first getting in to the films shrill and overblown plot. While the previous Friday films had some hints of the supernatural, this movie decided to take things to the next level with such things as body-hopping demons, a magic dagger, and the Necronomicon. These elements would not have been so obnoxious, if it weren’t for the fact that Jason appears in the flesh only twice during the entire film, both times having his ass handed to him in less than ten minutes. Jason spends the rest of the movie possessing different peoples’ bodies and killing fools. Essentially, Jason has to make cameo appearances in his own movie. To make matters worse, all of the best kills are perpetrated by Jason while he is in another body.

The character of Creighton Duke is one of the more puzzling aspects of this film. Despite the commendable performance of Steven Williams in the role, Duke is more of a plot device than a character. He plays the part of the token supernatural thriller “know-it-all”, possessing an unusually detailed and extensive knowledge of Jason’s family, background, and weaknesses. How exactly does he know all of this? Does he have a connection of some sort to Jason? Are he and Jason friends on MySpace? Duke having a previous encounter with Jason is hinted at but never elaborated upon. If Duke was replaced with Tommy Jarvis, the character’s inexplicable knowledge of Jason Voorhees fun facts would be easier to believe.

Final Thoughts: Despite many of my gripes with this film, the whole thing is not a complete bust. If seen as a fast-paced and violent supernatural thriller, it can actually be quite enjoyable. However, hardcore Friday the 13th fans will be infuriated by the many liberties the film takes with the Jason mythos.
Grade: C (film) | B+ (DVD release)

– by contributing reviewer Chris Neville

 

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    One Response to “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday”

    1. Julia Marbry Says:

      I just saw fri. the 13th in Jackson, TN. Was that a new one? If so, what was it called?

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