Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, just when you thought the sheer horribleness of Jason Takes Manhattan could not be surpassed, just when you thought it was safe, they make another one of these films and prove that no matter how bad things get, they can always get a lot, lot worse. While there might be a pinnacle for films, movies like this show that there simply is no bottom floor, no level at which bad movies stop.

Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder)—plot twist—returns once again, this time to kill some poor woman out in the middle of nowhere. In what has to be one of the most self-indulgent scenes of the series, she goes to take a shower, then hears something, sneaks out with only a towel around her and is chased down by Jason. Unfortunately for Jason, he’s chasing down a special agent who lures him into a trap where he is blown to bits by a swat team.

First off, why do you bait Jason by stripping down to nothing and taking a shower? Does he have some kind of tingling spider senses or supernatural ability that hasn’t been explained yet? Why not just wait until the inevitable group of teens show up? How do you derive that a hot shower and a hot girlwill summon Jason? And how do you know he won’t cut you off from the point where everyone is waiting?

That nonsense aside, where in the world did all these people come from and why didn’t they show up seven films ago? Did Jason’s trip to Manhattan finally wake up the world to the fact that there was a psychotic killer on the loose? Who thought this was a good idea? Who thought the kids would think this was cool? In any case, the film opens with a bang as Jason gets blown away, conveniently splitting up into nice chunks for the coroner.

But what’s a little explosion to a psychotic killer like Jason Voorhees?  While everyone else celebrates the demise of Jason Voorhees, Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) declares that Jason isn’t dead and that he will hunt him down for a hefty fee. What Duke knows that everyone else doesn’t is that Jason can jump into other people’s bodies and that’s how he’s stayed alive so long. Sure, it’s really hokey and comes out of nowhere, but it sets up what could be an interesting idea, especially when Duke suggests anyone could be Jason.

The problem is that Jason has no sense of restraint or self-control. At the first opportunity, he uses his newfound body to kill. All you have to do is watch out for the guy with blood all over him and a piercing gaze. This makes for a lot of stupid moments because the body swapping scenes are poorly idealized. For some reason He transfers his personage orally. That’s right, to spread the Jason virus he’s got to make out, tongue and all. It sounds disgusting, and is, but it’s just so poorly done it ends up being unintentionally hilarious every single time.

This is because the effects have taken an absolute nose dive since the last installment. What looked somewhat fake before now looks downright artificial and goofy. The timing of the effects are off, the craft of them is sloppy and haphazard. The violence also lacks any weight or heft. Some of the sequences and effects are so poorly visualized that it’s unclear how Jason actually went about killing someone.

The dark lighting doesn’t help. It almost looks like the first three films but the problem is that Jason is on the screen so often that there’s no real point in the darkness. The whole idea of submerging the image is darkness is to suggest the threat could come from anywhere, Jason could be in any corner of the frame, but if you can see the threat, it loses its power and the darkness carries no menace to it.

But the worst part of all is the excess of moronic sequences. In one case two buddies are caught on the opposite sides of the law. They start fighting and end up on the ground, leaning against the patrol car. I’ve got a gun, one says, to which the other says that he has a gun too. Both of them stupidly hold the gun in their hands for a moment and then realize that a gun isn’t threatening if you aren’t pointing it at something. They both quickly fumble to point it at each other. At that moment I was physically incapable of stopping my hand from quickly lunging toward my forehead, resulting in what is called a face-palm.

There’s even more atrocities that could be spoken of, more stupidity in the plot, more moronic moments that could be torn apart, but I’m tired of writing about this film. It was a tedious, dull, uninteresting, tiresome and stupid film to endure. Unless you’re actively mocking the film or playing some kind of drinking game (or a hardcore completionist) there is no good reason to watch this film. Okay, okay, so the ending was cool, but you can just YouTube that and save yourself an hour and a half of your life.

© 2010 James Blake Ewing