Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

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Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Review


The funny thing about the Friday the 13th movies is how much energy they expend just to run in place. This series sets the standard for low horror-movie learning curves - not just in the actions of characters onscreen, but in the decisions of the filmmakers; the fact that it took four movies before anyone thought up Bride of Chucky, for example, has its roots in the endless returns to Camp Crystal Lake.

Take Jason Goes to Hell, for example, the ninth film in the series. It opens with a satisfying riff on the Friday status quo: A lone woman rattles around an abandoned cabin, draws a bath, puts on a towel, and gets chased by hulking uber-slasher Jason Voorhees... into some open brush, at which point she executes a diving roll and Jason is beset by a hail of special ops bullets, and then blown to hilarious bits by what we can only assume to be Monty Python's Holy Hand Grenade.

At this point you're remembering the movie's title and thinking: OK, that was pretty cool; next stop, hell. But no, it turns out hell is other people -- specifically, the cardboard cutouts of people that populate a Friday the 13th movie. So instead of a step forward, we are treated to the knowledge that Jason isn't quite dead. His spirit can hop from body to body, going about slaughter as usual.

The action even regresses once again to Camp Crystal Lake, Jason's original killing grounds. So there are long sequences where we're essentially watching a remake of past Friday the 13th material with a rotating cast of actors in place of longtime J-man Kane Hodder. Meanwhile, Steve Freeman (John D. LeMay) tries to save his estranged family, who have a predictable connection to Jason.

Jason Goes to Hell isn't badly directed -- Adam Marcus likes his semi-long tracking shots -- and the bedlam caused by Jason's body hopping, particularly in a chaotic standoff at the local diner, is pretty entertaining (even though it shouldn't be too hard to tell the regular folk from the possessed, given that even with fresher bodies, Jason can only grunt and lurch; apparently, it's his spirit itself that's lurchy). Also good is the mysterious and only semi-cooperative bounty hunter (Steve Williams), who seems to know all of the Voorhees secrets, even if he probably guessed them by watching a lot of late-night TV on the USA Network.

But why in the name of all that is unholy would you think up the concept of Jason going to hell and then write your movie around an awkward love triangle, secret bloodlines, and an endangered baby? Couldn't they have used these ideas up in the first eight movies, and put some more hell in Hell? When some kind of demonic Jason baby is birthed from one character's neck; it's not exactly a revelation in the horror field, but when you're watching Jason Goes to Hell, it'll do. Even better is a final shot that leaves you wanting more -- like another movie entirely. In keeping with the remedial pace of the Friday the 13th series, it was another ten years before that movie finally happened.



Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1993

Box Office Worldwide: 15

Budget: $3M

Distributed by: New Line Home Entertainment

Production compaines: New Line Cinema, Sean S. Cunningham Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 4.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Adam Marcus

Producer: Sean S. Cunningham

Starring: as Jason Voorhees / Security Guard #2 / Freddy Krueger's arm, John D. LeMay as Steven Freeman, as Jessica Kimble, as Creighton Duke, as Robert Campbell, as Diana Kimble, as Joey B., Richard Gant as Coroner, Leslie Jordan as Shelby, Billy Green Bush as Sheriff Ed Landis, Julie Michaels as Agent Elizabeth Marcus, as Agent Abernathy

Also starring: ,

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