Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection - Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Directed by Joe Zito
Written by Barney Cohen
1984, Region A, 91 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013
Kimberly Beck as Trish
Corey Feldman as Tommy
Crispin Glover as Jimmy
Laurence Monoson as Ted
Peter Barton as Doug
Judie Aronson as Samantha
Barbara Howard as Sara
E. Erich Anderson as Rob
Alan Hayes as Paul
Ted White as Jason
Jason is dead and on his way to the morgue, but this being a Friday the 13th movie, things are not going to stay this way very long. Indeed, Jason wakes to some frisky hospital staff and after getting his dirty hands even dirtier, he is on his way home. Actually, he is on his way to the Jarvis family home that is simply located near the lake. Tommy Jarvis is a strange twelve-year-old kid, big into playing video games and making Halloween masks. His older sister Trish and their single mom live a quiet life in the woods with their dog Gordon. Things are about to get a little rowdy when the house next door is rented by some young adults on vacation.
The group of visitors is composed of somewhat happy couple Samantha and Paul, their friends Sarah and Doug and the social misfits Jimmy and Ted. While on their way to the lake, they run into twin sisters Tina and Terri and decide to go skinny dipping. Tommy and Trish come upon them and the youngster watches for boobs at every opportunity (and this film has more on display than earlier episodes), but Trish does her best to keep him away from the older kids. On their way home, the Jarvises meet Rob Dier, who claims to be hunting for bear but is actually looking to settle a score with the man who killed his sister. The two groups are eventually brought together by Jason as he adds to his already impressive body count. By the time the night is over however, he will face an unexpected foe that may bring an end to the killing spree.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter really nails the formula and works on just about every level. I have failed to mention Harry Manfredini's score in any of these reviews, but his work graces almost every film in the franchise and it is particularly effective here. Screenwriter Barney Cohen retains the usual parameters of the plot structure but keeps the elements fresh by making the characters likeable. These people actually seem like they are friends, unlike the kids in the last movie. The plot moves at a rapid pace as Jason works his way through the house guests with a surprising level of creativity in his method. The kills this time are just as mean-spirited and nasty, but with an enthusiasm present that makes them somehow fun to watch. The cast is particularly strong and features the largest number of familiar faces including Peter Barton (Hell Night), Laurence Monoson (The Last American Virgin), Erich Anderson (Missing In Action), Bruce Mahler (Police Academy) and Judy Aronson (Weird Science).
Corey Feldman (Stand By Me) is particularly solid as young Tommy Jarvis, a character that could easily be annoying but is instead likeable and interesting. He lends the role a maturity that is unexpected and it is easy to see how he became such a successful child actor. As the socially awkward Jimmy, Crispin Glover (River's Edge) owns every scene he is in with a self-aware bizarreness that is instantly charming. You want this guy to succeed and when he lands one of the sexy twins you are genuinely happy for him. Legendary stunt man Ted White (Escape from New York) brings an aggressiveness to Jason that pushes the boundaries of what we have seen from the character in earlier films. He is physically intimidating and surprisingly fast when he needs to be.
Director Joseph Zito (Red Scorpion) reinvigorates the material that was starting to lag in the previous installment and briskly keeps things moving. He skillfully elevates the familiar elements and introduces more action into the mix. Friday IV somehow feels bigger than the first three films and has higher production value and stronger camera work. If Part 2 relied on a lot of Steadicam shots and Part III introduced some elaborate crane moves, this film combines both techniques in an impressive opening shot involving a helicopter and assorted first responders at a crime scene.
The Final Chapter was intended to be the last in the series and promised the death of Jason Voorhees. Joe Zito's wisest decision for this film was to bring back effects artist Tom Savini (The Prowler), who had pioneered the work in the original and was a rock star in the industry by 1984. His inventiveness paid off and the two devised a strategy where the lesser kills would gladly be sacrificed to the censors and the reward would be additional screen time for the grand finale. The idea worked like a champ and audiences in theatres were on their feet at the climax.
Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):
These aren't so much spoilers as they are general questions or observations.
One interesting aspect of the series is that it contains two trilogies within the timeline.
The first involves the continuing storyline from Part 2, Part III (3D) and The Final Chapter. These three films take place over the course of about a week. Ginny Fields (Part 2) survives Jason's attack and the next day the store clerks (Part III) watch news coverage of this story before being killed. Chris stops Jason in the barn with an axe to the face and The Final Chapter begins with the bodies being cleared from the scene later that night.
The second trilogy follows Tommy Jarvis on his quest to stop Jason in the fourth, fifth and sixth films.
Focusing again on The Final Chapter...
Jason is really out of his element here. He wakes up pissed off in the morgue before somehow walking out of the hospital undetected and shambling his way back to Crystal Lake.
Why does Jason kill the hitchhiker along the way? According to Joe Bob Briggs, she dies "because she is fat."
Did Jason return to the docks of Part III to claim his spear gun to use on Paul or did he find another? It doesn't really matter because it is awesome use of the weapon and I'm glad he had it.
When Trish and Rob are searching the neighboring house, Jason somehow manages to strategically position corpses around the outside (as sort of barriers to keep anyone from exiting) and then sneaks downstairs before Rob follows.
Also, if Trish has just witnessed a murder without trying to intervene, would she not willingly jump over the body on the front porch if it meant freedom?
While this is clearly not the last installment, it was somewhat insulting at the time for Part V to immediately go into production and open in theatres less than a year after The Final Chapter.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features for this collection will be discussed on the final page of this review.
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