Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection - Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Directed by Adam Marcus
Written by Dean Lorey and Jay Hugely
1993, Region A, 88 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013
John D. LeMay as Steven
Kari Keegan as Jessica
Steven Williams as Creighton Duke
Steven Culp as Robert
Erin Gray as Diana
Kane Hodder as Jason
Richard Gant as Coroner
Billy Green Bush as Sheriff Landis
Kipp Marcus as Officer Randy Parker
Allison Smith as Vicki
Our story opens at a cabin in the woods on Crystal Lake at an undetermined time frame. New York is but a bad memory, best never mentioned, and Jason is looking rougher than previous appearances. He seems to be growing some monkey bread out of his skull. Turns out, this is a really bad day for the masked man as the Feds have tracked him down and are preparing to blow the shit out of him. Jason is indeed exploded into a dozen little pieces before the opening credits even roll.
What follows is a game of "Hide the Voorhees" as Jason's spirit possesses anyone that can be held down long enough to swallow a little of his demon seed. Normal people are unable to handle that much maniac spunk and their bodies start to reject it not long after takeover, so there is a lot of body jumping. It sounds weird, but it worked in The Hidden (released by the same studio five years earlier, but everyone involved with this movie denies seeing that one). Unfortunately, this means no on-screen Jason for the majority of the picture. What we get instead is a pretty ambitious story filled with action and a little retconning of the original legend to fit this nifty new idea.
Creighton Duke is a bounty hunter who hunts serial killers and is hired by a local tabloid news show to capture and kill Jason once and for all. Jason's crispy remains are at the morgue, but Duke knows about this body-hopping nonsense and manipulates the surviving members of the Voorhees family (wait – you guys are throwing me this curve eight sequels deep?!) to help restore order to the galaxy or some such shit. They squeeze in a couple of John Woo-inspired slow motion gun fights and launch something scary out of Erin Gray's vagina before we get to the climactic battle between Jason and a nerdy white guy.
The decision to remove Jason and his hockey mask from the equation proves quite the stumbling block. Jason is an intimidating figure, but the middle-aged black coroner is no more terrifying than the middle-aged white cop or the yuppie dirt bag. If the producers of Friday V had dropped the mask when they had the chance, would they have had any better luck, or would their killer simply don another iconic disguise and fade into obscurity?
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is a well-made movie with competent acting across the board, but the script seems determined to tank it. The cast does their best with the material and despite being a bit ham-fisted, Steven Williams (The X-Files and 21 Jump Street) gives the standout performance as Creighton Duke. Kane Hodder returns for his third bite at the apple and though his screen time is limited, his participation is quite welcome. Director Adam Marcus has apparently watched a lot of movies and knows where to put the camera, but his shots are largely derivative of what was popular at the time. Twenty years later, he added additional family members to a different franchise when he wrote the script for Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Paramount Pictures released the first eight films in the franchise, but when Jason Takes Manhattan tanked at the box office, they were done. Four years later, series creator Sean S. Cunningham got the rights to Jason and took them to New Line Cinema. Technically they could use the character, but not the title Friday the 13th, which led to things like Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. By 1993, audiences were on a first name basis with the leading icons of fright including Freddy, Michael, Chucky and Leatherface, so it seemed like an acceptable business solution. Oddly, by committing to the body-jumping plot device, they surrendered the image of the character they just paid for.
Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):
If Jason body-jumps throughout the picture and Kane Hodder cameos at the beginning, why not have Jason jump into Kane so the fans at least have that to watch?
When Jason finally does return at the end, why is he in his old shitty body, clothes and hockey mask? Wouldn't a new and improved body be a great idea? Maybe one that's not deformed at all? At least take him back to the look of an earlier sequel.
Mrs. Voorhees went batshit following the death of her only child. Maybe Erin Gray was only a half sister and Mr. Voorhees had a secret. And if only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees, why hasn't mom come back to life yet?
Why is the old Voorhees house still standing (with electricity) after all these years? Wouldn't the locals have burned it to the ground?
I don't understand why Mrs. Voorhees kept a copy of the Necronomicon in the house, much less the crate from Creepshow. I understand these are nods to fans, but honestly that book prop looks like someone left their Evil Dead "Book of the Dead" Collector's Edition DVD on the night stand.
Why does Jason pause to shave the deputy before body hoppin'? He never shaved the coroner.
If all Jason's host bodies can only grunt and growl, then it's kind of a cheat to play the guessing game of 'which cop is he hiding in,' especially when both can clearly speak.
Kane Hodder, the once and future Jason, survived the studio shakeup and returned to play the man behind the mask once again. The ending of the film sets up the long rumored Freddy vs. Jason, and Kane was a big cheerleader in keeping that project alive for the next decade of development hell.
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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