Friday the 13th: Review – Jason Goes To (What The) Hell(?): The Final Friday

@theevilbread attempts to make sense of the mess that Jason Goes To Hell left…

Friday The 13th is one of the most interesting series within the film genre, mostly because it’s the most disjointed and quite frankly confusing of them all, which is sort of ironic considering the formula for these films is so simplistic and somewhat uninspired that a toddler would be able to write it out. Teens go to camp, teens have sex, teens get killed. Simple. Write it, shoot it, release it, we have another sequel.

Although I do enjoy mindless horror films, and I apologise to any Camp Blood fanatics out there, but this series is without a doubt the most diluted out of the iconic slashers, even though Jason is arguably the most iconic character, visually. You’re paying to see people get impaled, burned, gutted, shot or beaten, you’re not paying or investing time for acting capabilities, cinematography or otherwise. Hell, most of the production values of these sequels is barely better than porn. But does that make this a bad thing? Not entirely, because the series has for the most part known what it wants to be which we have to at least respect.

As the years went on, Jason began to slowly fade away along with his slasher siblings, the 90’s brought us new kinds of horror films and the old faithful icons just didn’t seem to be cutting it any more. New Line Cinema had ‘killed off’ Freddy Krueger by 1991 with ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare’ (we all know how that turned out) and sought to do the exact same to Jason Voorhees seeing as they had acquired the rights to the franchise with 1993’s ‘Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday’. I won’t get into Jason’s backstory because there have been eight damn films before this one and funnily enough, we still have no idea how the hell he managed to come back from his seeming death, well until this ‘final’ instalment into the franchise…for the second time.

We open with the most typical Friday The 13th scenario imaginable, the formula for a slasher film at its core. A young woman is in Camp Crystal Lake and begins making herself at home, getting ready to go for a shower, when she is eventually attacked by our masked friend after a few ‘GOTCHA!’ sequences that prolonged his appearance. We’re not really told how Jason managed to survive being completely submerged and practically melted in toxic waste below the streets of New York City; he’s just sort of…here. Let’s ignore that for now however, he’s not looking quite as fresh these days, I personally think it’s one of his best looks, especially with the hockey mask practically fused to his face, not a fan of the sky blue clothes however, not a good look for a maniac. Anyway, it turns out this young woman is actually an undercover FBI agent who is part of a sting to rid the world of this psychopath for good and how do they do that? Well, they blow him up with a rocket launcher.

So that’s the film, thanks for reading my review.

Of course it isn’t we still have one of the most questionable plots to hit the horror genre to get through, which I obviously won’t go into too much detail, but to cut a long story short, Jason is still alive after being blown into a thousand pieces of mincemeat. How you ask? Well, his heart is still beating and therefore he’s still alive…despite it not having a body. This problem is soon rectified though because the hypnotic rhythm and allure of a puss filled black (yes, It’s actually black) heart makes a coroner bite into it and in turn…get possessed by Jason? This now possessed coroner begins to go on a killing spree which admittedly includes one of the best on-screen slasher deaths EVER (it involves a spear and two halves of a body), but it isn’t long before we learn that ‘Jason’ must keep jumping from host to host because anybody he inhabits which isn’t his own will begin to rapidly decompose after a while, how does he do this you ask? He throws up a monster into the other person’s mouth. I swear I’m not making this up. There’s one really awkward scene that looks like Jason has a shaving fetish with a police officer.

We THEN learn that Jason had a sister which we knew nothing about. Eight films before this one and nothing lead us to believe that he had a sibling, I mean sure, sometimes horror sequels throw some obscure family member into the mix, but really? I doubt Pamela Voorhees would abandon one of her children to go on a killing spree for the other. We spend a lot of time with Jason’s sister, about five minutes really, before she’s swiftly killed off and her daughter Jessica becomes the next walking bullseye. Jessica’s ex-boyfriend Steven is framed for the murder of Jessica’s mother’s death. There’s also an infant child thrown into here which tries to stir up the tension but doesn’t really go anywhere. “Through a Voorhees was he born, through a Voorhees may he be reborn, and only by the hand of a Voorhees may he die.” We are told from a bounty hunter in the prison that Steven is sent to. Is it just me or does all of the slasher icons eventually go through that awkward phase of an uncomfortable family reunion where it’s seemingly the only way to kill them?

Anyway, I digress; Jason begins jumping from body to body while Steven escapes from prison. Jason possesses Jessica’s current boyfriend and goes after her. A few chase scenes ensue with them wondering how to get rid of Jason for good, honestly, it’s giving me headache just trying to make out what the plot to this film is by this point. So I’ll cut to the end.

The finale takes place back at the Voorhees house where Jason manages to become whole again through entering (and I mean that in the most graphic of terms) Diana’s dead body which has found its way under the house after being stolen from a morgue. We have Jason back now, yay! And we only have five minutes to go until the end, oh…

Some fighting ensues before Jason is eventually bested by Jessica with a very recognisable dagger (which I’ll get into soon enough), and some giant Muppet hands rise from the ground to drag him down into a pile of dirt, meaning he was literally dragged into hell. The end? Not really, we are lead to believe Jason is dead until an ominous lingering shot of Jason’s mask laying on the ground stares at us for a few moments. Does Jason’s hand pop up with a machete? Does the mask crack? Does lightning hit it? Have you guessed yet?

Admittedly, this is by far the best moment of the film (I’m a bit biased with anything involving this particular subject matter), but NO ONE and I mean NO ONE could have ever seen this coming at the end. Freddy fucking Krueger’s glove bursts out of the ground, grabs Jason’s mask and drags it down to hell with him, obviously setting up the events of ‘Freddy Vs. Jason’…which didn’t happen until one decade later. (Again, oh…)

I just saved you eighty nine minutes of your life.

That’s ‘Jason Goes To Hell: The Final (and we mean final this time, right?) Friday’ for you! It’s essentially a clusterf*ck of a film with some redeemable qualities here and there, like a lot of the Friday The 13th franchise to be honest, I’m sure I’ll get some heat for that one, but honestly, I just find it really uninspired. I respect it for giving birth to such a great horror icon and I love Jason, but the films? Not really.

The only thing that’s truly redeemable with this film is part of the musical score and the references it has to other horror films. The most notable of course is Freddy Krueger’s cameo at the very end of the film but we also get a shot of the Necronomicon from ‘The Evil Dead’ and the Kandarian dagger which made its appearance in ‘Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn’, this dagger is in fact the one that is used to ‘officially’ kill Jason and send him to hell, so this raises some questions. Is Jason a deadite? Why is the Necronomicon in the Voorhees house? We’ll never know because it’s never explained further, well it goes a little further in ‘Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash’ the comic book, but we can’t really consider that as part of the main timeline, unfortunately.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday is really only worth the look for the other connections it makes to horror films and the attempts it makes to try and combine them into one universe, it sort of like the pre-Marvel film universe, where each film could tie into another through references or visuals, but of course that fell flat on its face with the death of the slasher genre in the 90’s. It was a bold idea, I’ll give it that much, but if people were bitching about Michael Myers not being in ‘Halloween 3: Season of The Witch’ or HELL, we even had a Friday The 13th sequel after Jason’s introduction, ‘Friday The 13th Part V: The New Beginning ‘where Jason wasn’t the killer and they still thought it was a good idea to do it again? I’m one of the few who likes the remake of Friday The 13th, but I have to say, even for this series, I expected better and Jason deserved a better ‘death’.

Images: Supplied by writer

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