4.26.2008

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Director - Adam Marcus

Starring -


John D. LeMay - Steven Freeman
Kari Keegan - Jessica Kimble
Steven Williams - Creighton Duke
Steven Culp - Robert Campbell
Erin Gray - Diana Kimble
Kane Hodder - Jason Voorhees

Year - 1993

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4



In 1991, Paramount decided to sell the rights of the Friday The 13th franchise to New Line Cinema, home of the Nightmare On Elm St. movies. This was a pretty big thing among horror fans, as the dream of a Freddy vs. Jason film looked more and more true. After the dismal and pathetic Jason Takes Manhattan [I vomit in my mouth with just the thought of that film], New Line decided it needed to overhaul the F13 franchise and make Jason the feature attraction more than ever, like it had done with Freddy Kruger. The Friday The 13th title was never used again. Jason's past would be dramatically changed, as well as his story. More supernatural elements would be placed to attract a more mainstream audience. The experiment would be known as Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday.

PLOT
Jason Voorhees (played again by Kane Hodder) survived his...defeat...in toxic waste in NYC [ugh] to return to Crystal Lake to kill more people. Unfortunately for him, the world [especially the authorities] acknowledged his existence and set a trap up for ol' Jase. The FBI shows up and blows Jason up into smithereens, "killing" him. His remains are sent to a federal medical center where a coroner begins doing his autopsy. Out of nowhere, Jason's heart begins to beat again, mesmerizing the coroner...into eating the heart [I guess he was devoid of one, I dunno]. Once the coroner eats the heart, the evil spirit of Jason possesses the coroner and takes host of the body. That's right! Jason can now possess people! Being a zombie sure has its benefits, doesn't it? Anyway, the coroner [Jason] slaughters some guards and heads back to Crystal Lake to kill some campers. Jason has a problem, however. His spirit can't remain inside the body for too long, needed to host other bodies until he finds a blood relative to host so he can return to his original, familiar form [hockey mask and all]. Yes, Jason now has blood relatives we had never even known about for the past 8 parts. He has a sister, Diana (Erin Gray), who waitresses near Crystal Lake. Diana has a daughter Jessica (Kari Keegan) and a granddaughter as well, making Jason's quest easier. Jason also has a bounty hunter on his ass named Creighton Duke (Steven Williams) who knows how to stop Jason. With the help of Steven (the father of Jessica's baby played by John D. LeMay), they plan to stop Jason from completing his quest and send him back to Hell where he belongs. Confused? Yeah, so was I.

REVIEW
This is my third time watching this movie and I have to say, it's not half bad. Yeah, the story confused me and I didn't appreciate the way Jason was portrayed in this film, but I didn't hate it or feel bored with the movie. As a matter of fact, it was refreshing to see that New Line actually cared about doing something drastic with the Friday The 13th franchise. So drastic, that it felt more like a Nightmare On Elm Street movie than a Jason flick. It definitely had more positives than negatives I think. The direction was crisp and actually created some tension. There seemed to be more care for the characters involved than in the last couple of films. New Line tried really hard to do something fresh for Jason, but it only half-succeeds. It tries to put too much backstory in a 90 minute film by changing the mythology we've known for the past 8 films. While I appreciate the attempt to freshen up the series, at the same time, you lose something and the film begins to self-destruct.

Like with the whole 'body-hopping' thing Jason needs to do in this film: are we led to believe that for the past seven films [not including the original], Jason's been hopping into other people's bodies in order to kill? That all this time he's been a demon hosting on his poor victims? Okay, but he can only be in his true form unless he hosted a relative. So some of his victims were actually relatives of his? I'm confused by that whole theory because it doesn't make sense with the other films. I have no problem with the whole possession aspect of Jason's abilities [though it seems like a rip-off of that 80s film, The Hidden], but at least try to make some sense of it because it's a huge plot hole in my opinion.

Another thing, where did these Voorhees relatives suddenly come from? Okay, maybe it's possible that Jason has a sister and other family out there. But why wasn't it never mentioned before? And why does Jason need to find them NOW? It seems that only family members can kill these psycho killers. Michael Myers and Laurie Strode/Jamie Lloyd/John Tate/etc. Freddy Kruger and his daughter. Now Jason's neice is the one to kill him? I'm tired of this family issue subplot in horror movies. Go to Dr. Phil and work out your damn problems already!

What was up with the bounty hunter dude who knew everything about Jason? Why was he after Jason to begin with? How did he know about his relatives? How did he have the knife that is claimed to be the only weapon to kill Jason? Steven Williams did a good job playing a laughable badass [I couldn't take him seriously, sorry] but the whole character was a know-it-all and a sadist. Not someone I want to root for.

As for the other actors/characters, they were decent-to-good. John D. LeMay as Steven confused me at first. He looked so nerdy and I thought, this guy is supposed to be the hero of the film? Jason'll kill him. But that changed as the film went on, as the character did become really heroic and likable, thanks to some good acting by LeMay. He had the unlikely hero role down, so he gets props for that. Kari Keegan as Jason's neice, Jessica, was okay. She wasn't really developed and was annoying at times, but at the end, she was pretty decent. Steven Culp as reporter Robert Campbell was the asshole of the film, but he didn't get to do much but get possessed by Jason and get shot up like 20 times. Not much of a role actually. Again, Steven Williams plays a badass I couldn't take seriously, but he did a good job with hamming up the role. I did love the finger cracking scene with Steven in the jail cell though. That was pretty funny. Erin Gray as Jason's sister, Diana, was good for the 20 minutes she did in this film. A little soap opera-y, but she was convincing in the role. Plus, I've had this thing for her since Buck Rogers, so I'm a little biased LOL. And Kane Hodder did okay as Jason, for the 10 minutes he actually was onscreen. He looked a lot bigger and you could see his brain on top of his head, which was cool. Why was the mask glued to his face though? And when he reformed as Jason in the end, the mask came with the body. Huh? Plus Jason had no superhuman strength. He kept hitting Steven with a shovel and it barely hurt the guy. Jason would have snapped his neck like nothing. This Jason was a pussy. Boo.

Gore...boy do we get alot of gore here. Especially in the uncut version, where we see a girl get her upper half sliced in half after unprotected sex [tsk tsk]. We also get a hand snapped off of a wrist, plus alot of stabs and gunfire. Plus a guy melts, which looks pretty darn awesome. If you love blood, you'll love what you see here. Thank you New Line for providing the red stuff, unlike Paramount, those cowards!

We get some special appearances in this film as well. The Necronomicon from the Evil Dead trilogy shows up at the Voorhees house. Why? Who knows? Plus we get the classic ending where Freddy Kruger's glove pops up from the ground and drags Jason's mask down with him. I guess you can say that this film was the prequel to the much superior Freddy vs. Jason.

THE FINAL HOWL
Thank you New Line for trying to do something new with Jason besides having him stalk stupid idiot campers in the woods like the past few films. Sure, Jason Goes To Hell is not a perfect Friday The 13th film [it's not even a F13 film in my opinion] but it does have its moments. Good kills, alot of gore and nudity [yay!], decent characters...too bad the story seemed unfinished and illogical most of the time. But for what it does, I enjoyed it. It's more of an action flick than a horror film, but it's still a pretty cool movie to watch. If you're a Jason fan, I would recommend this movie [especially the uncut version]. Word of advice however: Just try and not think too much as you watch. You may lose a few brain cells like I did.

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