Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

01/16/2020 06:23

Film: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Year: 1984

Director: Joseph Zito

Writer: Barney Cohen

Starring: Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson and Peter Barton



Now this was one of the Friday the 13th films I saw a lot growing up. This one always seemed to be on the movie channels and when this started, I settled right in. I’ve given it another watch with a critical eye since I now have the Blu-ray boxset.

Synopsis: after being mortally wounded and taken to the morgue, murderer Jason Voorhees (Ted White and Tom Savini) spontaneously revives and embarks on a killing spree as he makes his way back to his home at Camp Crystal Lake.

We start this right where the previous film ended. Jason is dead in the barn and he’s loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. There we get to meet a nurse and the morgue attendant, Axel (Bruce Mahler). The two of them have been sleeping together, but she’s getting fed up with him. Morgan (Lisa Freeman) is the nurse and she gets spooked when Jason’s hand falls off the table and touches her. These become his first two victims here as he wakes up and makes his way back to his home.

It then introduces us to our cast for this film. There’s a family where the mother is going through a divorce. She is Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman). Her daughter is Trish (Kimberly Beck) and son is Tommy (Corey Feldman). Coming to stay for the weekend is a group of 6 people. There’s Samantha (Judie Aronson) who is seeing Paul (Clyde Hayes). There’s also Doug (Peter Barton) who is seeing Sara (Barbara Howard). Then finally we have Ted (Lawrence Monoson) and Jimmy Mortimer (Crispin Glover). These two guys are single and end up meeting twins on the way to the lake, Tina (Camilla More) and Terri (Carey More). Trish and Tommy meet Rob (Erich Anderson) who helps them with their car trouble. He tells them he’s there to hunt bears, which Tommy questions. Trish takes a liking to him as does Tommy.

That night is starts to rain as Jason picks them off one by one. In typical slasher fashion, they don’t realize it as they go off for various different reasons and Rob might be there for something more than what he’s letting on.

As I said, I have a fond spot for this one as it seemed that this one and the next part of what is now dubbed the Jarvis Trilogy. Trying to temper my nostalgia a bit, I came into this with a critical eye and can say that I still dig it. We get an interesting group of characters that are diverse and I feel connections with them before they start to get picked off. That is one aspect I look for in my slasher films.

I love that this one picks up where the last one left off. I don’t think that it violates any continuity here from what we got in the past so that’s something else that I like. As a story guy, I want to you continue on. This one also did give us a good point where we’ve killed off the human form of Jason. If they wanted to end it here, they could have. This shouldn’t come as a spoiler though that it isn’t in that we’ve gotten 7 more from this as well as a remake.

From there, the pacing of this is good as well. It doesn’t waste any time establishing that this starts right after the other. I do find it interesting that Part 2, III and now this one are in succession. There is probably a continuity issue here as I thought Part 2 was the beginning of the weekend and a Friday the 13th. That would make this take place on a Sunday. I could be wrong there though. After the death starts, I think it goes into a solid slasher where we periodically get more kills and the tension builds as the survivors realize that everyone is being picked off. I was down for how this ends as well.

From here I want to shift to the acting, which I think is strong for this type of movie. It has good enough character development. Feldman is interesting as I don’t feel he’s the main character until near the end. I like that they establish he’s into making monster masks as it fits for where it ends. I also like Anderson’s reveal as things progress. It is an interesting aspect to the film for sure. He’s connected to one of the characters from a previous movie. This is a bit of a plot-hole as we need more time between incidents for it to be believable. Then movie that we get the opposite characters in Aronson and Howard, with one has a reputation and the other is a prude. Glover has low self-esteem as his girlfriend recently broke up with him and his best friend Monoson is over confident. I think they do well in establishing all this. There’s some overacting, but it’s also a slasher so I’m not looking for Oscar worthy performances.

That will take me next to the effects, which I knew that Savini came back to kill off Jason. He infamously known for thinking that original was going to be a one off and didn’t understand how Jason could be the killer. We get great kills that look real with how good he is at practical effects. I love the staging of the bodies as well that are done after they’re dead. The cinematography is well done in my opinion and I have no issues there.

The final thing to cover is the soundtrack. Harry Manfredini is back to do the score and although, this isn’t my favorite in the series, it is still good. We get a lot of the iconic theme song that we hear in a lot of them to build tension. He does that well here and it fits for what was needed.

In conclusion, I understand that this has flaws. This is one of my favorites though in the series if I’m going to be honest. Part of that comes from the nostalgia, but I think we get some distinct characters that I feel bad for as Jason is picking them off. We get good kills. It is paced in a way where it doesn’t waste time and gets tense as we go. The effects look great from Savini and although not the best soundtrack in series, I think it is still solid. This could have ended the series, but I don’t blame them for continuing from here to start the Jarvis trilogy. I find this to be good movie and recommend it to slasher fans or those of the series.


My Rating: 8 out of 10