Jason's "body" is taken to the local Crystal Lake hospital after the events of Friday The 13th Part 3. As to be expected, our hockey masked slashing friend wakes up and kills a doctor and nurse before going back to the woods. Meanwhile, a group of care free Friday The 13th victims consisting of Paul and his girlfriend Samantha, Doug, Sara, Ted, and Jim are partying it up in a house they have rented for the week. They also invite twin sisters Tina and Terri to join their fun. The Jarvis family lives next door consisting of Mrs. Jarvis, her teenage daughter Trish, and 12 year old son Tommy who loves monster make-up and masks (like me!). Trish and Tommy meet up with a guy named Rob, who is camping out nearby and helps Trish get her car started. It turns out that Rob is actually searching for his missing sister Sandra (from Part 2). Jason hates parties, so being the nice guy that he is decides to kill these partying friends one by one before turning his attention to the Jarvis family. What Jason doesn't know is that Tommy just may be able to stop him for GOOD!
After the major success of Friday The 13th Part 3 in 1982, Paramount Pictures decided after much consideration that their next Friday The 13th would be the last film of the franchise. They just got tired of making Jason movies and thought that they would have the next film be just like the others EXCEPT that Jason would be killed off at the end, which would put the franchise and the horror icon to rest. The story to Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is your basic Friday slasher flick, but it does have some things added to it that make it special. Instead of just having a group of pot smoking, beer drinking, and sexually active teenage friends or camp counselors, we now have a family and a kid thrown into the mix. Tommy Jarvis is what really makes this film as special and as remembered as it has become along with obviously the kills. With having a 12 year old kid in this movie, it makes the final act more intense. Halloween did the same thing by having kids in jeopardy too instead of just care free teenagers. The screenplay written by Barney Cohen is actually pretty good.
I also like the characters for the most part too. Paul and Sam are the typical sexual couple of the film. Doug is the pretty boy who has the hots for Sara. Sara is the shy virginal girl who is kind of a goodie goodie and likes Doug. Ted is the stoner who likes to type things into his imaginary computer and teases Jim. Jim is the horny virgin who just wants to have sex for the first time. He also has the best dance routine EVER! Tina and Terri are the twin sisters who join up with these future Jason victims. Trish is basically the older sister of Tommy and really comes off annoying once Jason shows up. Tommy is my favorite character of the movie as the kid of the film. He makes his own masks and is a master at monster make up. I wish I knew kids like this growing up! Plus, he fucking KILLS Jason at the end! Look at Ginny and Chris who are young adults and yet all they did was temporarily wound the maniac. This kid fucking rocks and is obviously a fan favorite, otherwise he wouldn't have returned for the next two sequels. And then there's Rob who is searching for his sister Sandra, who was killed off by Jason in Part 2 while having sex. He's pretty likeable even though he doesn't last long. There's also the doctor Axel and nurse at the beginning of the film, but they were just cannon fodder for the opening deaths. All in all, okay characters.
And now for the best part of any Friday The 13th film (usually): the KILLS! I was really digging the kills in The Final Chapter. A guy gets his throat cut with a hacksaw and then Jason twists his head all the way around Exorcist style. There's a cool scene where Jason stabs this chubby woman through the throat while she's eating. We get some obvious stabbings. I love where Jason jumps through the window and throws one of the twin girls out of it. That death scene made me jump like crazy the first time I saw this film. A girl gets stabbed while laying on an inflatable boat in the middle of the lake. We get a great shower moment, where a guy gets his head crushed against the wall until his eyes begin to pop out a bit. My absolute favorite is Jim's death where Jason shoves a corkscrew through his hand and follows it up with a machete to the forehead. Not bad kills though, not bad kills at all.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter was actually the first Friday The 13th movie I watched and so it holds a special place in my heart and made me a fan of the franchise. I love the opening of the film, where they show a clip from Part 2 where Paul is telling the legend of Jason around the campfire and then it shows clips from the first three Friday The 13th films along with what he is saying before the opening credits roll. I loved that a lot! After all, this was SUPPOSED to be the last Jason movie, so it makes a lot of sense why they would show clips of Jason's previous kills from Parts 1-3.
The final act of this movie is just fucking awesome! The fact that a little kid outsmarted and killed Jason was huge. Tommy shaves his head to make Jason see himself in this kid. And that sequence where Trish whacked Jason's hockey mask off, revealing his true face was pretty creepy. Jason looked nightmarish in my opinion. He looked like a boogeyman and a monster. We do see Jason's face a few times throughout the franchise at the end of some of these films. We saw a glimpse in Part 1-3, we see it here, for a few seconds in 6, an awesome badass look in 7, a shitty puppet look in 8, and briefly in the 2009 remake. It doesn't take away from the character, but reminds us why he wears the mask in the first place. That scene where Tommy whacks Jason in the side of the head with the machete and then he falls and rolls down the blade was priceless. I also loved when Tommy saw that Jason's fingers were twitching and then he pushes his sister away and begins slicing Jason the fuck up, while crying out, "DIE! DIE! DIE!". Just great stuff.
Tom Savini, who did the special FX on the original Friday The 13th, returns to kill the slasher that he helped create. Savini is a legend and will always be in my book. The guy has worked on horror films such as Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Prowler, Maniac, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The Burning, and Midnight.
Harry Manfredini returns with his famous Friday The 13th music score consisting of the infamous "KI KI KI MA MA MA" echo. Great stuff.
I do have a few issues with the movie though. Why didn't the inflatable boat that Sam was laying in deflate after Jason stabbed through it to kill her? Did Mrs. Jarvis get killed by Jason? I believe she did, but it never answered on whether she was killed or not. She just saw something that scared her and then we never saw her again. While Rob was being killed, he actually says, "He's killing me! He's killing me!". I just found that kinda funny. Trish became REALLY annoying once Jason was on their trail. I know people do stupid shit when they are scared, but she became a little too much. I do wish that there were more over the top kills. I liked the kills, but wish they were a little more spicy. That's okay though, Jason's kills get more gruesome once he becomes a zombie in the sixth installment , Jason Lives, which is actually my favorite film of the franchise. And last and surely not least, Sara turns the doorknob, realizes that the door is definitely locked, yet CONTINUES to turn the doorknob anyway until an axe comes flying through the door into her chest.
The direction by Joseph Zito is pretty decent. Zito should know how to direct a slasher flick since he directed The Prowler about a year before this film, which Tom Savini also did the special FX on. Nothing too impressive, but not bad at all.
The acting is pretty good here mostly. My favorite actor was Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis. I've always been a fan of Feldman's work in The Lost Boys and License To Drive, which he worked alongside the late Corey Haim. He definitely played a heroic character in Tommy who took Jason down and was a total badass. Kimberly Beck was okay as Trish until her character went nuts towards the end. Peter Barton got his head crushed in the shower as Doug. Clyde Hayes got a Harpoon Gun to a male sex object. Barbara Howard played the good girl actually well as Sara and got a nice axe to the chest. Erich Anderson was alright as Rob. Judie Aronson got stabbed in a undeflatable boat as Samantha. Camilla and Carey More were cute as twins Tina and Terri . Is it just me or did they kinda look like Tiffani Amber Thiessen who played Kelly from Saved By the Bell? Lawrence Monoson was high as a fucking kite as Ted. I actually saw in the His Name Is Jason documentary that the actor was really high during filming to get more into character. And Crispin Glover (Hey McFly, you're an asshole!) is fucking awesome in this movie as Jim. His dance is priceless and should definitely become a dance style. I love everything this guy does for the most part. Ted White is probably my favorite actor to play Jason. He is definitely creepy and had Jason down perfectly. His face was nightmarish with all that make-up when the mask came off at the end. This is the last time we see Jason "alive" until the remake.
Overall, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter is a really awesome slasher flick and is my second favorite Jason movie. It is the movie that made me a fan of the character and his mythology. The thing about horror franchises though is there is never a "last" installment. The franchise is either rebooted or is continued with another sequel. This is not the last Friday film as to be expected. I truthfully doubt that Saw 3D will be the last Saw film either. As long as a franchise is making cash then it will always come back for good or for bad. Too bad the next installment , Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, is in my personal opinion the worst of this entire franchise, even worse than Jason Takes Manhattan.