Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Well, after New Line Cinema bought out the Friday the 13th rights from Paramount Studios, this is what they brought us... Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday...

...and it's a wonder they didn't go bankrupt.

First off, it's kind of strange that New Line would go through the trouble to buy the franchise rights and title the first film, under their studio moniker, as The Final Friday.  You'd think they'd want a fresh start, something with "continues" or "returns" or "revenge" in the title.  Naming it "final" conjures up memories of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare—which, by the way, was under New Line Cinema as well.

I remember seeing this advertised back in '93 and that's exactly what I thought, that it was just going to be some stupid story that led up to a few minutes of a grand finale.

Boy, was I right.

The story begins with an FBI ambush of Jason Voorhees, as he's led out into the open and they open fire on him, completely destroying him.  All that's left is pieces of him that are collected and sent to the local hospital morgue for examination.  Once there, the lead coroner (Richard Grant) begins going through the parts of Jason's body.  As he gets to his heart, he becomes mesmerized by it then suddenly begins eating it (?),
resulting in him becoming possessed by Jason.  He leaves, heading for Crystal Lake, being able to transfer himself from body to body on the way.  Meanwhile, bounty hunter, Creighton Duke (Steven Williams), is in town to look for Jason and finds out that the serial killer is able to switch from person to person, until he transfers himself to a member of his bloodline—his half-sister and her family—giving him the power to be reborn.  The only way to stop this from happening is if a member of Jason's lineage kills him with a magical dagger.

Really, that's all I care to get into.  The story's so convoluted and stretched out that it'd take me quite a few pages to explain it all.  How the filmmakers were able to get this story green-lit is beyond me.  I mean, didn't they learn a valuable lesson when part five was released?  You can't have a Friday the 13th movie without Jason.  Even if it is his soul moving around from person to person, the audience wants to see the hulking figure in a hockey mask.  It was previously attempted with Wes Craven's Shocker, resulting in a flop, so what made them think it would work here?  It was as if the filmmakers wanted to make an amalgamated rip-off of Shocker and The Hidden, deciding to stuff that script into a Friday the 13th movie.

I've said before that I usually watch parts one through four when I decide to go see these movies, but if I go beyond that, this is the movie I have trouble getting through.  I hate to say it, being that I'm a big fan of the whole franchise, but this movie is terrible.  Not only does the absence of Jason bother me, but the subplots don't make sense and characters are just annoying, especially Joey and Shelby (Rusty Schwimmer and Leslie Jordan).  As you watch this, you find yourself not giving a shit about what happens to anybody within this film.

Okay, so the biggest problem I have with this—and you better stop reading if you don't want any spoilers—is a scene later in the film where the remaining characters are aware of Jason being able to jump into any body he wants.  However, the other characters—as well as the audience—are able to recognize whose body Jason has taken over by noticing the lack of speech in the person.  With that said, and I won't say who it is (although I don't know why—not like you'll be able to sit through this), but the person who he jumps into is able to speak, tricking another character into trusting him that he's not Jason.  Now, this is a big cheat since it's been well established throughout the movie that whoever Jason takes over, he still remains mute to clue us in as we watch the film.  But the filmmakers decided to make him speak—albeit, in the body he's in—to throw us, the audience, off to make us think the person is the real person and not Jason.  If you haven't seen this and have just read what I'd just written, you may think this is just a bunch of garbage...and, unfortunately, it is.

Folks, you can easily skip over this one, because it does not jump into the next outing, which is Jason X.  You don't even need to have the knowledge of this movie's existence to get into Freddy vs Jason.  So, do yourselves a favor and go right past this one and pop in Jason X.  You'll have a good, yet silly, time with that one (more to follow).

My final "bit" on Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday?

Unless you're the most hardcore fan of the franchise that Jason built, just pass this one up.  It seems to be made by a group of writers and producers who just did not know the source material, as well as the history of the series' audience, and just flat out didn't give a shit what they were churning out here.  It's a bit of a rip-off, much like part five, but I'll watch part five over this one anytime.

Thanks for reading...and I welcome any comments!

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