Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

6 Mar


Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” couldn’t have been a good movie. It suffers from being the fourth movie in a deplorable slasher-film franchise that only had teenagers getting picked off one by one by a killer with no personality. This is just like any other horrible movie with that same premise and somehow, four of these films share the same name and the same killer. I never understood what made the original “Friday the 13th” so special that it needed a series of sequels to go along after it. And it gets worse—this is not the final chapter. The ending is an open door for another sequel.

The killer Jason, who sports a hockey goalie mask now, is just a big guy with no personality and apparently no inner being—oh, and he has a knife, too. Actually, the thought of a killer with no inner thoughts is kind of scary, but after two films, it’s tiresome and not scary anymore. Just like in the previous films, it’s easy to know who’s going to die in “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” This is a rule for slasher movies such as this—whenever a movie lingers on someone who isn’t a main character, that person is going to be killed. What’s tedious about the gimmick is how it lingers on that character before the killer finally attacks.

The slasher scenes are there just to be slasher scenes. The most unpleasant murder occurs after the teenagers in this movie pass by a female hitchhiker. The scene stays with that female hitchhiker right to Jason’s arrival and victimizing of that poor woman. Why was this necessary? Who was this woman? We’ll never know.

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” does try to develop characters this time. We have the usual gang of teenagers that will undoubtedly become stalked by Jason, for no reason whatsoever. Only this time, they’re angst-ridden and that at least counts for something, which is more than I can say for a lot of the teenagers in the previous “Friday the 13th” films. But the real protagonist is more interesting—he’s a twelve-year-old horror film buff named Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman), who lives with his mother and older sister (Kimberly Beck—no bets on whether or not she’ll be the obligatory “final girl” who ends up fighting Jason) near that stupid Crystal Lake, where all those murders occurred in the previous films. Having a twelve-year-old kid around is strange enough for a slasher film.

(By the way, don’t you think the Jarvis family would have heard about them? Why didn’t they just move away?)

I suppose I should give away the ending of “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” What should it matter, anyway? This isn’t really the “final chapter,” after all. Jason has picked off all of the teenagers who just came in for a good time at the lake and has now come after Tommy and his sister. After the sister has tried to fight him off, little Tommy, who grabs a machete and slices the originally invincible killer apart, rescues her. That’s right—the little kid has done what all the older teenagers should have done in the other movies. He kills Jason…but he’ll come back. You’ll see.

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