Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter
directed by Joseph Zito
(Paramount, 1984)

"Has the diabolical Jason finally met his match?" Uh, no. Corey Feldman, people; we are talking about Corey Feldman here. Of all the people on the planet, Corey Feldman is just about the last person capable of taking Jason out of the game. Truly, I had forgotten that Feldman was Jason's main event opponent in this "final chapter" of the series. Rightly or wrongly, that just takes something away from what is otherwise a darn good sequel's sequel's sequel -- until the ending, anyway.

Personally, I think this series jumped the shark when Feldman's character devised his unique plan for facing Jason face to face. In fact, I consider the shark re-jumped in the final frame of the film. It's still a strong entry in the series, the last one that actually tries to scare the audience, but the ending is just a little too hard for me to swallow.

In case you're not scoring at home, here's where we are. It's been five years since Mrs. Voorhees went postal all over Camp Crystal Lake -- and less than a week since Jason made his killing debut in the second film. The third movie took up where the second one ended, and now this one takes up where the third one ended. That adds up to two massacres within a matter of days. Now Jason's body has disappeared from the morgue (along with a disgusting doc and a pretty nurse). Now if I were living in the immediate area of these bloodlettings with a hot teenaged daughter and a nerdy young son, I think I'd probably keep them close to home for awhile, especially at night. Not so with Mrs. Jarvis -- who we know is up to speed on recent local events because we see her reading a newspaper reporting Jason's disappearance from the morgue -- Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy (Corey Feldman) are in and out more often than George Michael in a public park at midnight.

Oddly enough, given the fact they live deep in the isolated woods, the Jarvises have another house directly beside them. And who should show up for a temporary vacation there? Yep, a gang of horny teenagers. Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter really delivers on the T&A, with everyone getting a piece of the action except for self-acclaimed ladies' man Ted (Lawrence Monoson). None of these characters are worth mentioning, though -- except for the fact that they make great victims for a bulked-up Jason, who doesn't let a little thing like dying keep him from jumping off his hospital gurney and killing everyone he comes across.

Tommy Jarvis (Feldman) is a big horror fan, and that is supposed to give him some kind of psychological edge against Jason. Frankly, though, his plan for survival is so ridiculous that I wouldn't believe it in a million years. It feels as if the film is actually making fun of itself in the last few scenes, and that does a number to the effectiveness of the movie as a whole.

As far as Jason is concerned, though, this marks some of his finest work. He's fast, he's furious, he's expanding the scope and effect of his murder techniques and -- most of all -- there's just no stopping the guy. Having horror makeup guru Tom Savini back on the project also pays huge dividends, as Jason never looked better (by which I mean worse -- as we do get another peek at the unfortunate man behind the mask) -- but, heck, you already know that Savini is the master. If it weren't for the silly aspects of the ending, this would probably be the best film in the series.

review by
Daniel Jolley

7 August 2010

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