Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Released: 1984

Directed by Joseph Zito

Where to begin? As a series, Friday the 13th is ripe for scrutiny for all too obvious reasons: incoherent plot, predictable and dumb characters, and so on. The fourth entry tries to be innovative and nearly succeeds, except for all the reasons listed above.

Miraculously, Jason survives an ax to the head and returns to his favorite camping spot to terrorize a new group of promiscuous teenagers.

Whereas Part III could have served as a legitimate ending to this series, "The Final Chapter" is anything but. The audience genuinely wants to know what will happen to Jason as the credits roll, unlike in later entries where one can simply suppose that Jason will survive, be reborn, etc. The bad news is that things only get interesting in the final fifteen minutes of the film; this seems to be a persistent trend across the series. The brutal deaths of a half-dozen or so unlucky kids feels more like filler than plot. While interesting and, at times, creative, it's hard not to feel as if the film is simply running through the motions to get to the goods.

Jason is an odd, underdeveloped, and uneven character. At this point, it's not clear what Jason is supposed to be: a feral human?; a monster?; a demon? All that is clear is that he rather enjoys murderous rampages and cleverly hiding the bodies for scare antics, haunted house style. Prior to the final act, Jason sneaks around a crowded house and kills with cold efficiency, not unlike Michael Myers. At the film's conclusion, he is suddenly fumbling around, loudly and sluggish. It's clear that at some point Jason did not take child grabbing classes (sorry for the awful joke; see here).

The Final Chapter is a successful continuation of the overarching story. Though the film ends on a high note, there are too many low points during the build.

Rating: 4/10

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