The fourth installment in the Friday the 13th franchise, directed by Joseph Zito, was released in 1984. Any savvy horror fan knows never to trust a film with the word “final” in its title. But while The Final Chapter doesn’t give us a conclusion, it offers way more : everything a slasher should be !
The film opens directly where the previous chapter ended. Jason’s corpse is taken to the morgue where, after waking up, he disposes of two medical employees who are too keen on expressing their sexuality in the workplace. Near Crystal Lake, the Jarvis family (Trish, Tommy and their mom) are enjoying life in their country home while a group of teenagers arrive next door for a week-end of partying. The Jarvis children meet Rob, a camper set on avenging his sister, who was killed by Jason. The latter arrives soon after and starts doing what he does best : killing teenagers.
If you want the short version of this review, here you go : this is one of my favourite slashers, it is fantastic, stop reading and watch it now ! Okay, let’s expand on that a little bit. The Final Chapter has all the ingredients required for the perfect slasher recipe : good characters, a good story, good effects and good kills.
The Final Chapter gives us 2 groups of characters : the teenagers, following the classic Friday the 13th formula, and a family, bringing something fresh to the mix. It is also the first time a child is directly threatened by Jason. Corey Feldman does a good job as Tommy Jarvis, though the only aspect of the character that makes me raise an eyebrow is his unbelievable (and unrealistic) talent as a mask maker. Trish, Tommy’s older sister, is one of the best final girls so far (after Giny). What’s interesting in this installment is that the final girl is not just fighting for her own survival but is also protecting a loved one, which brings more emotion to the final sequence. She is also a strong character who doesn’t crawl to a corner and scream as Jason approaches, she actually fights him back. The group of teenagers may be as cliché as in previous entries but at least they are entertaining to watch. I dare anyone to watch Crispin Glover’s famous dancing and not cry of laughter ! He is the most memorable character of the bunch and every single one of his appearances on screen is hilarious.
The kills are not as memorable as in the previous films but Jason is now a little prankster who places bodies to scare his next victim. Though not as memorable, they are very brutal. Tom Savini returned to the franchise to do the effects on this final chapter. Being the one who created Jason’s look in the first Friday the 13th, master Savini wanted to return to see the end of his creation.
Friday the 13th : The Final Chapter is a really good slasher and one everybody interested in the genre should see. While I thought the kills were not as creative as in the previous films, their brutality makes up for it. There is only one thing that bothers me everytime I watch the film : what happened to Gordon ?! 🐶