top of page

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

As with every 'Friday the 13th' movie since the original, we once again get a highlight reel of the events for the previous three 'Friday' movies before the opening credits. This time intertwined with camp councilor Paul's fireside tale from 'Friday the 13th Part 2'. We get a full recap of Jason's Camp Crystal Lake backstory along with a showcase of the events that have lead us to this movie. This is a troupe used in some movies to bring audiences up to speed with were we are at this point in the series and something that has now become a staple tradition with this franchise. As someone who usually finds this to be a lazy use of valuable screen time, for some reason it didn't bother me here, and now four movies in, I rather appreciated the update.

Tom Savini makes his welcomed return to the franchise as special effects artist. For me, this is a void they have struggled to fill since his departure after the original 4 years earlier. Wasting no time, it's clear from the opening kills in the hospital that Savini wanted to make his return known. Featuring some of the best practical effects and most creative kills these movies have seen for some time. With more side characters we are usually used to from a 'Friday the 13th' movie, Savini's showcasing of practical effects makes each over bloated cast member feel welcomed knowing at some stage we will likely encounter his work play out in all its creative glory.

Along with the practical effects, the casting is easily the most superior we have seen in this franchise to date. Grated there are a lot of characters here that hold no importance and are instantly forgettable. However, the few individuals we do get to focus on feel more of a pivotal piece of the story from their initial introduction than anything we have seen from these movie up until this point. With the welcomed addition of both Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis and Crispin Glover as Jimmy Mortimer in leading roles to the narrative. And although I've mentioned that the remaining cast are rather forgettable, I still found them all to deliver more than adequate enough performances.

Kimberley Beck takes on the role as our latest final girl Trish Jarvis in 'The Final Chapter', and as much as I liked her as a character and the actress who plays her, I just felt her character wasn't developed enough throughout the course of the films run time to hold a big enough connection the her in the closing act. The fault of this once again fall with the over saturated cast. With so much going on with unimportant subplots, it's difficult to focus an attachment with anyone character, knowing whether or not they will make it to see the final credits. If this was an intentional move from writer Victor Miller, I'm not sure he hit the intended effect with his decision.

This time around we get Ted White stepping in to fill the boots of the hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees, taking over from Richard Brooker who last portrayed him in 'Friday the 13th Part 3'. One thing I found this installment lacked when it comes to the character of Jason, is that childlike curiosity he inhabited in the previous two incarnations. And for better or worse, depending on what you have come to want from these movies, Jason is now a just a relentless killing machine. Being one of the most brutal and intimidating versions of this character we have seen so far, any form of empathy that was once attached to him, has been replaced with pure relentless savagery.

I'm conflicted with my overall opinions on 'The Final Chapter', because on the one had this is without doubt one of the strongest movies in the franchise to date when it comes to the mindless slasher aspects of its runtime. Yet on the other hand, it seems to have lost all of the heart and meaningful backstory that helps keep the character of Jason Voorhees endearing. This is certainly a divisive movie amongst fans of the franchise and paves the way for how I imagine the rest of this franchise is going to play out. And whilst I have my issues with its disregard for prior entries in the series, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a great time watching Jason hack his with through the sea of forgettable characters featured in this movie.



bottom of page