An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at the fourth film in the Friday the 13th series, 1984’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Days after the events of Friday the 13th Part 3, the Jarvis family and several teens on vacation are stalked by Jason near Crystal Lake while another arrives to hunt Jason.
Is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Scary?
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter has some jump scares and tries some fake-out scenes where the music builds as a character wanders around on their own. For some reason, they didn’t work for me but maybe for others, it’ll bring suspense. This Friday the 13th does feel like the goriest thus far though, you’ll see plenty of kills and if gore scares you, this one may unnerve you.
Overall you won’t leave Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter scared unless you’re on your way to a vacation in the woods where several dozen people were recently murdered.
All Friday the 13th Explanations/Reviews:
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Full Plot Summary:
Last we left Jason he had finally acquired his iconic mask and also an axe to the face which supposedly killed him yet, here we are. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter starts off with an obvious lie in the title and the film begins with scenes recapping the last 3 films.
We open on the night after the events of Friday the 13th Part 3 as police, helicopters, and EMTs are swarming Higgins Haven investigating and collecting all the dead bodies, including Jason’s. The last film ended in the early morning with police escorting final girl Chris out of the camp which means police are moving extremely slowly to investigate this. This is especially alarming since, canonically, this is just three days after the events of Friday the 13th Part 2 so you would think they would be responding incredibly quickly to more murders.
Jason’s body is delivered to a disrespectful coroner Axel (played by Bruce Mahler) who places his sandwich on Jason.
As Axel flirts with Nurse Morgan (played by Lisa Freeman) and invites her back to the cold room for some “overtime”, we see Jason’s body start to move. A short time later, the two are making out in front of Jason’s corpse, he’s covered by a blanket so I guess it’s not weird. Jason’s hand then falls from the under the blanket freaking out Nurse Morgan and cockblocking Axel.
After a very angry Morgan leaves Axel, he decides to finally put Jason’s corpse into a morgue locker but doesn’t notice when it opens on its own. Apparently, Jason has all his points in stealth because, despite the morgue lockers being directly behind Axel, he doesn’t hear Jason get out of the locker and walk up behind him. Jason picks up a hacksaw, grabs Axel, and starts sawing at his neck before giving up and just twisting his head around.
Meanwhile, Morgan is now in a storage room taking inventory when she drops a vial causing her to turn her back to the door. Jason enters, pins her to the wall, and eviscerates her with a scalpel. So we’re starting off with some pretty violent and gory deaths.
We hard-cut to the next day where we meet some of our main characters, Trish Jarvis and her divorced mother Tracy Jarvis (played by Kimberly Beck and Joan Freeman), who are out on a run in the woods. The two return home and we learn they live near Crystal Lake along with Tracy’s other son, young mask-maker Tommy Jarvis (played by Corey Feldman), and their dog Gordon.
You would think after all the murders they would have temporarily moved away from the lake area. Then again, maybe they heard the serial killer was killed and now they have nothing to worry about, it’s not like there’s a bunch of teens headed to Camp Crystal Lake.
We cut to a bunch of teens headed to Camp Crystal Lake and not just the lake, these teens have rented the house next door to the Jarvis’s. In the screenshots below, from left to right we have Doug (played by Peter Barton), Sam (played by Jodie Aronson), Doug’s girlfriend Sara (played by Barbara Howard), Sam’s boyfriend Paul (played by Clyde Hayes), the most annoying character in this movie Ted (played Lawrence Monoson), and Jimmy (played by Crispin Glover).
There’s some real cringe-inducing dialogue between Ted and Jimmy where Ted uses an imaginary computer to figure out why Jimmy and his most recent ex broke up. Though it’s horrible dialogue, we learn that Jimmy is awkward and has some esteem issues and Ted is just annoying.
While driving down the road the group stops near a small cemetery to figure out if they’re lost. Conveniently they stop in front of Pamela Voorhees’ gravestone which raises the question, does Jason know about this gravesite? The group continues on their drive and passes by a hitchhiker they decline to pick up.
The hitchhiker is then immediately killed by Jason who stabs her in the throat… whoops.
That night the teens arrive at the house and Tommy and Trish head over to introduce themselves. The next day while the 6 teens are heading out to the lake for a picnic they bump into twins Tina and Terri (played by Camilla More and Carey More respectively… I think).
While the teens along with Tina and Terri skinny dip at the lake, Trish, Tommy, and Gordon are out for a drive when their car breaks down. Luckily yet another character, Rob Dier (played by Erich Anderson), arrives and helps fix the car. As a thank you, Trish offers to give him a ride during which Rob seems extremely interested in finding out if anyone recently arrived at the lake specifically, teens on vacation.
Trish confirms a group of them arrived the day before and it’s clear Rob knows more than he’s letting on.
That night our 6 teens along with Tina and Terri throw a party where Jimmy shows off his incredibly horrible dance moves. Paul changes the music to something slower and is approached by Tina who starts to flirt with him. Seeing this, Sam, who I remind you is Paul’s girlfriend, cuts in to separate them because you can’t have a teen slasher without some teen drama.
Later the teens have a drinking contest and after Tina’s victory, she once again tries to hit on Paul. Sam gets angry and leaves to go for a swim which seems like a really bad idea. Meanwhile Paul, now thinking with his dick, decides to stay behind.
At the lake, Sam hears some sounds coming from the woods and assumes it’s Paul and that’s a mistake. After calling out to him, she strips down and jumps into the lake, swimming toward a random raft. Onboard the raft, Sam tries again to call out for Paul but instead gets a visit from Jason who stabs her in the chest through the bottom of the raft.
Back at the party, Paul realizes he fucked up and leaves Tina to search for Sam. Tina then sets her sights on Jimmy and they head upstairs for some privacy and by that I mean sex. Ted decides to hit on Terri but he’s quickly shut down.
At the lake, Paul spots Tina on the raft which is somehow still floating, and swims over to her only to discover she’s dead. Paul hurriedly swims back to the pier but is stabbed in the dick with a harpoon gun by Jason. Lifting him in the air with the gun, that is embedded in his pelvis, Jason fires the gun and presumably kills Paul.
Meanwhile somewhere close by, Rob is camping out in the middle of the woods and hears Paul’s screams. Grabbing a machete, he decides to go investigate.
Rob gets a few feet away from his tent when he hears someone at his campsite. Turning around he sees someone, presumably Jason, walking away from the tent. Rob runs back and inside finds his rifle has been broken which is his fault for leaving it out in the open.
Back at the party, Terri knocks on Jimmy’s door and tells her sister she’s ready to go home. Deciding she won’t be cockblocked by someone who looks just like her, Tina tells Terri to go without her and she reluctantly leaves the house as a storm starts. Outside Terri grabs her bike but Jason appears and impales her onto the wall with a spear.
Despite being impaled just outside the window where Sara, Doug, and Ted are sitting, it’s implied no one hears this because of Ted’s annoying loud laughter.
At the Jarvis’s, Tracy arrives home from a run, discovers the house is empty with the power out, and wonders where Tommy, Trish, and Gordon are. It’s a good question because the last we saw Trish and Tommy, they were both home so where the hell did they go? Tracy heads outside to search and appears to be killed off-screen.
A few minutes later Trish and Tommy arrive home from who knows where and search the house for Tracy. Realizing something is wrong, Trish tells Tommy to stay behind and fix the lights as she heads into the woods to search for their mom. Coming upon Rob’s empty tent, Trish heads inside to get out of the rain. Don’t know why she didn’t bring an umbrella to begin with but whatever.
As she sits there, we see the shadow of someone holding a machete approaching and despite the movie wanting you to believe it’s Jason, it’s clearly Rob. Rob, assuming that the intruder in his tent is a killer, slashes at the tent with the machete but relaxes when Trish crawls out.
Back at the teen party house, Sara tells Doug she’s ready to have sex for the first time and she heads upstairs to get ready. Meanwhile, after Jimmy and Tina finish having sex, Jimmy heads downstairs to gloat to a very drunk Ted and then to the kitchen to search for a corkscrew for a wine bottle.
Deciding to help, Jason finds the corkscrew and slams it through Jimmy’s hand pinning him to the counter. For reasons that I can only assume are due to Jimmy not thanking Jason, Jason buries a meat cleaver into Jimmy’s face, killing him.
Upstairs, Tina searches for Jimmy and spots her sister’s bike outside the house through a window. Taking a closer Tina gets way too close to a window in a horror movie and Jason breaks through, grabs Tina, and throws her down onto a car, killing her. How did Jason get up there so fast? How did he know someone would be looking out the window at the exact moment he was up there? Shhhh ’80s teen slasher means you shouldn’t think too hard.
Back at Rob’s tent, we learn that Rob is the brother of Sandra from Friday the 13th Part 2, and is out searching for her killer who he believes is Jason. Trish says Jason is dead but Rob points out that Jason’s body disappeared from the morgue two days ago right before two workers went missing.
Does this mean Jason cleans up after his murders? There was a lot of blood after killing Axel and Nurse Morgan, there’s no way anyone thinks they’re missing unless Jason cleaned up the blood. Anyway, Trish realizes they’re in deep shit and remembers Tommy is home alone.
Back at the teen party house, Jason kills Ted by stabbing him in the head through a projector screen. Upstairs Sara and Doug finish having shower sex and she leaves him to dry her hair with a blow dryer. Doug starts happily and loudly singing while he showers… it’s pretty bad to the point where you just wished he’d stop.
Jason enters the bathroom and kills Doug by crushing his head against the ceramic tiles. A minute later Sara enters the bathroom and understandably freaks out when she sees Doug dead. Running downstairs, she tries to escape the house through the front door but Jason throws an axe through it, impaling her in the chest.
At the Jarvis’s Trish and Rob arrive and find Tommy perfectly fine. The three decide to call for help just as we see Jason outside destroying the phone box because Jason hates snitches. Trish, Rob, and Gordon the Dog head to the teen’s house to call for help while Tommy stays behind in the locked house.
The three find the first floor empty and Rob decides to head to the basement alone after giving Trish his machete. As he enters the basement, Gordon runs upstairs where I can only assume he sees a dead body because he jumps out of the window and runs off. It’s literally a what the fuck scene.
Meanwhile, at the Jarvis’s house, Tommy searches through Rob’s stuff and finds multiple newspaper articles regarding Jason and his mother’s murders. Among these, he finds several drawings depicting what Jason looked like as a child.
Back at the teen party house, Trish wonders what caused Gordon to jump out of a window and finds Doug’s body pinned to the bathroom wall. Trish screams and runs down to the basement where she alerts Rob that Jason is in the house. Before they can leave the basement Jason appears and grabs Rob throwing him against a wall.
Using a garden claw, Jason stabs Rob multiple times in what becomes an unintentionally hilarious scene as Rob continuously yells out “Oh god, he’s killing me” and then randomly adds in “Trish run.”
Trish runs back to the first floor but as Rob’s screams die down, she decides to return to the basement for some reason. There, she sees Rob’s dead body and heads back upstairs only for Jason to break through the stairs and grab her leg. Using the machete, Trish hacks at his hand and is able to escape.
After finding Jason has placed Tina’s body at the door and Jimmy’s body on the back door, Trish escapes the house through a window and runs back to Tommy. The two nail the door close and lock the windows but, I don’t think that’s going to do much when you have a killer who loves breaking through windows and yours look like this…
Unsurprisingly Jason throws Rob’s body, which now has a hammer embedded in his head, through the window. In shock, Tommy backs up and gets too close to the other window allowing Jason to break through and grab him.
Trish grabs the hammer out of Rob’s head and using the claw end, stabs Jason in the back of the neck. After Jason releases Tommy to deal with a hammer in his neck, Tommy and Trish run upstairs barricading themselves in Tommy’s room. Jason breaks through the front door and chases after them but is now not strong enough to break through a dresser in front of a door.
Using an axe, he breaks through the door Shining style and pushes the dresser out of the way. Before he can open the door, Trish slams a television down onto Jason’s head, knocking him out.
Since Jason is totally still alive, Trish tells Tommy she is going to lead him away from the house at which point Tommy should run like hell. On cue, Jason wakes up and attempts to attack Trish but she successfully avoids him and runs out of the house. With Jason chasing after her, Trish runs to the teen party house and runs upstairs in a very poorly planned plan.
Seeing no other option, Trish jumps out of a window but luckily the rain has softened the ground and she lands in the mud. Though she is momentarily knocked out, Trish gets back up and stumbles her way back to the Jarvis’s house. There, we see Tommy in the upstairs bathroom cutting off chunks of his hair like there’s not a serial killer trying to murder him.
Trish realizes Tommy is still in the house despite her instructions to “run like hell” but can’t do anything as Jason has also returned. Using Rob’s machete, Trish swipes at Jason eventually driving the machete between his fingers. Jason lunges at Trish and pushes her to the ground but before he can kill her, Tommy runs downstairs with his new haircut that mirrors Jason’s when he was a boy.
Tommy calls out to Jason and the very confused Jason approaches him. Does Jason think Tommy is him as a child or is he just so shocked that anyone would do that to their hair? With Jason distracted, Trish grabs the machete and swipes at Jason but only manages to knock off his mask. Just the worst aim imaginable.
Jason turns back to Trish and we get a detailed look at his face which causes Trish to drop the machete.
Jason makes his way to Trish but Tommy grabs the machete and slashes at Jason’s head embedding the machete into it. Jason falls to the ground onto the machete which further cuts open his head.
Tommy picks up the bloody machete and Trish embraces him as Jason seemingly dies. While hugging, Tommy sees Jason’s fingers twitch, and believing this means Jason isn’t dead, Tommy pushes Trish out of the way and hacks at Jason’s head over and over with the machete. Trish begs him to stop but Tommy just continues to hack away while yelling “die, die!”
Sometime later Trish is in the hospital and a doctor tells her that what Tommy did was perfectly normal under the circumstances. That feels true but the way he says it makes me think they’re not planning on a therapy regimen for Tommy. Trish asks to see Tommy to ensure he’s okay and he’s sent in. The film ends as the two hug and Tommy gives an unsettling look to the camera.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is good compared to the other films in the series and you can tell it was trying to do something completely different. Friday the 13th Part 2 felt like a standard slasher with the generic tropes we know today, Friday the 13th Part 3 had more characters with backstory and light attempts at making them feel real, but this film tried to do all the best parts of those films even better. And, I do mean tried because it’s not that effective but it does elevate the movie over the preceding two.
This felt like three different plot lines merged into one movie; you had the teens in a cabin, the Jarvis family in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Rob who was trying to get revenge on Jason. Each of those could have been its own film.
That’s not to say Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter doesn’t have flaws. The dialogue (specifically with the teens) is not good at all, the acting is alright, and it did get to a point where there were so many characters you just didn’t care for them. Character decisions were pretty stupid like Rob going back to the basement for his knife despite Trish having his machete and Sam going out to the lake for a swim are just a few examples.
Overall I would recommend Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter to anyone who’s a fan of Friday the 13th and slashers. It’s possibly the best of the series up to that point but that’s my subjective opinion.