Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In short: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

It seems as if this Halloween season, I’m going to slog through the less popular sequels of some of everyone’s favourite slasher franchises, just in case other blogs’ ways of keeping Halloween classy by concerning themselves with good horror movies is getting too much for you. Don’t be afraid, gentle reader, things will get better around here again once the great day has come and gone. Or before, depending on time, sanity, and the quality of slasher sequels.

Jason (this time embodied by one Ted White), wakes up in the morgue, kills a couple of people, and returns to his wood home to start a new cycle of slashing teenagers. You’d think the police would start to get how this thing works by now, particularly since Jason’s last two killing sprees were just a day or so past, but of course they’ll only appear to mop up the bodies.

Anyway, the fourth and not so very final Friday the 13th film is pretty much the same as the last ones, only where the first film codified a lot of elements of the slasher Halloween actually didn’t codify (and which Halloween 2 would later ape with little success), where the second one was really rather good and, and where the third one was entertainingly stupid, this one’s just boring. Sure, it’s less aggressively dumb than number three, but replaces that film’s high level stupidity with nothing remarkable at all, resulting in too many scenes of nothing happening until Jason finally kills someone.

However, the kills look and feel curiously perfunctory, with little on screen that seems actually transgressive, the oh-so-shocking on-screen violence feeling boring and not a little tepid, robbed of any context surrounding them as they are. Not one of the stalking scenes is actually suspenseful, and the film’s final girl sequence is lacking in imagination and punch, which has a lot to do with the fact that the film spent by far not enough time with our final girl of the night, Trish (Kimberly Beck), leaving her as the film’s final girl just because she’s the last one standing.

You might imagine that adding her special effects make-up loving kid brother Tommy (young Corey Feldman) to the mix would change things up a little, but Barney Cohen’s script only uses him for a – limp – rehash of an iconic scene from the second part.

The script is generally quite adept at wasting opportunities – there’s also a guy sneaking around hunting Jason, which again amounts to little of interest in the end. Really, the only opportunity the film doesn’t waste is showing us Crispin Glover’s dance moves.

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