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FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Kimberly Beck, Peter Barton, Crispin Glover, Corey Feldman
Director: Joseph Zito
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 91 Minutes
Release Date: June 16, 2009

“DIE!...DIE!...DIE!...DIE!”

Film **

I don’t think anyone could have foreseen a single movie series growing as fast and frequent as Friday the 13th. In just three years time, two sequels had already been made to the 1980 low budget slasher movie phenomenon. After delivering Jason to the audience in 3D for the third movie, there was only one way to get people back in seats…the promise of Jason’s total demise.

And by it being titled Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, unsuspecting audiences in the year 1984 were probably expecting, well, a FINAL CHAPTER. Looking back though, the trickiness of studio marketing was unfamiliar at the time, and it was easy for moviegoers to get suckered in for anything. The movie may as well have been titled Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter…for the year 1984.

Remember in the previous three movies where young campers would venture off to Camp Crystal Lake, have sex and do a bit of drugs only to end up getting slaughtered to death? Yeah, that  also happens in this one too. Basically, Jason wakes up in a hospital, kills a few people there and then heads back over to his campgrounds to break the body count record for 84. Aside from a few solid graphic kills from Mr. Voorhees himself, who I think should always bow to the audience after he does in his victims, and early appearances from two notable actors, nothing is distinctive here in terms of story.

The two aforementioned actors are Mr. George McFly himself Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman, both of whom were at the beginning of their careers…and were damn lucky to have one afterwards. Glover is, surprise-surprise, one of the unlucky teen victims but does have one significant scene in the movie where he performs what is literally the single weirdest dance in the history of mankind. You will simply have to see it just to make sure I’m not making it up.

As for the extremely young Mr. Feldman, he is the first to step in the role of Tommy Jarvis, a character who would last for the next two movies. Tommy actually becomes Jason’s first big nemesis, which spells trouble for just about everyone. And though he and Jason share a memorably bloody battle at the end, it all feels just a little bit tacked on.

And as for what is indicated by the final shot of the movie…don’t get me started. I can only imagine what it must have been like seeing this in a theater the year it came out, thinking it was indeed going to be The Final Chapter, only to react to the final frame with the words ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME? Then again, perhaps hardcore Friday the 13th fans were always hungry for more.

And indeed we got more the following year…in the worst way possible!

Video **

Of all the Friday movies I’ve seen on DVD, this one is the weakest so far in terms of video quality. Having never seen the original DVD release, I can’t say if this serves as an improvement. There’s a great deal of grain in the early scenes and though it does improve for the remainder of the flick, so much of age shows in the anamorphic picture. And like most movies in the series, it takes place mostly at night time, which doesn’t help the age factor much. You could do a lot worse for an early 80s pic, but given the quality of the first three movies I suppose I expected more.

Audio **1/2

The 5.1 mix is adequate enough for a movie with this much age. Not a whole much surround sound comes into play, as pretty much all of the action is confined to the front range area. The gory kills do sound more effective than ever and Harry Manfredini’s score is the highlight of the presentation.

Features ***1/2

Paramount continues the proper Deluxe Edition treatment with the Friday series, including yet another awesome lenticular slip cover which adds tremendous collector’s value. As far as extras go, we get two commentaries; the first with director Joseph Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman. There’s also a featurette titled “Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”, as well as an extended look at Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves, Slashed Scenes, A Lost Ending, the new fourth part in the “Lost Tales From Camp Blood” series, as well as the first part of a new short titled “The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited” and a Theatrical Trailer.

Summary:

Final Chapter? Who were they kidding? The fourth installment in the Friday the 13th saga is nothing special by any means. The gore factor is spectacular, but that’s about it.

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