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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Fakeout

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Adam Marcus, 1993) gets one star for its clever opening sequence, in which a well-armed paramilitary force sets up a trap for Jason Vorhees and blows him to kingdom come. It took a lot of movies for the people inhabiting the Friday the 13th universe to realize something paranormal really was going on at Camp Crystal Lake, but to their credit, when the time comes to take action, their plan makes sense. It's actually pretty cathartic to see a well-trained force dispatch Jason, serving rough justice to a monster responsible for dozens of violent murders. (I'm against the death penalty, but in the context of escapist fantasy, I can live with it.)

This is so neat, I thought, imagining that the promise of the film's title was about to be quickly kept. This movie is self-aware in the way the others in the series weren't. Now that Jason's dead, we'll see him being tormented in hell for his many despicable crimes. But what will hell look like for Jason? Maybe it will be a joyful utopia of carefree teens enjoying sex and drugs, and Jason can't do anything to stop them? Or maybe there will be some kind of redemption arc, and we'll learn hell's true purpose. 

My hopes were quickly dashed. Rather than doing anything interesting at all with the premise of a dead Jason, instead we get a rehash of The Hidden's murderous-body-jumping-parasite story. (If you haven't seen Jason Goes to Hell, watch The Hidden instead--please.)

As things turn out, Jason doesn't go to hell until the last five minutes or so, or at least that's what's implied. We don't actually see Jason in hell; instead, the filmmakers leave us with a silly tease for a crossover with Freddy of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. (Of course, this plot point is ignored in the next Friday the 13th movie, Jason X, and not followed up for an entire decade, in which Freddy does meet Jason in hell--sort of--but they don't spend any time there. Which makes one wonder if Freddy vs. Jason, though released later, comes before Jason X in terms of story chronology...)

It's a shame; Jason Goes to Hell could have been a really interesting movie. Instead, one is tempted to tell the screenwriter and director to abandon all hope of making more movies and instead join Jason in eternal torment. Or at least a couple of hours' worth of torment. 

1 comment:

Totty said...

You're adorable they way you think that this shlocky series was suddenly going to turn around and do something artistic and deep.