Jason Goes To Hell: The “Final” Friday

August 14, 2010 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

Disgraceful. No one word has ever so accurately described a movie. I’m not going to say the previous Friday the 13th movies were flawless. I wouldn’t even go so far as to call them good. But they were entertaining. Even if you didn’t find the Jason movies entertaining, a legion of fans would disagree with you.  Friday the 13th is amongst the most successful horror franchise. Out of all of them, only the first and maybe second are the only ones that could be considered good movies in the technical scene of the word. The rest of the movies were fun slasher films. Jason Goes To Hell fails at whatever it is they were trying to do.

What were they trying to do with this movie? Most certainly they weren’t aiming for an Academy Award.  It’s a Jason Vorhees slasher film. Were they trying to make a Jason Vorhees slasher film? Hell no! Jason is only in the movie for five minutes. Were they trying to make a decent horror film, and just use the Jason name to get people into the theater? If that was the intention, then they failed horribly.  The movie doesn’t make a lick of sense any way you slice it.

The story completely doesn’t fit with any of the other movies. Here it is anyway. The movie starts out like a typical Jason movie. A young girl is in a cabin in the woods when Jason shows up looking to kill her. She runs through the woods until the FBI shows up and blasts Jason to a million pieces. Then the FBI takes Jason’s pieces to a coroner. Why? Generally the coroner determines cause of death. The FBI should know what the cause of death is, they are the ones who blew him to bits. Then, for no reason at all the coroner eats Jason’s heart like a twinkie and that possesses him with the soul of Jason. Coroner Jason goes on a killing spree and heads from Ohio to Camp Crystal Lake. The FBI apparently has no interest in tracking down Jason this time. The news report tells us that several Jason style murders have happened between Ohio and Crystal Lake and the only man who knows how to stop Jason is Creighton Duke. So why isn’t the FBI integrating Duke? He will only stop Jason for the sum of $500,000. See, he’s a bounty hunter. Somehow I doubt Dog the Bounty Hunter would be chasing after a maniacal serial killer but whatever. I’m just picturing Dog having Jason in cuffs telling him to get off the ice and get with Christ.  From there, it gets kind of murky.  We meet Diana. She is a waitress and involved with the town sheriff. Jessica, her daughter whom is dating the sleazy news reporter who is following the Jason story closely. Then there is Steven, father of Jessica’s newborn baby. Apparently, $500,000 is the equivalent of breaking all of someones fingers. Steven allows Duke to break all his fingers and Duke pretty much delivers all the exposition. The only way to truly kill Jason is to have a member of his family stab him in the heart with a magic dagger. At the same time, Jason is jumping from body to body by kissing people and putting a slug in their body. When the slug gets into a member of his family, he will be restored to full power. So Jason kills Diana but doesn’t possess her body because that would mean Jason would actually be in this movie for longer than five minutes. Eventually, after many people get killed, he does possess the body of Diana and is turned back into the real Jason. But then he gets a knife in the heart and sent to hell.

There is so much wrong with this story,  I don’t know where to begin. How is it all of a sudden Jason has a family? This was never mentioned in any other movie. And how exactly does Jason know all of this? He is a lumbering zombie that sleeps at the bottom of a lake. Yet somehow he knows exactly what he is suppose to do and who he is suppose to find. I know I’m trying to find logic in a series of slasher films which is kind of silly. But what is important here is that this movie, the ninth in the series, follows already established movie logic. The news report claims that only Creighton Duke knows how to destroy Jason. How did he learn that? From the Necronomicon, which makes a cameo in this movie? Ok, now I am suppose to believe that Friday the 13th is in cannon with Evil Dead? Wrap your mind around that one for a while. Even though Duke is suppose to be the one guy who knows how to destroy Jason, Diana seems to know exactly what he is talking about when he confronts her about Jason being on the loose.  Ok, so Diana knows that only she can kill Jason and only through her or her daughter can he be reborn. Why didn’t she try killing him in an earlier movie? Why wouldn’t Tommy Jarvis, whom was determined to destroy Jason for good, try to find out all of this stuff?  At some point someone must have told Diana about this whole Jason thing. And she lives right in Crystal Lake. You would figure at some point, after the first twenty or so people get murdered by Jason she would have stepped forward to defeat him. Nope, she sits on this information while countless people die in all the previous movies.  Knowing who these people are, where they came from, and their relation to each other is important, especially when you’re trying to depart so drastically from established continuity.

Which brings us to the next problem, the characters. Not one character in this movie is well developed. Nobody changes, nobody learns anything. All we ever learn about Diana is that she is the sister of Jason, she is a waitress, and she is involved with the town sheriff. Jessica has a little more going for her. All we know about her is that she has had a kid recently, is somehow involved with a nationally known investigative reporter, is Diana’s daughter, and was involved with Steven. Steven is by far the worst character in this movie. We know nothing about him and he is horribly mis-casted.  The guy looks like the stereotypical nerd of every movie. They could have cast Eddie Deezen to play the part of Steven and it would have been a far superior movie. What we know about him is that he is the father of Jessica’s baby. That’s it. Nothing more is ever explained about who he is, what he does, or anything. Keep in mind, this is our male lead and we know nothing about him. The arguably best character in the movie is Creighton Duke. He is a one note character but he plays that one note quite well. He is a greedy bounty hunter that has a history with Jason and a sadistic streak. Duke is very sure of himself.  The problem with him is suspicious character motivations. In the beginning, he wants to get paid. They go so far as to rip off a line from Jaws. “$500,000, cash. For that you get the mask, the machete, the whole damn thing.” Then, he tells Steven everything he knows about Jason in exchange for allowing Duke to break his fingers. Then, in the conclusion, he says that it’s not about money anymore it’s about finishing off Jason once and for all. He even yells at Jason “Remember me, Mother Fucker!” This history with Jason isn’t hinted at or explained at any other part of the movie. It’s just a throw away line but it literally destroys everything about this character. If Duke has a history with Jason, perhaps Jason killed his wife or something, then why is he so insistent on getting paid to kill Jason at the beginning of the movie? Is he driven by revenge, monetary gain, or sadism? It’s never explained. This is no way to handle characters in a movie. Without any character development, why should we care about anything that happens in this movie? The character are as flat and lifeless and the most stock Jason victim. At least with your usual Jason victims, we get to know a little about them. They are young people who want to get high and have sex out in the woods. They are young, dumb, irresponsible, and it will cost them their lives. That is far more than we are given with any character in Jason Goes To Hell.

The next big problem is Jason himself. The makeup effects in the Friday the 13th movies have waxed and waned throughout the series. Generally, they were at least respectable. Most fans will tell you that the best designed Jason is from Part 7. Since the director was a former make up effects artist, I suppose that would make sense. The attention to every detail on Jason was amazing. In this movie, for the five minutes Jason is on screen, he looks horrible. It is colorful, sure, but it also looks fake. He looks like he is made of plastic. Usually when hockey mask Jason is on screen, he is getting beaten to a pulp. Jason gets exactly one kill as real Jason in this movie. He comes close to killing Steven but not quite. But the rest of the time he gets pretty much beaten up. As if the film makers really hated Jason and just wanted to make him look weak and pathetic. Throughout most of the movie Jason is in someone else body. Remember how most people got angry at Halloween 3 because Michael Myers wasn’t in it? This is even worst than that. Halloween 3 wasn’t trying to be a Michael Myers movie. Jason Goes To Hell tries to fool the audience into thinking they are watching a Jason movie. But Jason is barely in it. I have no idea what the possible motivation could be to not have Jason in this movie. Jason is an iconic character in the horror movie genre. Everyone recognizes the hockey mask. Hockey mask = Jason. And he is beloved for it. So why try to shy away from it? People want to see Jason as the Jason we all know and love. That’s what we are paying for. It’s completely senseless to change all of that into a rip off of The Hidden.

Jason Goes To Hell is a complete and utter failure. Not even as just a Friday the 13th movie, not just as a horror movie, but just as a movie in general. The special effects are phony looking, the music is uninspired, the performances are dull, and the cinematography is average at best.  As a fan, I feel insulted by this movie. There are two possibilities with this movie. Either the makers of the film did a sloppy job due to a rushed schedule and pressure to get any kind of finished product out the door and into theaters. Or they simply didn’t care about what they were doing. They had contempt for the audience and felt like making a Friday the 13th movie was beneath them. So they threw this together without a care in the world as to what they were doing.  I’d say you decide but this is a movie I encourage you to never watch. It’s a wasted opportunity at best and a pathetic disgrace at worst.

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