FRIDAY THE 13th THE FINAL CHAPTER
Director: Joseph Zito
Year of release: 1984
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 91 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Also known as: Friday the 13th 4 or part 4.
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: The Final Chapter picks up immediately after the events of the third film with Jason having been left for dead in the barn. The emergency services are now on hand to recover the bodies and Jason is transferred to the morgue of the local hospital believed dead. It doesn't take long however for him to arise and make his escape killing a doctor and nurse along the way. The following day we are introduced to the Jarvis family, a single mother, teenage daughter and twelve year old Tommy who live in the Camp Crystal Lake area. Located next door is a property that has just been rented out by a group of six young people. The renters meet up with two local twin sisters and plan a night of partying to be held at the house later that evening. Meanwhile the Jarvis siblings encounter a lone camper who although pleasant is a bit vague about what he is doing in the area. It later become apparent that he is the brother of one of Jason's victims and believing Jason to still be alive he is hoping to seek revenge if the killer returns to his old haunts. With the party at the rental house in full swing later that night Jason indeed puts in an appearance with chaos ensuing. After turning his attentions to the Jarvis family next door things begin to go awry for Jason who appears to have perhaps finally bitten off more than he can chew.
Good points: Up to a certain degree a fresh spin is put on things with the introduction of the Tommy character as up to this point in the series a child in peril was something we hadn't really seen. Also with Rob the camper passing on knowledge of Jason and Tommy later finding the clippings the Jarvis's are a bit more prepared than most with a better idea of what they are up against.
There are some good death scenes in here with make up and effects work from Tom Savini. The encounter at the end where Tommy attacks Jason looks great in terms of blood and gore as do some other moments like the corkscrew through the hand and the death of the doctor early on. I also have a soft spot for the death of one of the twins who is thrown from a high window to bounce off the roof of a car below in satisfying fashion.
It feels like a bit more thought and effort has gone into the characters in this film than in many other slashers. Teddy for example although annoying delivers some memorable lines in the "Let's put it in the old computer" and "Come and give the Teddy bear a kiss" with his pal Jimmy being very fondly remembered among slasher/horror fans for his iconic dance. The characters of Doug and Sara also come across as very decent sorts that I wanted to see survive. With Sara she actually seemed to have many final girl qualities and for a short while early on I thought she was being built up for that very role but of course in the end that didn't turn out to be the case. The Jarvis family are also likeable and prove to be very able opponents for Jason come the end of the film. I also liked the addition of a more prominent animal character this time around in the dog Gordon.
Bad Points: Although it was nice to see Gordon he was however responsible for one of the low points of the film where he for no obvious reason jumps out of an upstairs window presumably to his death. As far as we could see he didn't even encounter Jason.
There were one or two segments that were poorly lit such as when Rob was grappling with Jason in the cellar where it was tough to see what was going on. In this part we also got the line of "He's killing me" over and over from Rob which sounded a little weird. You would have thought Rob would put up more of a fight as well. So much for his grand plan for revenge!
I thought the death of the mother was a bit of a missed opportunity as it would have made more sense for Jason to string her body up for her daughter to find as that would have had more impact on her than just finding the kids next door that she barely knew. As it turns out though the mothers death is off camera and probably the worst in the film.
It was a bit unrealistic that no one from the group of kids really properly brought up the topic of all the recent murders for discussion. I know they thought Jason was dead but you would think it would still be a hot topic even if they believed it was all over. Part 2 did a better job of realism in this regard with some of the characters showing more interest in finding the old camp where the deaths from part 1 took place.
Verdict: The Final Chapter proves to be an entertaining entry into the franchise with some cool gore effects, fun deaths and likeable characters. The introduction of the Jarvis family was a nice touch as it was a change to see Jason up against something other than just horny teenagers. I did feel as if the series was starting to show the odd sign of running out of steam at this point though as despite adding the new element of Tommy it is all a bit repetitive by now and as if we have seen it all before. That said this is still a very solid entry that did for the most part keep me very entertained for the length of the film.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) The doctor Axel: Throat cut with hacksaw and then head twisted off.
2) Nurse: Stabbed in the chest.
3) Hitchhiker: Stabbed in the back of the neck while she eats a banana.
4) Samantha: Impaled from underneath while lying in a dinghy in the water.
5) Paulie: Stabbed in the testicles with a harpoon.
6) Terri: Impaled against the wall.
7) Jimmy: Hand spiked with a corkscrew and then sliced in the head.
8) Tina: Thrown from an upstairs window landing on a car below.
9) Tommy's mother: Killed off camera.
10) Doug: Head crushed with Jason's bare hands in the shower.
11) Sara: Hit in the chest with an axe.
12) Teddy: Stabbed in the back of the head through a film screen.
13) Rob: Beaten to death in the cellar possibly with a hammer though it was hard to see.