Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday the 13th: The Not So Final Chapter

My real-time blogging of the Friday the 13th franchise continues with Part 4: The Final Chapter. Apparently, it was meant to be the last sequel. But then it made a ton of money and Paramount changed its mind. False advertising aside, let's see how this one holds up...

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Directed by Joseph Zito
Special Make-up Effects: Tom Savini
Starring Corey "Goonie" Feldman and Crispin Glover

Prologue: recap central! I actually like how the movies recap the major plot points from the previous flicks. Of course, there's only about 3 plot points worth recapping. In case you missed the 3D spectacle that was the last film, Jason was left with an axe in his head courtesy of the Final Girl. Let's all pray that he gets better. And then the credits explode! (3:00)

We start off immediately where Part 3 ended. Once again, a Friday the 13th movie does not take place on Friday the 13th. Apparently the story has moved on to Sunday the 15th. Jason honors the Sabbath while lying on the floor of a barn, apparently dead from an axe wound to the head. Police are all over the place, bagging up the bodies of his latest victims. The "corpse" of Jason gets taken away in an ambulance. (8:25)

Hospital: the EMTs pass off Jason's body to the local coroner, Axel. Like all movie coroners, he's a creep, and he makes a necrophilia joke about one of the dead girls. It must be a crappy hospital to work in, because apparently they store bodies in the staff lounge. Axel and his nurse girlfriend watch the news in the lounge while Jason lies there on a stretcher. Axel and his gal pal then start making out right next to the "dead" body. Classy. Of course, Jason's hand falls off the stretcher and ruins their moment. Nobody gets laid while this guy is around. Axel's gal pal freaks out and leaves. She then heads into a large supply room to calm down or something. (12:40)

Axel brings Jason down to the morgue. He then endears himself to the audience some more by gawking at a TV aerobics show. While Axel is distracted, Jason sneaks up behind and cuts his neck with a bone saw! Then he turns his head completely backwards! Gratuitous! Jason then sneaks into the supply room where the nurse is cleaning up and guts her with a knife! Double kill before the fifteen minute mark. I approve. (14:30)

Cut back to Crystal Lake, where Trish Jarvis is having a peaceful morning jog with her mother. Considering that there have been two mass murders at the lake in as many days, and yet neither Trish or her mother seem particularly worried, the Jarvis family is clearly not the brightest gene pool. We then jump to Tommy Jarvis, played by 1980's child star Corey Feldman. Tommy is coded as NERD, because he's playing a video game (I don't recognize it, but it's definitely some Atari crap), makes monster masks, and wears glasses. We learn that the family lives on Crystal Lake (like I said, they're dumb) and that the house next door has been rented out by the next group of victims. (16:15)

Speaking of whom, the next batch of dumb kids drives down a country road towards their impending doom. The group includes pretty boy Doug, the attractive brunette Samantha, her unremarkable boyfriend Paul, the pretty wallflower Sara, obnoxious jerk Ted, and the lovable loser Jimmy, played by Crispin "George McFly" Glover. Ted is giving Jimmy a hard time because he got dumped. Ted explains that Jimmy can't get laid because he's a "dead fuck." Jimmy doesn't beat the shit out of Ted right there, because he's kind of a pussy. The kids pass by the gravestone of Pamela Voorhees, conveniently located right next to the road. They then pass by a hitchhiker, who can best be described as Fat Hippie. So Fat Hippie is pissed that she didn't get a ride, and starts eating a banana. Jason hates hippies, so he sneaks up behind her and stabs her through the neck with a hunting knife! She never got to finish the banana. (20:00)

The kids finally arrive at the lake, and there's the tedious meet-and-greet with the Jarvises. Unlike the previous films, this movie actual devotes some time to character work: there's a quiet scene between Sara and Samantha that establishes that Sara is a virgin while Sam is the town bicycle. Tommy then gets a free sex show thanks to a well-placed bedroom window. (25:20)

The next day: Monday the 16th! The kids are walking to the lake when they meet the twins, Tina and Terri. It was only a matter of time before Jason got to kill some sexy twins. One thing I love about Crystal Lake is that it always leads to skinny dipping. Samantha shows off her drop-dead gorgeous body, but Sara turn out to be a prude. Tommy, who is one lucky pre-pubescent, once again catches an eyeful of naked hottie. Samantha wins me over by screwing with Sara and dragging her into the lake. It's all fun and games until someone gets stabbed. (31:25)

But that's not gonna happen again soon, because first there needs to be one last introduction. Tommy and Trish's car dies on the road. While Tommy is fixing the engine he gets interrupted by Rob, who's clearly set up as mysterious. Rob helps Tommy get the car started and they give him a ride back to their house. Rob clearly knows something about Jason, but he pretends to be a hunter. Tommy bonds with Rob pretty quick, and brings him up to his room where he shows off his collection of masks. I call bullshit to the scene, because most of the masks are way too sophisticated to be made by some dopey kid living in the middle of the woods. However, the scene does set up the fact that Tommy is a little creepy. (35:00)

Sexy co-ed shenanigans. Jimmy tries to dance with one of the twins while listening to really awful glam rock. Jimmy's dancing looks like a grand mal seizure. Ted tries to get friendly with the other twin, but she blows him off to flirt with Paul. Paul kinda sucks, since he happily flirts back right in front of Samantha. Upset, she wanders off to the lake to do some late night skinny dipping. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm starting to like this girl. Sam swims out to a rubber dingy in the middle of the lake, showing off her great body as she does it. Jason, spoil-sport that he is, has to go ruin my fun by stabbing Samantha from beneath the dingy (how long was he hiding there?). It's a cool scene though, as a machete slowly cuts through her body. (43:40)

Paul redeems himself a little by going to look for his missing girlfriend. Now that Paul's gone, the sluttier twin (I don't know which, and it doesn't matter) decides that Jimmy of all people is a decent consolation prize. She and Jimmy go upstairs, while Ted is left with the cold fish twin. Back to Paul, who swims out to the dingy and discovers that his girlfriend is dead. Panicking, he swims back to the pier but Jason is waiting beneath the water (he can hold his breath a long time). Paul gets one of the most painful looking deaths ever: Jason impales him with a harpoon gun near the groin, then he lifts Paul out of the water with the gun, then he fires the harpoon into Paul's body! That kill deserves bonus points. (47:40)

Rob, who's camping out in the woods, hears Paul's scream and goes to investigate. Jason takes the opportunity to sneak into Rob's tent and break his rifle. So Rob, who knows that Jason is out there, went to investigate a scream without his gun? So we're all clear that Rob has no chance at all of surviving this thing, right? (49:10)

Upstairs, Jimmy gets some. Downstairs, Ted discovers a projector, a white screen, and an old porno reel. Ted, Doug, Sara, and non-slutty twin watch the completely unsexy movie until the twin gets fed up and leaves. While she is getting on her bicycle, Jason sneaks up behind her and stabs her with a spear. The kill is actually shown in silhoutte, but it's nicely done, so I'll give the filmmakers a pass. (51:50)

Ted starts smoking pot, guaranteeing his death. Sara and Doug go upstairs to have sex, guaranteeing their deaths. Mrs. Jarvis goes outside of her house to look for her dog, and apparently that's enough to guarantee her death. Sadly, it's off-screen. Weak. Trish and Tommy get back from wherever it is they went, and find the lights out and mom gone. Trish goes outside to investigate and eventually finds Rob's tent. Rob sees someone in his tent and hacks at the tent with his machete until he realizes his mistake. Rob is fucking dumb. (58:25)

Jimmy is happy because he's no longer a dead fuck. He heads downstairs for some post-coital snacking, and finds stoned Ted still watching the old porno reels. Jimmy then goes to the kitchen to look for a bottle of wine. Having some trouble in the dark, Jimmy loudly asks Ted where the corkscrew is. Jason, who has a wonderful sense of timing, pins Jimmy's hand to the counter with the corkscrew! Then he chops Jimmy's face with a cleaver! I guess Marty McFly will never be born. (1:01:00)

Jason starts offing 'em left and right now. While slutty twin is looking for her sister from an upstairs window, Jason busts through the window and throws her out of the house so that she crashes onto the car. I guess she's dead, but it doesn't get any gore points. We cut back to Rob and Trish, where Rob gives the obligatory backstory on Jason. We also learn that Rob is the older brother of Sandra, the girl who got speared along with her boyfriend back in Part 2. Continuity! Cut back to the rental house; Sara and Doug are doing it in the shower while Ted is still watching old pornos. Ted walks up to the screen after the reel ends. When he turns around, Jason stabs him in the head, through the screen, with a butcher's knife. Thank God, that guy was annoying. (1:05:30)

Sara heads off to bed, while Doug continues to shower. Jason decides to do an homage to Psycho, and kills Doug in the shower by crushing his head against the wall! Sara finds Doug's body and starts freaking out. She runs for the front door, but Jason is waiting for her on the other side. He throws an axe through the door and nails her right in the chest! Most slashers would have just chased after her with the axe. Jason, however, is an artist. (1:09:00)

Trish and Rob go to the rental house to warn everyone. It doesn't take them long to figure out Jason is there, what with the big hole in the front door. Rob decides that he might as well get himself killed now, and goes down into the basement alone. Come on, man! You never go into the basement alone. Trish finds some bodies, and runs downstairs just in time to see Rob get killed with a garden rake. Trish is a little indecisive, since she runs away and then decides to come back for Rob. Kinda pointless though, since Rob is dead, and Jason bust throw the bottom of the stairway to grab Trish's ankle. Fortunately for her, she's the Final Girl, and she cuts Jason's arm with a machete before running away. (1:16:00)

Trish tries to run out of the house's front door, but Jason has left a dead body right in front of it. Rather than step over the body, Trish runs to the back door. Awesomely, Jason has left Paul crucified to the door frame! Because dead bodies are totally gross, Trish breaks a window and jumps through it rather than slide past the body in the doorway. Jason, however, has no problem just ripping the body out of his way. Stupid Trish runs back to the Jarvis house and starts locking windows. Jason isn't terribly impressed, and chucks Rob's corpse through one window, then busts through another to grab Tommy. Trish fights him off with a hammer claw. Tommy and Trish then do the least sensible thing anyone can do in a horror movie: they run upstairs. They attempt to hide inside Tommy's bedroom, but Jason simply chops the door apart with an axe. As Jason enters the room, Trish bust a TV over his head! And it's not a little flatscreen either, it's one of those big, old-fashioned CRTs. (1:20:00)

Trish manages to sneak past Jason while he's unconscious, but he wakes up and almost gets her with an axe. Jason is now between Trish and Tommy (who has no other way out of his bedroom). Trish manages to get Jason to chase her, which lead her all the way back to the rental house, where she runs upstairs (she never learns) and then jumps through a second floor window to escape! Jason takes a moment to look at her, like he can't believe she did something that crazy. Trish is okay though, and she makes her way back to the Jarvis house. Tommy, in the meantime, has decided that Jason is his idol, and starts cutting his own hair. Jason follows Trish back to the Jarvis house, but Trish holds him off for a while with the machete. This includes cutting his left hand in half between the middle and ring fingers. It's nice and gory. but Jason hardly seems to mind. (1:23:00)

Trish hits Jason across the chest with the machete, but it's just a flesh wound! As she drops the weapon, Jason grabs her and begins to choke her on the floor. Tommy runs down, having finished his self-haircut. He's completely bald except for random patches of hair. Corey Feldman looks like a big, ugly baby. But then again, Jason is a big, ugly baby, not to mention dumb as a post, so he's completely confused as to what's going on. While Tommy distracts him, Trish grabs the machete and strikes Jason across the face, knocking off the hockey mask. Jason seems to get uglier with each movie. He's got an underbite so massive I'm not sure how he could actually take in food. Trish is grossed out and drops the machete like a klutz. But while Jason is distracted with her, Tommy grabs the machete and hacks it into the side of Jason's head! But Jason's death isn't going to be so prosaic. He falls forward onto the ground and the machete handle hits first, causing Jason's head to slowly slide down the blade of the machete, making the wound bigger and gorier. (1:25:20)

Victory! But Jason's still twitching, so Tommy goes apeshit and starts hacking Jason apart with the machete, all while screaming "die!" Jason ain't getting up from that one. The movie goes all white, and then we cut to Trish lying in a hospital bed. Tommy, still bald and freaky-looking, enters her room and they hug. But over Trish's shoulder, Tommy gives the audience the evil eye. Jason may be dead, but someone must carry on his work. Horny teenagers in the woods aren't going to kill themselves. (1:28:00)

Classic Friday the 13th formula, this film doesn't break any new ground. But it does do everything better than its predecessors. The deaths, in particular, are gorier and more creative. Much of this is due to the superb special make-up effects of Tom Savini. The acting is also a notch above most slasher flicks. The filmmakers find a nice balance between getting you to feel sympathy for the characters, which makes the stalking scenes more suspenseful, and yet the viewer is still allowed to enjoy the vicarious sadism.

The most intriguing part of the film is the implication that Tommy Jarvis may follow in Jason's footsteps. Jason, the embodiment of anger and blind vengeance, is just a role, one that anyone can assume if they have a hockey mask and a disregard for human life. This theme will be revisited in the next film.

And of course, there is a next film. Final Chapter my ass.

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