Jason Goes to Hell - The Final Friday Reviews
The film begins with an excellent cold open, dropping the audience almost immediately back into a darkened camp and recreating the kind of stark suspense we haven't seen since Part 2. Unfortunately it's also the highlight of the movie and the only point where it resembles a Friday the 13th film. Jason is dispatched as quickly as he's introduced and from there we get heart eating, body-jumping, and 90s lady bangs. The body of this picture in no way resembles the aesthetic we've come to know and your level of enjoyment depends on how willing you are to accept these fundamental changes.
I must comment on how stupid Jason's makeup is in this movie. He looks like a dirty ball of hamburger meat dropped in hair clippings that someone slapped a mask onto. Also, what's with the all denim outfit? I don't remember him being so coordinated with his fashion. Maybe it's better we were spared the sight of that greasy Canadian tuxedo for most of the film.
There's one clear question a fan has to answer when watching this: is the concept of Jason as an invading symbiotic organism stupid? Probably but, the way I look at it, at least he's in the movie. I certainly dislike how little screen time the hockey mask gets but I also respect the writers for doing something new that isn't cheesy or a thoughtless gimmick. New Line doesn't afford us much of a respite from that behavior moving forward so we must be grateful.
Another change is that Jason Goes to Hell doesn't follow the same formula as the other films and has more of an action, shoot-em-up feel. Again, this isn't what I'm looking for in one of these films but it does keep you interested throughout in ways that bad installments of the Classic Era failed to do. Leaving the camp removes most of the suspense and the abundance of filming locations eliminates any sense of claustrophobia. Director Adam Marcus also focuses on making the film self-referential and fun with varying degrees of success. It isn't campy in the way Jason Lives was but the film still gives a wink and nudge to series aficionados.
Jason Goes to Hell was, and is, a polarizing entry for franchise fans. Some admire its effort to go somewhere original while others feel the new "Jason rules" spit in the face of established series continuity. Personally I share both points of view and wish the writers would have kept things at camp where these movies are most likely to succeed. The Freddy Krueger gag at the end is another flat conclusion in a franchise with a rich tradition of idiotic endings. Unluckily for us it also led to a cringe-inducing feature film that set American horror cinema back several generations. Stay tuned.