For a lot of fans of the franchise, this is their favorite Friday The 13th movie. It's a bit of a sentimental favorite of mine, as it is the first Friday The 13th movie that I ever saw. I am also willing to concede that it does have excellent production values, and is a ton of fun to watch. These are the reasons why I don't give it a lower ranking than 3 stars.
Why do I not rank it higher? First, I watch horror movies in order to be able to get a good scare. With maybe one or two exceptions, nothing in this movie really scared me. The reason behind that is the second problem that I have with this movie. Most supernatural movies I don't find very scary. Anything to do with werewolves, zombies, vampires, demons, etc, don't really do anything for me. The exception to this rule is ghosts, but other than that I'm not big into the supernatural movies. I can appreciate them in quality of cinematography, story telling, and film making, but they just don't scare me. Movies about ax wielding psychopaths (and of haunted houses) do scare me because those things are real. Once they turned Jason into a zombie, they made him less scary, and thus the movie isn't as good as most of it's predecessors.
Still an enjoyable movie. Just not as good as Parts 1 through 4. At best, it's on par with Part 5.
I don't hate this movie nearly as much as most people seem to. Don't get me wrong, it's not a great movie. Not even by the standards of many hardcore horror fans. But it's certainly not deserving of all of the hate that it receives.
The biggest complaint most people have is that Jason isn't the killer in this chapter. "You can't have a Jason movie without Jason in it! That's just stupid!" To this I reply " Jason wasn't the killer in the first movie either, and that movie was awesome! Also, the franchise is called Friday The 13th, not Jason The Hockey Masked Killer!" To me, this movie's greatest sin isn't that Jason wasn't the killer, but rather the wasted potential.
As with my complaints about The Final Chapter, A New Beginning is trading in tension and suspense in exchange for sex, nudity, more gore, and a higher body count. Only this movie does an even worse job than the last one. This isn't all the fault of the writers and director though. The studio executives insisted that the movie had either a jump scare or a kill (preferably a kill) every five to seven minutes. This doesn't give the actual creative team time to let the audience get to know the characters. As a result, characters are introduced and then killed off five minutes later, just to fill in the studios quota. Had the studio kept their meddling noses out of the creative process and let the writers and director do what it is that they were being PAID to do, we might have had a much better movie.
For many fans of the Friday The 13th franchise, The Final Chapter is their favorite of the series. For me, it's my least favorite of the first four. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the movie by any means. I just don't think it's nearly as good as the first three.
The characters are all great. They're likeable. They're relatable. The girls are all pretty without having to look like supermodels or porn stars. The practical effects are all excellent, as is to be expected from Tom Savini.
What really hurts the movie in my opinion is the lack of suspense. This is the movie in the franchise that truly started to trade in tension and suspense in favor of more gore, higher body count, and more sex/nudity. While the good certainly outweighs the bad in this chapter, The Final Chapter is the one film in the franchise that nuked the proverbial fridge.
A lot of people don't like this movie very much. Quite frankly, I don't know why. It has it's problems, but what movie doesn't? Most of the characters are very likeable and relatable. I especially relate to Shelly, as I am also an overweight geek who is socially awkward with members of the opposite sex. The movie is well paced, and while not quite as suspenseful as it's predecessors, it has some legitimately good scares.
Some of the characters were clearly added in order to pad out the running time and add to the body count (namely the bikers and the two stoners), and all of the 3D pandering can get a little annoying (especially when you're watching it in 2D). But those are small prices to pay for seeing Jason get his now iconic hockey mask.