Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
(2002) - New Line
by Robert Smentek of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Extras): B/B-
Audio Ratings (DD/DTS): B/B+
Specs and Features
93/89 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), Amaray keep case
packaging, audio commentary (by director Adam Marcus and
screenwriter Dean Lorey), theatrical trailers, DVD production
credits, "Jump to a Kill" scene selection, scene access
(26 chapters), language: English (DD 5.1, 2.0 and DTS 5.1),
subtitles: English, Closed Captioned
anyone's to blame for Jason Goes to Hell:
The Final Friday, it's Freddy Krueger. Really.
You see, back in the late 90s, arguably the biggest creative lull
for horror films, New Line Cinema made a movie called
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
This movie explained that Freddy Krueger was an agent of hell, who
sold his soul to a couple demons to escape death, thus, effectively
killing the whole ghost-story-'round-the-campfire aspect of the Elm
Since Freddy's Dead was a box
office hit (and in 3-D, no less), New Line Cinema, after acquiring
the rights to the Jason Vorhees character (but not the
Friday the 13th name), decided
to add a supernatural element to the series. Jason
Goes to Hell is the result. This film reveals that Jason
is not merely a mongoloid maniac, but a body possessing demon that
looks a lot like a worm. After all, they had to explain his
consistent, and thoroughly ridiculous, resurrections somehow. Right?
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
really could have been 10 minutes long... and would've been
ultimately more satisfying than the complete film. The movie begins
with a young woman visiting an abandoned cabin in the woods. After
getting topless, she runs into everyone's favorite masked murderer.
Narrowly escaping the cabin, and sure death, she lures Jason into
the woods, where an FBI task force surrounds him. In seconds, the
cops open fire, and Jason Vorhees is blown to... well... Hell. All
that's left are a few pieces of meat, and a really big black heart.
Roll credits. The end.
Nah. Not really. Unfortunately, director Adam Marcus chose to
continue the story, making the most convoluted, over-scripted
slasher movie in the genre's history. What follows is a mess of a
film involving Jason's sister, niece, and grandniece, a tabloid news
reporter, a traveling schmo and a badass bounty hunter in a cowboy
hat. Basically, that really big black heart needs to find it's way
into a Vorhees blood relative in order to gain eternal life or
something. Along the way, "Jason" inhabits the body of a
medical examiner and a cop, leaving a trail of corpses behind.
Friday the 13th fans certainly
won't be disappointed in the bloodshed in this flick, particularly a
truly repulsive scene in which Jason performs his own style of
While you don't watch a slasher movie expecting high art,
Jason Goes to Hell sucks (to
borrow a scholarly film term). The acting ranges from amateur hour
to scenery chewing. Steven Williams, as bounty hunter Creighton
Duke, is so over-the-top that Eric Roberts would tell him to take it
down a notch. Even Wilma Deering herself (Erin Gray) cannot keep her
dialogue from sounding like a Lifetime flick. The biggest problem
with Jason Goes to Hell is
what plagues most slasher films -- it's just not scary. By their
very nature, slasher films rely on body count. When characters are
introduced, they practically wear signs that read "Dead Meat."
It's simply not suspenseful when you know someone is going to be
That said, Marcus is not a horrible director, especially given the
fact that he was in his early 20s when he made Jason
Goes to Hell. He clearly has a love for the genre, and
plays with many of the cliches and conventions of the slasher genre.
He also displays some genuine style, notably in various "mirror
shots" (which provide some of the film's only glimpses of the "classic"
Jason). Also, Marcus tips his hat to horror trivia buffs with little
in-jokes and cameos. Look for the Necronomicon from
Evil Dead and the Crate from
Creepshow. Also, one of the
leads was actually the star of the old syndicated
Friday the 13th TV series. And
of course, there's the movie's final, and most famous, scene...
which sets up the long-in-development Freddy
vs. Jason movie (which is certain to run away with all
the trophies at Oscar time).
While the movie itself kind of looks like it was made for TV, the
picture is very clear, and is presented in anamorphic widescreen
(1.85:1). The audio is pretty great, actually, as it's not likely to
raise any complaints from those who want more sound clarity during
the head crushing scenes.
You gotta hand it to New Line Cinema. Even Jason
Goes to Hell, with its budget of 16 dollars, gets a
decent DVD treatment. In fact, the DVD's commentary by Marcus and
screenwriter Dean Lorey is EXTREMELY entertaining, making the film
immensely more watchable. These guys share some great anecdotes,
including one about producer Sean S. Cunningham desperately wanting
to get rid of Jason's signature hockey mask (which wasn't present in
the first two Friday films).
Much of the commentary is loaded with self-deprecating humor. You
really get the impression that while they had fun, even the
filmmakers didn't think much of the final product. The disc contains
both the theatrical and director's cut, the aforementioned
commentary, some alternate scenes that were used in the television
version, and the repugnant "Jump to a Death" scene
While slasher movies tend to be a guilty pleasure among movie fans,
the only guilt you're likely to feel after watching
Jason Goes to Hell is the pang
of regret from losing an hour and a half of your life. If you must
watch this one, turn the commentary on.