Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday – A Confusing Detour for the Slasher Icon
I guess Jason going to Manhattan in the last film prepared him for going to hell in this one. That was a joke, New Yorkers. Anyways, he doesn’t actually go to hell in this one until the very end. The rest of the film deals with the FBI finally stepping in and blowing Mrs. Voorhees favorite son to smithereens and kingdom come. Yes, the world’s most prolific mass murderer/serial killer is dead. If you believe that, I’ve got a story about a man named Jed to tell you. Jason has found a way for his soul to inhabit whoever he touches, sorta like that demon in Fallen with Denzel Washington. So now, it’s up to John D. Lemay and Steven Williams to stop him once and for all once again. The story goes that the last surviving member of the Voorhees family has to be the one to do the dirty deed dirt cheap.
The ninth film in the durable Friday the 13th series took the franchise in a radical new direction, for better or worse. With 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason Voorhees transformed from silent stalker to a body-hopping spirit, eliciting a fan backlash.
Picking up with Jason’s corporeal form destroyed in an FBI ambush, his sinister soul survives by possessing the bodies of Crystal Lake locals to continue his killing spree. A bounty hunter reveals that only Jason’s blood relatives can destroy him for good, using a magical dagger.
By turning Jason into an ephemeral demonic force, the film discarded his established mythology – no longer was he a hulking revenant haunting Camp Crystal Lake. While the previous installments strained plausibility, this quasi-supernatural possession plot proved a convoluted leap.
Director Adam Marcus did stage creative new murder sequences, including Jason bursting from victims’ bodies. But for fans, eliminating Jason’s physical presence removed the franchise’s fundamental appeal – a relentless killing machine that can’t be stopped.
The new occult lore, meanwhile, felt half-baked, including a Hell-bound finale that cheapened Jason’s iconography rather than expanding it. After eight straight formula entries, creativity was welcome, but too much reinvention can undermine the core draw. The film lays groundwork for a crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street, but the continuity ruptures and mystical detour left fans cold.
I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I am seriously running out of shit to say about these movies. I love the hell out of them, even the bad ones, but how many times can you kill this guy and not really kill him? I mean, come on, the boy must have eaten a serious bowl of Wheaties before he went off to camp all those years ago. One thing I wish I could say is that this was one of the better films in the series. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. The storyline is the weak point in this one. You could tell by watching that the writers were running out of ideas (or had run out a long time ago). The acting is decent; John LeMay comes over from Friday the 13th: The Series and does a good job in his role. Erin Gray is very good in her role, as is Steven Williams. I can’t say much about Kane Hodder in this one because he’s really not in it as Jason all that much. Most of the kills are performed by the characters whose soul Jason has inhabited at that particular time.
This one is fair. It’s no Part IV, that’s for sure. But it’s also definitely not a Part V redux, either.
It’s also not the last we see of one Mr. Jason Voorhees. Now why did I know that?
In addition to his roles as Jason and the Security Guard, Kane Hodder also played Freddy Krueger’s arm in the final scene.
Jason’s heart was used in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) as Monkey Man’s heart.
There was a comic book that bridged the gap between Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) and this film. It followed Jason after he was dipped in toxic waste in a New York City sewer, and his killing spree all the way back to Camp Crystal Lake. It also explains why the FBI has a task force specifically for Jason.
John D. LeMay as Steven Freeman
Kari Keegan as Jessica Kimble
Erin Gray as Diana Kimble
Allison Smith as Vicki
Steven Culp as Robert Campbell
Steven Williams as Creighton Duke
Kane Hodder as Jason Voorhees
Directed by Adam Marcus
Story by Jay Huguely and Adam Marcus
Screenplay by Dean Lorey and Jay Huguely