Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday ★½

For whatever reason, when I first heard about this film, I immediately imagined a gritty, hard-R death metal style horror movie in which Jason Voorhees dies for good and is sent to hell on some Dante's Inferno-like odyssey where he travels through the nine circles, battling demons and ultimately, the devil himself (Just think "Friday the 13th as directed by Clive Barker").

This is not that movie.

The Friday series gets on my nerves for a lot of things, but what pisses me off the most is the consistently careless false advertising it engages in. Friday the 13th Part IV is subtitled The Final Chapter, and yet, there were several more. Part 5 doesn't even have Jason in it. Jason Takes Manhattan spends roughly 30 minutes in NYC- 10 minutes if you don't include the docks and alleyways. Now here we are at the ninth installment: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. And here are the facts: Jason never pays a visit to hell and there would be one more film after this (three if you include the crossover and the remake). I don't know of another film series that repeatedly gets away with this kind of crap and I'm baffled as to why there aren't more disgruntled fans.

Like Part 5: A New Beginning, Jason Goes to Hell shouldn't even count as part of the franchise. It's downright bizarre. This all started with a guy walking around in the woods, avenging his mother who did the same for the injustice done to him. Now, nine films in, that same guy is revealed to be a demon-slug-parasite thing that transfers from body to body, it's only weakness being an enchanted dagger that, if plunged deep into his heart, will end his existence for good and send him to hell...How in the world did we get here?! It's like they're so desperate to raise the stakes that they blow the story out to insane proportions.

Making it worse, the film plays more like a thriller than a straight horror movie. It's not a terrible idea, as it shakes up the formula a bit, adds some immediacy to the events and sets up a final destination for the story, but it's confusingly handled. Holding everything back is the ludicrous concept. Every time the supernatural is brought in, I'm taken right out of it. I understand they want to take things in a new direction, but the direction they choose is really stupid. Meanwhile, there are tonal inconsistencies. I watched the unrated version, so I might be off-base in saying that Jason Goes to Hell is the darkest and goriest film of the franchise, but despite its general commitment to that tone, the film includes characters like a couple at a diner and moments like a scuffle by the side of the road that are overtly comedic and undercut any attempt at shocking or disturbing the audience.

Jason Goes to Hell tries and fails to be many things. It is brutal without being visceral. It fails to feasibly broaden the mythology of its central character. It throws out easter eggs and references to other films (The Book of the Dead??) that come out of nowhere and narratively don't make a ton of sense. But worst of all, it lies to its audience and doesn't even have the care and sense of responsibility to offer something better than what was originally proposed.

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