Quick-Thoughts: The Final Three of the Friday the 13th Movies (Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, and Freddy vs. Jason)

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Spoilers, Jason goes to hell, and so does my dignity. 

This is like one of those sequels where they don’t even care at this point to thoroughly establish who most of their target characters are because they know what their audience wants (death, death, death) so you have this circus style of people walking in and out of screen when they need their moment and we just accept it as if we’re supposed to know what the hell is going on with them from face-value as we switch back and forth between heads. 

I guess the real crime of this movie though, because that sort of pointless and uninteresting character writing is already expected with a Friday the 13th movie to me at this point, is that they set the sequel up with a pretty Craven-esc concept that was kind of a cool way to launch the story? But then… wow… I don’t even want to get into how amazingly boring this movie is. If I had known that what Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers initiated in its final scene with the whole serial killer “possession” concept could lead to something such as this (yes, different franchises, but similar concepts) I would’ve vetoed the making of the movie immediately. 

Steven Williams’ character though… I don’t think I’ve ever seen eccentricity quite like it before… for worse. And… umm… can we talk about that climax? Maybe the lamest Jason fight of all-time.

Verdict: F

“Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

Jason X (2001)

Real talk, people who think it’s okay to kill off David Cronenberg in only the first ten minutes of their movie get no respect for me. 

Attachable nipples, EARTH TWO, duking Jason with a drippy virtual combat game, quotes like “he’s screwed” and “that oughta do it”, accidentally destroying an ENTIRE civilization, implementing a Resident Evil Alice meets Terminator to decimate Jason into shreds, occupied sleeping bag tussles, *shooting stars*, casting an Olivia Rodrigo lookalike as the lead scream queen… you know what, when these Friday movies lean more towards the comedy side of things than the “let’s spend 75% of our time actually developing a needlessly tangled plot”, they really aren’t the worst things you could watch. I guess Jason X is MARGINALLY a bit of a refresher for the franchise, even if the means of “refresher” just boils down to an uber campy space setting and some simpler narrative execution. Still, with that all said, saying this tenth sequel is better than most of the sequels beforehand really isn’t saying squat. 

Verdict: D

“Jason X” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

I’m not going to lie, I do think there are some pretty creative elements in Freddy vs. Jason. It’s no coincidence that this is lightyear’s better than 90% of the Friday the 13th movies, and that’s because… well… it’s partly a Nightmare on Elm Street one (i.e. the FAR superior franchise). I bought into the concept of Elm Street becoming a town silencing their past with the notorious dream slasher to no longer spread the fear of him into future generations, Freddy Kruger using Jason as a pawn to bring him back into Elm Street visions was a respectable reason to even conceive this absurd-sounding movie in the first place, Ronny Yu directs a couple really festive Kruger hallucinations into the mix that reminded me of why I always found Craven’s creation to be such a treat (thanks Robert Englund for your psychosis procedure of Jason!), and even the actual Jason and Freddy fight towards the end pays off — I really love how even Freddy in the real (not the dream) world still uses what’s around him resourcefully to pull off some unusual shenanigans while the logic of the film sticks true to how much more physically tougher Jason is to Freddy in person. 

However, ruckus such as this could be made into fan-made shorts and I’d have no problem with that, except a 97-minute runtime is a lot to justify what this movie offers, let alone any Friday the 13th movie for that matter. I think for what it’s going for, it succeeds only if you really really really care that much about seeing two infamous slashers toy with their victims for a whole movie, but in the language of Godzilla vs. Kong, these sort of feature-length shticks really aren’t my cup of tea, at least for now.

Verdict: C-

Friday the 13th Ranked, Nightmare on Elm Street Ranked

“Freddy vs. Jason” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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