Friday the 13th – Part 4 (1984)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Good. Poses questions.

Can I just ask what is it about horror franchises that say one thing and don’t follow through with it? It’s always something, and often stating when the series will end. The Friday the 13th series clearly called the fourth film “the final chapter”, yet the series wasn’t even halfway finished. Usually, whenever I see this, I think the rest of the franchise will be Hollywood sequels, made just to make a quick buck. Thanks a ton, Paramount! Anyways, Friday the 13th – Part 4 practically follows the same routine – to the T, but there was one or two things changed that I was happy with.

So what is this fourth addition about? Well…pretty much the same thing. This time, it seemed that nobody checked Jason’s pulse after he apparently died in the last film. So in the morgue, Jason wakes up and kills everyone before returning to Crystal Lake. That’s when we are introduced to a family that lives on the lake and a pair of teenagers who vacation there. No, they aren’t camping, but again, you can barely tell the difference, because the setting is pretty much on par with the others. So Jason takes his sweet time killing off these intruders, complete in his hockey mask attire.

There was very little that I liked about it, but I was really impressed with the decision to add Corey Feldman as little Tommy Jarvis. This is the first time that a child was implemented into the series, which in general gets our blood pumping. Jason kills everyone, but no one in the audience will want to see the boy killed. That, plus Tommy is the first character in the series that you will actually remember (other than Jason). For once, we actually feel like there is a possibility of having a good protagonist for the series, much like Nancy in Nightmare series. I understand how unlikely this is, but hey…I can dream. The thing I didn’t like about him was the skills the writers built for him. The kid can create livelike monster masks, puppets, can fix car engines and other things. What is he? A child prodigy? If he is, why didn’t they say anything?

Anyways, here’s where the film goes bad…by recycling what we’ve already seen for what feels like a thousand times already. It keeps doing the fakeouts, it keeps killing off random people that we don’t care about, people keep having sex despite the murder, people still get naked and skinny dip, the only real difference is there’s a kid now, and there was no crazy old man with doomsday theories in the beginning. The other changes mentioned above, about the family living out there, are just not strong enough of changes to really make a difference. Live there or camp there…whatever…Jason can still get in and chop you into little bits.

Now, out of all of the films, the end to this entry was the best. It kept things fresh, it changed things, it made us think, and we suddenly want to see how the film can possibly progress from here…even if out of sheer curiosity. That’s where I start to understand the fascination and guilty pleasure of the series. I have a feeling that curiosity is going to kill the cat, though, and I will end up sorely disappointed. Still though, I actually want to see what happens.

Friday the 13th – Part 4, while initially was the end of the series, still had enough oomph to have audiences beg for more, and for once I could understand why. The killings are getting a tad old, but there seems to be a story that is actually being born amongst the midst.

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