jason goes to hellDimension

“We’re going to Camp Crystal Lake.”
“Oh, yeah? Planning on smoking a little dope, having a little premarital sex and getting slaughtered?”

Quick, what do you get when you make a Friday The 13th movie without Jason? If you said, “Part V: A New Beginning,” well…you’d be right. And also, not paying attention to the title of the review, here.

Jason Goes To Hell was not a real good entry in the overall Friday The 13th franchise. It’s remembered as a major trip-up, probably the most infamous of them all, and yes I’m including Jason X in with this. See, after Part VIII (the one where Jason takes a boat ride) in 1989, Paramount sold its property to Dimension, home of contemporaries Nightmare On Elm Street and Hellraiser series. Even though Paramount still held onto the rights to the title Friday The 13th (hence titling this merely Jason Goes To Hell), things looked promising — not only did Jason find a home with Freddy and Pinhead, but also a new movie was immediately put into production, one that was going to be helmed by guys who were a couple of fans who grew up on the iconic slasher series. Things were looking up from the perspective of us horror geeks.

And then the movie finally came out, leaving fanboys everywhere scratching their heads as to what the heck happened to our beloved series.

We begin with Jason Voorhees doing what he does best: chasing a neekid young lady around Camp Crystal Lake. It’s soon revealed that the neekid young lady was merely bait to lure the infamous slasher into a trap set by FBI, which takes him out by blowing him to bits by way of air strike. After effectively getting the only good part of the movie out of the way immediately, what’s left of Jason is sent to a morgue, where his still-beating heart is consumed by the coroner, because he was possessed by it. You heard me. Coroner-Jason goes off to do some more killin’, while a bounty hunter is trying to find members of Jason’s family bloodline, because apparently only member’s of Jason’s family can kill him, and also if Jason possesses a family member, he can become reborn back into the nigh-invincible killer zombie and continue his ongoing death spree. The bounty hunter finds Jason’s half-sister Diana, his niece Jessica, and Jessica’s infant daughter Stephanie, which makes Jason a Great-Uncle, I guess? Anyway, Jason shows up, kills Diana, but is fought off by Jessica’s ex-boyfriend / father of Stephanie, Steven. Steven is blamed for the murder, Jessica’s current television reporter boyfriend is trying to exploit the situation for ratings purposes, Jason is possessing people left and right, Jessica doesn’t believe Steven, but then does when Jason kills off everyone is the police station, other stuff happens, and then the final showdown happens at the old Voorhees house where a “mystical dagger” that’s totally from Evil Dead 2 is used to off Jason, but not until he’s finally reborn as he wanted, in a very, very disturbing and literal way. Then souls are released from Jason’s torso, and demon hands pull Jason to hell. Then Freddy’s glove takes down his hockey mask. The end.

Jason Goes To Hell is just a confusing mess. To be fair, this isn’t the first time the series hasn’t made sense — least we forget the telekinetic angle in Part VII — and one could argue that the Friday The 13th series jumped the shark long before this one — I maintain it did so twice, with Part V and Part VIII — but here, they really messed with the recipe to the point where I began to wonder if they just greenlit a 13-year-old’s fan fic and went with it.

I get wanting to go in bold new story directions, but Jason Goes To Hell lost sight of the core of the series, and Jason in general. Body possession by wormy homunculus-like critters from Jason’s still-beating heart to be reborn from another Voorhees? I…can’t even. Add to this the incredibly dull 3/4 after the admittedly cooler opening where they blow Jason up with an air strike, the pointless inclusion of the Kandarian Dagger from the Evil Dead franchise, by the time the famous stinger of Freddy’s glove pulling Jason’s mask down into the ground at the end, I was groaning in sadness and anger. Also, Jason doesn’t really go to hell during any part of the movie.

If you, like myself and my long-suffering heterosexual lifemate Nex did all those years ago, you want to watch all of the Friday The 13th movies in order, take my advice: You can skip Jason Goes To Hell. There’s no need to do so. Do yourself a favor and pass this up.

Yeah, you’re probably not going to be following my advice, are you? Eh, whatever. The pain killers are in the cabinet.