I think of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER as the quintessential film in the series. It has a nice recap of the series, some of the best characters, good production value, some of the best camera work in the series, the best gore effects (before the MPAA really started to censor things ridiculously), and Jason actually dies at the end. Like I said quintessential, a best of the best if you will.
By now the slasher formula in these films is pretty much set in stone, but director Joesph Zito put a lot of heart and extra touches not found in the series until now. Instead of camp counselors we have teenagers looking to party at a lake house. Next door is a mother and her two kids. Even without going into detail, this is a refreshing change in dynamic.
Dead with an ax to the face at the end of Part 3, Jason Voorhees is presumed dead. At the hospital in the morgue Jason jumps back to life and kills a couple of morgue assistants. Now alive and kicking Jason starts to make his way back to Crystal Lake. We come across some teenagers looking to have a nice weekend at the lake house. These teens aren't your typical stereotype victims which became the norm sometime in the 90's with horror films. No. These kids all have personalities that make them seem real that way you can worry about them latter when Jason comes to kill them.
My favorite of the bunch is Ted and Jimmy. Jimmy is played by Marty McFly's dad, Crispin Glover. The character Jimmy at one point does a dance in the movie that has to be seen to be believed. Seriously go to You Tube and type “Crispin Glover dance”. It's amazing. What the heck is Crispin doing?
Next door to the lake house is where the Jarvis family live. Trish and her brother Tommy get to know their new neighbors and get invited to party with them. Along the way they meet a hitchhiker who in actuality is hunting down Jason in the woods to kill him. His sister has been missing and is presumed dead after the events of Part 2 and Part 3. The first time I saw the movie I thought this was an awesome concept, a bounty hunter type going after Jason for revenge. The end result is not as cool as you think it'd be. In fact it's kind of embarrassing. Let's just say the guy turns out to be a wus.
The inevitable happens and Jason starts killing off everybody one by one. In a way the events start to pan out like your everyday slasher film, but the slow burn leading up to it makes all the difference. Like I said before it's the time spent with the teens and Tommy Jarvis that set's this apart from the other movies.
The ending is the big enchilada with the death of Jason. Effects master Tom Savini was brought back for the “final chapter” and he did not disappoint with the gore. Seeing that this was planned to be the last “Friday”, the filmmakers went all out with killing Jason. It's my favorite non-zombie Jason death sequence.
Out of all the Friday The 13th films released by Paramount Pictures this one is my favorite because in my opinion it's the one that best represents the series. When I talk to people about these films I tell them there are two movies to watch, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER and THE BURNING. THE BURNING is another slasher film that has a camp setting. It's a rip-off of the Friday The 13th films, but it's a rip-off that truly rivals the majority of that series!
In 2009 New Line Cinema along with Paramount Pictures decided to remake FRIDAY THE 13TH. Instead of a shot for shot remake they combined the first four films together. On first viewing I really liked this idea (except for the lame ending). The main reason for liking it was because I really did not care for Part 2 and 3. I've seen the remake now four times and each time I started hating it more and more. Recently I have had a rediscovery of sorts with the originals and appreciate them more than I ever had. One day I may do a retrospective of the whole series?
If you ever watch 1 Friday The 13th film in your life I recommend it being FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER.