Thank God Its Friday
Catch them while you can.
All of the Friday the Thirteenth movies, besides the remake, Jason X and Jason Goes to Hell, are all streaming on both Prime Video as well as Hulu. With those being easily accessible, I figured I’d review Part IV, which long story short, is the best film of the franchise, which was oddly given negative reviews back when it released in 1984, holding a 25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Everyone knows the Jason Voorhees story. Disfigured man wearing hockey mask, brutally murdering camp counselors and other 20-somethings. I won’t lie, after watching it you can expect me kissing up to this film, because it has to be one of the greatest horror films I have ever seen.
Directed by Joseph Zito (The Prowler, Missing in Action, Invasion USA), Part IV takes place immediately after the third film, and once again, Jason finds himself conscious and motivated as ever to stalk his prey and kill everybody in sight, with Crystal Lake just around the corner. The people finding themselves nearby are one of the many strengths of the movie. The Jarvis family, Mrs. Jarvis (Joan Freeman), and her children Trish (Kimberly Beck) and Tommy (Corey Feldman), as well as a group of teenagers in a house nearby, with the main standout being Jimmy (Crispin Glover aka the dad from Back to The Future), an incredibly dorky character who is just easy to love, as well as a group of less likable teenagers, which you don’t mind seeing inevitably buy the farm, but others you find yourself sad to see go, and the man himself being portrayed by Ted White, who is big and imposing enough to scare the hell out of you.
There is a variety of reasons this film is simply that good. One is the directing. Especially for this franchise, which has had a slew of different directors, this film sets itself apart with Zito at the helm. A guy who (by evidence of the previously mentioned Prowler film) is an incredibly competent director, and establishes a bulletproof aesthetic- something that is integral to horror/slasher films. In addition, Makeup artist Tom Savini was involved, who helped with part 1, and returned to the series in 4, and it shows when you see Mr. Voorhees with his mask off. In addition the film actually has great acting. There’s not a performance I can think of that pulled me out of the experience, and for a series often derided for this problem, there is none of that here, and Corey Feldman is absolutely perfect, especially for a child actor in this film.
Perhaps the best thing to sum it up is that the film its legitimately terrifying and scary. Before the serious went into the self awareness of being campy, 4 took itself seriously at just the right amount, as well as retaining that camp that makes the series so special. Sometimes it can be a struggle for horror films to maintain this balance, but 4 is SCARY.
Overall, I can’t emphasize enough how much this film rocks. There are plenty I haven’t seen, but excluding Black Christmas among others, I consider it one of the best Slasher films ever made, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Edited by Adam White, Joelle Conway