Friday the 13th Part 9: Jason Goes To Hell
Written by Dean Lorey & Jay Huguely
Directed by Adam Marcus
Creighton Duke...Steven Williams
Jessica Kimble...Kari Keegan
Steven Freeman...John D. LeMay
Jason Voorhees...Kane Hodder
The movie starts off with an undercover FBI agent infiltrating Camp Crystal Lake and posing as a horny young co-ed to lure Jason Voorhees out of his cozy little hideaway. It works, and when Jason gives chase the FBI agent leads him out to a field where a special attack unit is waiting for him. They hit the floodlights, pump him full of more lead than the No.2 Pencil Company and blow him to kingdom come. His remains are gathered up and taken to the morgue where a coroner sorts through the pieces and proudly proclaims Jason Voorhees "deader than shit."
The autopsy reveals that Jason's heart is oversized, filled with black and viscous fluid, still beating, and entirely too delicious to pass up. The medical examiner devours that thing like a fat kid with a Big Mac, and next thing you know, he's being shot with a Roman Candle and becoming possessed with the evil spirit of the venerable Mr. Voorhees. Jason, now a pudgy, middle aged African American man with a medical degree, slices-and-dices his way back to his hometown of Crystal Lake.
Only bounty hunter Creighton Duke knows the truth: Jason Voorhees is actually an evil so foreign and powerful that he has the ability to leap from body to body. His hosts don't last long, however, and soon enough Jason has to leap once again. Jason is now on a quest to track down his final living relative so that he may be reborn, and as it just so happens, his final living relative is also the only person who can kill him for good--with a magic knife. Confused? Good. You should be. All this gobbledygook is new to the Friday storyline despite the fact that 9 movies in seems a little late to be rewriting history.
I have no problems with the filmmakers attempting to expand on the mythology of the character--hell, I was pissed when they dropped the Mark of Thorn angle from the Halloween series--but waiting so long to do so, and doing it so drastically, was a bit of a mistake. We're suddenly smacked over the head with the body hopping concept; that he casts Jason's reflection, hockey mask and all, when in these temporary bodies like a reverse vampire; and that he can then be reborn into a duplicate of his own body by crawling inside the vagina of a blood relative for an amazingly rapid gestation period.
Hey, I said I didn't mind them trying. I didn't say they did a good job.
This is one of only two films in the entire franchise that I have any sort of nostalgia for--the other being Jason Lives. I was 15 or so when this hit home video, and it was only the second Friday film I had seen, and was the first I had seen by myself. The local video store, whose selection left something to be desired, didn't have any of the other films in the series, and as a result, I rented the hell out of this title.
Nostalgia aside, it's not a bad slasher flick, but as a Friday the 13th, it's not very good. There are a number of interesting ideas here that are never fully explored, and a lot of questions are raised but never answered--how does Creighton know so much about Jason Voorhees? How did Jason get these abilities that we had never heard of before? What the hell was that slimy little humanoid that scampered around the floor of the Voorhees house? And why does Jason shave one of his victims before taking over his body? The body jumping concept is rather silly, and the result is that although "Jason" is in the entire film, you rarely seen JASON at all.
There are some good kills, though, and a number of in-jokes and references for genre fans, the most obvious among them being the Evil Dead's Necronomicon and Freddy Krueger's glove--three franchises which would later merge together in a pair of comic book miniseries.
Not the worst in the series, believe it or not. That dubious honor goes to the next installment when Jason goes...TO SPACE.