'Friday the 13th' may have been panned by critics when first released but since then it is one of the most famous and influential horror films, the franchise containing one of horror's most iconic villains. The film is popular enough to become a franchise and spawn several sequels of varying quality and generally inferior to the one that started it all off.
'Jason Goes to Hell' for me is one of the worst of the 'Friday the 13th' films, a strong contender even for the worst. Is it irredeemably awful? No, not quite, don't think any of the 'Friday the 13th' films are. Then again this is coming from somebody who tries to see the good in bad films etc. and even tries to say where good to great films etc. could be improved on, not somebody who hates on everything or declare every film seen a classic. Sadly though, despite not caring hugely for the previous two instalments, 'Jason Goes to Hell' is indicative of the series has gone to hell.
Are there good things here in 'Jason Goes to Hell'? Yes there are. The highlights are the tense opening scene and the slicing in half death (very strange but both disturbing and not easy to forget). Kane Hodder does a lot with little and is suitably creepily intimidating.
There are instances too where the film is also inventively shot.
On the other hand, while a good deal of 'Friday the 13th' films are silly, the silliness here is overkill that it becomes insultingly ridiculous. It is certainly the most bizarre film in the series, and not in a good way, and it completely gets in the way of scares or suspense. 'Jason Goes to Hell' overdoes just as much on the weirdness as it does with silliness. A lot fails to make sense, with too many parts confusing the story, and things that beg for an explanation are left unexplained, anything explanations are like the previous films didn't happen because so much doesn't fit.
Hodder aside, the acting is really poor, even for the 'Friday the 13th' films where acting rarely was a strength. Likewise with the dialogue, which is 'Friday the 13th' at its most taking-simplicity-to-extremes, stilted, cheesiest and lacking in taste.
Nothing is truly scary here, apart from the opening and one memorable death and suspense is nil. The kills are generally neither creative or shocking (going for more quantity, with a very large body count, than quality where gore feels too much and gratuitous. The pacing is far too hectic, the film never stops moving and everything here feels incredibly rushed, and this hurts the atmosphere and the storytelling. 'Jason Goes to Hell' is also the first film in the series where the music score is a drawback and not a redeeming feature, not only does the music sound cheap here it also is so discordant with what's going on and like it was written for a different film.
Concluding, not a good film and indicative of a severe decline of a variable series of films. 3/10 Bethany Cox