Final Girl Spotlight: Trish Jarvis! (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)
The commercial for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter has the baritone voiceover ask – what would you do if it happened to you? Little did Trish Jarvis know she’d be the next in line to answer that question, joining the ranks of the select few final girls (up until 1984) who could claim they battled Jason Voorhees and live to tell about it. Sure, everybody loves Tommy Jarvis and we followed him through three separate entries in the series, but where’s the love for Trish?
Tommy’s older sister is, quite literally, the girl next door in this movie. Up until a bunch of party-ready teens shack up next door to her family, she’s been going on morning jogs with her Mom, hoping for her parents to reunite, and trying to get her Mom to give her pizza rather than tuna salad. Just like Huey Lewis sings, it's hip to be square. She’s pretty, demure, and the least sexually active final girl in the original four films (contrary to popular opinion, the Friday the 13th films don’t guarantee death just for making bacon – Alice clearly had something with Steve, Ginny and Paul were quite intimate, and Chris and Rick were obviously former playmates. No disrespect, ladies; you’re all kick-ass and earned your survival!).
Trish stands out in two large ways. Her love for her brother and her bravery while fighting for her life. Her battle with Jason is epic and lasts a good 20 minutes of the film. These were the pre-zombie Jason days when he was a vicious, feral mongoloid who chased his prey and had a myriad of anger issues. She jumps through windows, traverses into dark scary basements (are there any other kind?), wields a machete like a pro, smashes a t.v. set over Jason's head, finds all the dead neighbors, runs in the rain like Flo-Jo, and literally beats Jason’s face with her own fists, all to protect her brother and ensure his safety. At one point, she even makes sure Jason chases her rather than Tommy. How’s that for loyalty and love? There aren’t many people who would go to those lengths to save someone else. For instance, when I was at Boy Scout Camp, my friend Pete left me in the dark during a game of manhunt when he thought he saw someone lurking. Trish is no Pete.
Kimberly Beck is both a beauty and a natural, likable presence in the film, helping Trish to come across as thoughtful, caring, brave, and resourceful. Her crush on Rob is sweet without being cloying, but she’s no pushover. When she whisper-growls to Jason “I’m going to give you something to remember us by”, you know she means it. According to Beck, she performed most of her own stunts as well.
While I’m not drinking any Haterade on Tommy and his brilliant move to use psychology on Jason, it seems like Trish gets forgotten in the shuffle. She fended off the deadliest movie killer in history all by herself, in the rain, wearing a trendy 80’s man’s shirt, all to spare her brother from Jason’s machete. If only we knew what became of her, seeing as how it's never mentioned in the sequels (though being as athletic and take-charge as she is, I like to imagine she became a jazzercise instructor). Trish Jarvis, you deservedly earn a spot in Final Girl history.