Some time after the events at Pinehurst Halfway House, Tommy Jarvis is released from the mental institution, despite still having hallucinations of the mass murderer Jason Voorhees—whom he killed years ago. He returns to Crystal Lake, now renamed Forest Green, to confront his fears, alongside his friend Allen Hawes. The pair visit Jason's grave during a thunderstorm, hoping to cremate the killer's body and finally end Tommy's nightmares. After digging up Jason's corpse, Tommy experiences flashbacks of his last encounter with Jason and furiously impales his body with a metal fence post, just as two lightning bolts strike the post, causing Jason to come back to life as an immortal revenant. Jason proceeds to kill Hawes and don his old hockey mask, which Tommy brought with him. Tommy flees to the sheriff's office to warn the police of Jason's return, only to be arrested and jailed. His warning of Jason's return goes unheeded by Sheriff Mike Garris, who is aware of Tommy's institutionalization and thinks he is hallucinating Jason's return. On the road, camp counselors Darren Robinson and Lizabeth Mott get lost looking for the Camp Forest Green and are stopped by Jason, who murders them both.
The following morning, Garris' daughter Megan and her friends Sissy Baker, Cort Andrews, and Paula Mott arrive to report Darren and Lizabeth missing. Tommy warns them about Jason, but as he is now considered an urban legend, they ignore the warnings, though Megan grows attracted to him. In the woods, Jason happens upon a corporate paintball game; he kills all five members (three via decapitation, the fourth via dismemberment and crushed the 5th's face into a tree then he steals a machete from them, in the process discovering that he now possesses superhuman strength as a result of his resurrection.
At Camp Forest Green, children arrive, and the teens do their best to run the camp without Darren and Lizabeth. Meanwhile, Garris decides to escort Tommy out of his jurisdiction due to his influence on Megan. Tommy tries to make a run for Jason's grave but finds that the caretaker had covered it up to deny responsibility for it being dug up, and Hawes' body is buried in its place. Tommy is then handcuffed and escorted out of town by Garris, who warns him to never return. That night, Jason murders the caretaker and a nearby couple who witness the murder. Meanwhile, Cort goes out to have sex with a girl named Nicola Parsley, but Jason kills them both. The sheriff's men find the victims' bodies and Garris immediately implicates Tommy in the murders, believing he has gone insane imagining Jason.
Tommy contacts Megan and convinces her to help him lure Jason back into Crystal Lake. Meanwhile, Jason makes his way to the camp and kills both Sissy and Paula, but refrains from harming the children. Meanwhile, Tommy and Megan are pulled over by Garris. Despite Megan's alibi that she was with Tommy, he does not believe him to be innocent and arrests him, and then goes to the camp to investigate. As Tommy and Megan develop a ruse to trick the watching deputy and escape, Jason kills Garris and two other deputies when they arrive at the camp.
Jason is about to kill Megan when Tommy calls to him from the lake; apparently remembering his killer, Jason goes after Tommy instead. Tommy is attacked in a boat in the middle of the lake and ties a boulder around Jason's neck to trap him. Jason fights back, holding Tommy underwater long enough to seemingly drown him. Megan rushes out to save him but is nearly killed when Jason grabs her leg; she turns the boat's activated motor around onto Jason's neck, and he releases her. She takes Tommy back to shore and uses CPR to revive him. Tommy says that it is finally over and that Jason is home. Under the water, Jason is shown to be still alive, albeit anchored to the bottom of the lake, waiting for another opportunity to return.
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