Traumatized Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) has convinced institutional friend Allen Hawes (Ron Patillo) to escape from incarceration and join him, and drive out to the Eternal Peace Cemetery in Forest Green County.
Supposedly, it would be therapeutic and stop Tommy's hallucinations if he verifies that the killer Jason is actually dead and buried. They carry shovels and a gasoline can through the cemetery during a thunder/lightning storm - a purposely-Gothic atmosphere. Tommy's aim is to disinter the remains and then destroy the corpse once and for all.
The coffin lid is opened with a crowbar, and they view Jason's rotting body covered with worms and cobwebs. As Tommy looks at the decomposed corpse, he hauntingly thinks back to when he was age 12 and repeatedly stabbed Jason. In a fit of rage, Tommy grabs one of the long spiked posts from the cemetery's wrought-iron steel fence and angrily stabs Jason's rotting body.
He repeatedly impales the body and leaves the post embedded in Jason's body. He throws Jasonï¿½s old hockey mask onto the corpse and begins opening the gas can to set the body on fire and cremate it.
Suddenly, a flashing bolt of lightning strikes the fence post, acting like a lightning rod.
Tommy has inadvertently resurrected or reanimated Jason (C. J. Graham) from his grave (signaled by a close-up of his opened eye), causing him to now be a supernatural undead zombie. After Tommy pulls out the stake, he is grabbed by Jason, now brought back to life, but Tommy wriggles away. He sprinkles gasoline on Jason's body, but his wet matches won't light.
He then witnesses the brutal killing of his friend Allen when Jason punches his chest with his fist, and holds his torn-out heart. Allen's body falls into Jason's coffin and its cover closed over him.
Tommy flees to his pickup truck and drives off, as Jason dons his trademark hockey mask, grabs the fence post, and stalks into the woods.
Tommy drives to the Forest Green County Sheriff's Department and reports the incident to skeptical Sheriff Mike Garris (David Gagen). The camp name had been changed to Forest Green to disassociate itself from its murderous Crystal Lake history. The Sheriff is becoming exasperated. Tommy's troubled reputation precedes him and the Sheriff is doubtful of his sanity since the teen's family members had been murdered and he had subsequently been placed in a psychiatric clinic. He calls Tommy's story and claims only a prank and then jails him.
Meanwhile, two head camp counselors, Darren (Tony Goldwyn), Lizabeth (Nancy McLoughlin), are driving back to the recently-reopened Camp Forest Green in a VW bug, but they are lost in the dark on a muddy road. Suddenly, they come upon Jason standing in their path and blocking their way.
Lizabeth cautions that they should turn around. Darren foolishly suggests they scare him by driving towards him. When she drives up to him and stops, Jason remains immoveable. The masked figure spears their left front tire through the fender with the broken metal fence post.
Darren grabs a gun from the glove-compartment, surprising Lizabeth and Darren threatens Jason with it. But Darren is stabbed in the stomach and impaled on a spear, and then tossed over Jason's shoulder, as his blood splatters onto the windshield.
Jason spears and breaks the windshield, as Lizabeth crawls out of the car into the mud. He stands atop her as she begs for her life (offering him money and her American Express credit card from her wallet). Writhing in the mud, she is impaled through the mouth/face with the same spear.
As he rests in jail, Tommy watches the next morning as various friends (all camp counselors) arrive: Sheriff Garris' blonde daughter Megan (Jennifer Cooke), girlfriend Sissy Baker (Renee Jones), Lizabeth's sister Paula (Kerry Noonan), and torn jeans-wearing Cort (Tom Fridley). Megan asks that her father go looking for the two missing head counselors (Darren and Lizabeth), as she suspects they had car trouble. The two had planned to organize the new campgrounds for the day's arrival of young campers.
Overhearing their problem, Tommy blurts out that the serial killer might be responsible. Although the Sheriff warns that Tommy is dangerous and not well, Megan believes his story about the legendary Jason, thinking he is cute. Sissy clarifies the identity of the notorious Jason. The Sheriff is very upset with Tommy, and plans to personally escort him out of the county (to the edge of his jurisdiction) for ever. However, Tommy believes that Jason would return to the camp, something familiar to him.
The drunk and grizzled old cemetery caretaker Martin (Bob Larkin) complains about the conditions he finds at Jason's gravesite. He then reburies everything by filling in the hole with dirt.
The four camp counselors arrive at Camp Forest Green with supplies, where they review their encounter with the weird jailbird. Megan insists maybe he is telling the truth about looking for the camp counselor that caused him to drown as a boy and searching for the one that decapitated his vengeful mother. She reminds her friends of the day's date - Friday the 13th. When the campers arrive on a large yellow school bus.
In the woods, Jason stumbles upon a fivesome of corporate sales executives wearing protective eye-goggles and camouflage uniforms, and playing paint-ball wargames: Katie (Ann Ryerson), machete-wielding, female-hating sexist Burt (Wallace Merck), wearing a black Dead headband Stan (Matthew Faison), Larry (Alan Blumenfeld), and geeky Roy (Whitney Rydbeck). The only female in the group, Katie is eliminating most of the other males in the group, infuriating Burt.
Jason confronts Burt, rips off his arm, and throws him into a tree trunk, where his body is impaled on a thick tree branch and his face is bashed in, leaving a bloody circle on a carved smiley face. As the threesome of Stan, Katie, and Larry stand together, Jason drops down in front of them, and with one swipe of his machete, he decapitates all of them in a triple murder, as geeky Roy watches in horror. To defend himself, Roy vainly shoots his paint-ball gun at Jason and then runs for his life, wildly screaming for help.
On his way out of town, escorted from behind by Sheriff Garris' and Deputy Rick Cologne's (Vincent Guastaferro) police car, Tommy takes an unauthorized detour in his pickup truck to Eternal Peace Cemetery. The pursuit leads to a car chase and foot-race through the grounds, where Tommy is wrestled and hand-cuffed, after which he insists on showing them Jason's grave.