“Halloween Twenty-Fifteen”: A Review of “Friday the 13th” (1980)

friday_13th_1_poster_01“They were warned…They are doomed…And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.” We all know the story: a group of summer camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake are stalked by a deranged, unknown killer who is not revealed until the very end, as they try to set up for the upcoming season. This is the first of such incidents since a tragedy occurred at the lake decades earlier. There’s plenty of sex, screams, and lots of killing. This is a film that has established itself as one of the first true “slasher” films and has been a cult classic ever since its 1980 release. After watching for the first time, though, I am at a loss when trying to figure out why this movie garners so much hype and has so many die-hard fans. Sure, it is worth watching because it was a landmark film which pretty much created its own sub-genre of “summer camp horror” and other clichés that would go on to be replicated forever, but for the first hour and ten minutes, I found myself utterly bored to death.

A few gory murders and some counselors romping was not enough to make this even remotely interesting. Only when the famed Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), makes her way into the film during the last twenty minutes or so does the story pick up and actually become engaging and slightly exciting. The rest is a long, drawn-out, overrated, low-budget dud. The direction is there—it is well put-together and the cinematography is lush, but the acting is awful and there is really nothing happening for a good chunk of this movie. It certainly isn’t scary, not by any stretch. I wanted so badly to like this, but I just couldn’t. Bad movie luck for me with a name like Friday the 13th. Also starring Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, and Kevin Bacon. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham.

4 out of 10 stars.

More articles in this special “Halloween Twenty-Fifteen” column can be found here

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