MOVIE REVIEW: “Friday the 13th” stars Betsy Palmer (Mister Roberts, Penny Dreadful ), Adrienne King (Psychic Experiment, The Butterfly Room), Jeannine Taylor (The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana [TV movie]), Robbi Morgan (What’s the Matter with Helen?, Dutch Hollow), Kevin Bacon (Cop Car, X-Men: First Class), Harry Crosby (Hollow Venus: Diary of a Go-Go Dancer, Riding for the Pony Express [TV movie]), Laurie Bartram (Emergency! [TV series], Another World [TV series]), Mark Nelson (Lingua Franca, The Seventh Coin), Peter Brouwer (Arthur , One Life to Live [TV series]), and Walt Gorney (Trading Places, Easy Money). It is directed by Sean S. Cunningham (The New Kids, Spring Break) and written by Victor Miller (All My Children [TV series], A Stranger is Watching). Twenty-three years after a series of murders shut down Camp Crystal Lake, the camp reopens with a set of new, teenage counselors who are in for one terrifying night on Friday the 13th.
Continuing this Halloween season with some spooky flicks, I settled on 1980’s “Friday the 13th.” You all know the deal: horny camp counselors, a murderous psycho, and a whole lot of idiotic decision making. It’s a slasher film through and through, with the central appeal to the story being “how is this teen going to bite it?” Whether or not you’re a fan of that will essentially determine your opinion of the movie. For me, I thought it was entertaining. More so than “Halloween.” Sure, it doesn’t have as much of a story. There’s an antagonist and curse that is given some backstory, but besides that it’s all slice and dice.
Thankfully, the flick is laden with entertaining death sequences. Hardly any made me jump (besides one that involves a familiar face), but I was put on edge often. Set a story at night and that’s enough to make things tense; place a bunch of moronic teenagers at the helm, and you’ve got a bout of anxiety. “Friday the 13th” is certainly a good feature to commentate on with friends. The amount of stupidity found in the choices these kiddos make is quite horrendous. One moment in particular had a young woman leaving a game of strip monopoly (yes, strip monopoly) half-naked to go get ready for bed. Forget the clothes, let’s single ourselves out in a bathroom for anyone to have their way with us. And why not question the sudden absence of our peers? As the number of teens dwindled, no one cared to ask where the others went until only two remained (of course, whatever questions they had, they chalked it up to a pair having sex, which is understandable). But really, these are just cheap shots at glaring, purposeful story issues.
If there’s one thing to be said about this film’s story, it’s that if you were to walk into it with a preconcieved notion as to what the “big reveal” might be at the end, you’ll be surprised with the twist given. Granted, at the time it was released, no one knew any better or had any expectations, but now that we are aware of the franchise that this title became, it makes the final act of this horror all the more memorable. Some might be disappointed (much like my mom, who saw it with me), but I liked the choice, as well as the jump scare that soon followed in the final moments (which did get me). At its core, “Friday the 13th” is a slasher that digs its heels in its death sequences. The setting of the camp site and practical effects work in its favor, bolstering the simplistic story to be something more entertaining. While it doesn’t have much to it, this horror flick surely leaves a lasting impression. FINAL SCORE: 72%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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