Monday, December 22, 2014

Movie Review: Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th (1980) - USA - Rated R
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Kevin Bacon

Slasher flick that set the standard for other slasher flicks to follow keeps the tension going but the killer is unbelievable and a disappointment.

In 1958 two camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake sneak off to have sex and are abruptly interupted and murdered by an unseen assailant. Fast forward 20+ years later since the murders and the camp being subsequently shut down and new counselors are arriving to refurbish and reopen the camp for a new owner, despite warnings from locals and a crazy man on a bicycle to leave things alone and their lives are in danger. Being the previous murders were never solved, someone is still out there and stalking the new counselors.

Even though Friday the 13th came on the heels of John Carpenter's Halloween in an attempt, and a successful one at that, to capitalize on its success, along with the aforementioned Halloween it would provide a standard template for slasher flicks many would copy, including the producers of Friday the 13th itself. Beyond its success it obviously was very influential and set the tone for the use of tension and gore in movies of the stalk and slash variety. Of course it also set the tone for two-dimensional cardboard characters, and in this first one the killer is a big disappointment, but despite its flaws, and it's not lacking in those, it accomplishes its goal in telling a story while keeping the mood going and can be an entertaining watch for the easily amused.

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