Monday, February 23, 2015

Film Review: Friday The 13th (1980)

Friday The 13th (Review)
United States/1980
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...some savage death scenes, moderate suspense and tension..."

In 1958, two camp counselors were slaughtered by an unknown assailant. Twenty years later, the camp is set to reopen...

Friday The 13th follows a new group of young camp counselors as they prepare Camp Crystal Lake for its grand reopening. The counselors learn about the camp's infamous past, which includes the 1958 murders and the unfortunate drowning of a young boy in 1957. Slowly but surely, the counselors are attacked by an unknown assailant -- brutally picked off one-by-one. That's about it, really. Some messing around with the counselors, a gory death scene, more games, a death scene, and so on. Friday The 13th leads to a tense game of hide-and-seek (cat-and-mouse?) for satisfying climax and ending.

Friday The 13th is very simple. This can be both a fault and benefit. On one hand, it's so simple, it hardly has any character. I finished watching the film a few minutes ago and can barely remember any of their names. I didn't even identity the lead protagonist until the final act when it was quite blatant. On the other hand, it's a very easy film to watch, which is worth something. You can play this film and immerse yourself into some savage death scenes, moderate suspense and tension, and, well, you'll witness the birth of an iconic series. I really enjoyed the climax, and the film has some surprisingly effective buildup. It's not quite the perfect slasher, but it's far from bad, too.

The acting is decent. Nothing really stood out as either phenomenal or terrible -- simply decent. The film is shot well. I liked the first-person view to essentially mask the antagonist, I thought it worked well. The music is fantastic, not too subtle and not overwhelming. I've also liked the sounds of the Friday The 13th series. The special effects were good. As you know by now, I love practical effects. Although lacking in character, director Sean S. Cunningham delivers a suspenseful and memorable slasher. It has well-crafted buildup, good suspense, and some solid thrills, especially towards the end.

Overall, Friday The 13th is a very good slasher. It has the suspense and tension to keep you hooked, and the practical gore for some genuine "wow" moments -- the perfect combination for a slasher. It does have a lack of character, though, which is worth noting. Although it's not heavily flawed, I still prefer Black Christmas and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex and brief nudity.

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