Halloween Horror: Friday the 13th
Hello everybody! Today we have the serial killer slasher film that launched a major franchise, Friday the 13th.
FRIDAY THE 13th
STARRING: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Jeannine Taylor, Kevin Bacon, Mark Nelson, Robbi Morgan, Ari Lehman
DIRECTOR: Sean S. Cunningham
GENRE: Horror, Slasher
COUNTRY: United States
In 1957, at Camp Crystal Lake, a young boy named Jason Voorhees drowned. In 1958, two camp counselors were murdered. In 1962, fires and bad water thwarted the camp’s reopening. Now, in 1979, Steve Christy finally reopens Camp Crystal Lake with the help of a few new counselors. Ignoring the warnings from a crazy old man, the murders start once again while a mysterious stalker prowls the area. Is it revenge that the killer is looking for? Who will survive the nightmare and live to tell the story?
Alright everybody , lets get this review started. Believe it or not, this is actually my first viewing of the first Friday the 13th. Don’t get me wrong, I have at least heard what the first film was about, but Friday the 13th started with Jason Voorhees for me, not his mother. The main cast actually performed quite well, despite being apart of a horror film. I mean come on, we all know that the characters in horror films don’t make great decisions. Lets hide behind the chainsaws instead of getting into the running car. This revenge story was also quite interesting, which is weird since it falls into the slasher subgenre of horror.
While this was actually a decent horror/slasher film, I still didn’t completely enjoy it. The film incorporated way too many horror film tropes, especially ones that are specific to the slasher genre. The climax, for me, has always been the movie’s weak spot. It really shouldn’t be giving anything away to say that the kindly-looking Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is the perpetrator behind the bloodbath—1996’s “Scream” made sure that audiences remembered this tidbit—and that Jason didn’t show up until the first sequel a year later. As final girl Alice races around the camp, discovering the bodies of her friends while trying to outsmart and defeat Mrs. Voorhees, the film wavers into campiness. Veteran stage actress Betsy Palmer gives the villainous role her all, but her childlike whispers and repeated remembrances of son Jason slow down the momentum. Fortunately, the culmination of Alice’s fight to the death with Mrs. Voorhees is gruesomely satisfying, and the shocker ending, with the tranquility of the soothing, vaguely mournful music score leading into a jump scare, is a doozy.
As heroine Alice, Adrienne King (who later went onto a voice-over career after some troubles with a stalker kept her off the screen) is strong-willed, vulnerable and cute. A tomboy who knows how to fix a rain gutter with a hammer and some nails about as well as she knows how to wear a bikini, Alice is an ideal match for a lunatic out to kill her. The rest of the performances are adequate for the material, with Jeannine Taylor, as Marcie, standing out.
- Main cast performance.
- No actual Jason Voorhees.
- Too many horror tropes.
- Mrs. Voorhees reveal.
SCORE: 6.5 / 10
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