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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Movie Review: FRIDAY THE 13TH


Friday the 13th is a 1980 horror film directed by Sean S. Cunningham that falls into the subcategory of "slasher" flick. We open on a group of teenage or young adult camp counselors who are working to reopen Camp Crystal Lake for the first time in two decades. The camp has a rather tragic past: in 1957, a boy drowned in the lake, and in 1958, two camp counselors were brutally murdered. The camp itself has garnered the nickname "Camp Blood" among the people in town. However, Steve (Peter Brouwer) wants to bring the camp back to life, so he hired the co-eds to refurbish the area in preparation for its grand reopening. They all arrive on Friday, June 13th and get to work. Slowly, the counselors start being killed in graphic fashion by some unseen person, and when Alice (Adrienne King) finally catches on, she does everything she can just to stay alive.

The character Jason Voorhees is one of those characters that essentially everybody knows about. His name is right up there with Freddy Krueger and Norman Bates, yet I had never given the Friday the 13th franchise a shot. When I saw it instantly streaming on NetFlix, I figured I'd give it that chance, but now I just wish I could have those ninety-five minutes back. There's no real story here - we're basically seeing a slow and methodical string of murders that are eventually justified by an extremely warped sense of revenge.

To be fair, the actors weren't really given much to work with, but they still could've brought a little more believability to their respective roles. The screenplay is written so that you never really get a sense of who these people are, and in turn, you never really care that they're being offed so quickly. Essentially, this movie was made for the sake of giving the audience a little bit of gore (I'd say scares, but there's really none to speak of), and even that's tame by today's standards. Maybe back in 1980, it was shocking, but now, it's not even laughable. We do get a look at a young Kevin Bacon, though.

I did have major issues with the film's musical score, which felt like a mix between John Williams's score for 1975's Jaws and Bernard Hermann's score for 1960's Psycho. Composer Harry Manfredini basically spawned the bastard child of those two iconic scores, and I think it took me out of this film more than anything else. The whole time, I just wanted something original, but instead, we've got music that so blatantly steals from other bits of classic cinema. In retrospect, most of the film is unoriginal, taking healthy helpings from other great films.

All in all, Friday the 13th really isn't worth your time. Maybe you'll laugh at it, but I couldn't even give it that much credit. It's just a travesty of a film that Leonard Maltin claimed was "one more clue to why SAT scores continue[d] to decline" in the time when the film was first released.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: F
Current All-Time Rank:
Worst - #100
2 Thumbs Down

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