R, 1 hr. 27 min. Directed by: Steve Miner. Release Date: May 1, 1981. DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006.
Sigh. I'm starting my day at 5:00AM, which is not my finest time of day. Today and tomorrow will be busy, I'm doing a project for one of my classes that actually requires me to run a project... in this case, me and seven other people have been working a community service project for a local nonprofit organization. Between the stress and the last-minute planning, I'm up and watching my daily movie, and I'm not sure which is scarier: the today's movie or the project.
I seem to have missed that time of my life where it was socially acceptable to be watching these movies. Unfortunately, my mother is a chicken of epic proportions and came up with the idea somewhere that I would inherit those tendencies. Generally, I’m not afraid of the boogeyman or the dark, but I got treated as if I was… so none of these movies until I was old enough to make my own decisions. I saw the original Friday the 13th at some point in my late twenties, when I went through a bender of 80s horror flicks, catching all the basics so I could finally figure out what everyone was talking about. I might have gotten it through Netflix, or we may be talking so long ago I actually drove to like a Blockbuster to get the DVD or (gasp) VHS. I did watch the remake that came out in 2009, which I thought was okay, but with a much higher sex-and-nudity quotient than I’m used to seeing in my horror flicks… mostly because I learned to love the genre post-Scream.
What strikes me about this movie is that they filled this movie with pretty young men and women and how none of them (literally, in one case) managed to survive the 1990s. I always find it crazy when you have a whole cast from a movie that would have been fairly successful in its day, not have a single cast member be more successful than doing soap work. Sure, it’s work, but in that regard, so’s hooking, and we mostly look down on that. Actually, I’m not too sure that I just made such a terrible comparison…
Other than that, this is pretty typical for the genre and decade: a bunch of promiscuous teenagers running amok on hormones, alcohol, and drugs getting cut up by a psycho wielding a mask, who almost always manages to catch his prey in some sense of undress. Now that I’ve heard Randy’s speech about the rules of horror, I always notice those things when they happen on screen, like “I’ll be right back,” which I counted three times in this movie, the whole good girl phenomenon, which is pretty common throughout. What I did think of here that I haven’t noticed before is that it seemed like Jason’s victims were counted by picking off a few bad kids, then a few better kids until, well, he’d pretty much slashed his way through the cast. I could be wrong, but it did feel a little bit as if someone took the plot from And Then There Were None (which is a great read if you haven’t read it yet) and then shook it all up. But, that could be attributed to similar problems: you have a group that someone wants to eliminate. Unless you are wired in to some, um, “freedom fighter” somewhere and have access to either a series of large explosives or a WMD, you’re best off using the one at a time approach.
I won’t go out and recommend this to anyone, because there isn’t much that separates this horror flick from most of the other movies mass-produced in the 80s. I’d even recommend the 2009 remake over this, and I didn’t think it was fantastic. If you’re a fan of the genre in general and of this franchise or the 80s slashers in specific, this is worth a peek. Otherwise, you won't miss much.