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Friday the 13th (1980)


Jeff Nelson

Friday the 13th (1980) deserves the spot it has as one of the classic slasher films that will continue to stand the test of time.

Friday the 13th (1980)
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There are a number of horror villains that have sliced and diced their way to become the best slashers in the genre. After The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980) hit the horror scene. While this may not be Jason Voorhees' big entrance to the genre, his legend was enough to gain plenty of positive hype from moviegoers. All of these years later, Jason Voorhees has continued to be one of the dominating slashers of the genre.

Twenty years after mysterious deaths shut it down, Camp Crystal Lake reopens, although the place hasn't shaken its curse, as a killer picks off the teen counselors one by one. Sounds like the cliché slasher plot doesn't it? Well, it essentially is. However, there is a larger build here. The filmmakers definitely take their time to introduce the characters and the legend of Jason Voorhees before getting into constant stalking and killing. The screenplay is taut and holds consistent throughout. The actions and decisions of the characters are inane throughout, just like most slasher films released recently. A lot of the dialogue here is cliché, but it doesn't take too much away from the film. For a slasher movie, suspense is handled well.

The slasher genre is known to contain unbearably poor acting. Friday the 13th (1980) has passable performances. There isn't anything special about the acting, but it isn't insufferable. Betsy Palmer is good here and delivers her lines well. Kevin Bacon is one of the only actors who moved onto bigger things after Friday the 13th (1980). Don't expect to be floored by the acting, but it's better than the stereotypical slasher.

Fortunately, the invention of CGI wasn't around in 1980. The film may move slow in the beginning, but a body count still rises. There are death sequences here that hold iconic slots in the genre. The final death of the film is definitely an unforgettable one. It's executed to near perfection. The transitions and filming style certainly contains the themes from other movies from the time this was made. The grainy and softness present throughout undeniably gives the film the atmosphere. For being on a shoestring budget, the filmmakers made tremendous use of the money available.

Out of all the notorious slashers that hit the horror scene, Friday the 13th (1980) may not be the strongest, but it stands the test of time and remains to be a good slasher. Even after multiple views, I still enjoy it quite a bit. Love it or hate it, the film has earned its reputation and is a must see for all horror fans. Friday the 13th (1980) deserves the spot it has as one of the classic slasher films that will continue to stand the test of time.

My Rating = Four Stars

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