This was my first time seeing the movie Friday the 13th. That might sound surprising, in that I do enjoy a good scary movie and mysteries. Perhaps I never saw it before because when it first came out in 1980 I was very much a little kid, and by the time i was old enough and interested I preferred to see new movies. So I came into the theater with very limited knowledge about this movie.
What I did know was that the bad guy is Jason, he wears a mask, and teens at a camp (including Kevin Bacon) get slaughtered. That being said, there were some good things about this movie. Firstly, from a mystery point of view, the story kept me thinking ” who is the killer”? Since we don’t see the slasher until the very end, I liked how the camera changed, so that we were looking through the killer’s eyes. Secondly, the use of certain sounds whenever the killer is nearby was helpful. It’s like a tip off to me that someone’s about to die so be prepared. For this movie it was a simple, repeating sound. I always appreciate the warning.
The most important element in this movie is the music, the soundtrack. I think Sean S. Cunningham did a good job directing this film; however, without the creepy music by Henry Manfredini, this would be a comedy instead of a slasher. The fights at the end between the killer and last one standing would have been funny without the tense music.
Now, there were plenty of cheesy parts too in this movie. So many usual gimmicks of scary movies can be found here, as well as a few surpises (for me). The opening scene, of every good boy and girl singing “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” or sleeping peacefully in their bunks, while 2 horny teens go to the barn’s loft reinforces the notion that if you do what’s good you’re safe. So through the eyes of our killer we find the 2 bad kids and kill them, the boy first so we can hear the girl scream and cry.
Then there’s Ralph the town crazy, warning everyone of Camp Blood, the locals’ name for Camp Crystal Lake. Cunningham made good use of surprise, the killer pops out of nowhere, as does Ralph with his warnings. After he was in the pantry I cringed whenever a character went into that pantry.
Those being hunted by the killer did the cliche things: tripping, hurting a leg in trying to run away, checking out creepy sounds in the dark, etc. Steve, the owner, was dumb to leave the camp all day, and to return at night in the middle of a bad storm. His death only served a purpose in showing us the killer was someone local. And then, of course, all the women screaming and calling out the names of the young men is always in these stories.
One cool yet funny surprise I had was when Alice piles everything in the room up against the door. I instantly thought of Scooby-Doo and Shaggy doing that in so many cartoons!
The other surprise though led me to some questions. I was indeed surprised to learn who the killer was! I was instantly reminded of the movie Scream 2. But then i thought, where’s Jason? Or was he controlling the killer? Or was the killer imagining Jason’s little voice? And where is his hockey mask?
Alice’s final moments on the lake also leaves me wondering, is Jason still in the lake? If so how does the image of a scared little boy, who is a bad swimmer, change into a grown man with a hockey mask and a machete?
Overall, this was a fun movie to watch that even had a few tricks up its sleeve I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed the suspense, the cheesy parts, and although there was blood I didn’t even hide my eyes behind my fingers – I watched it all from the front row!