Let's time travel shall we? Back to the early 80s when things were changing. It was a whole new decade with a whole new generation of film goers and with that ideology comes a change in film. For the most part one can look at the original "Friday The 13th" as a sign of new things to come within the Horror genre. Perhaps not the first 'slasher' of its kind, one can easily tell that "Halloween" or even "Psycho" were influences for films of this type, but this film went on to inspire and change the way that Horror could be perceived.
Upon its release, it received high ticket sales despite the severe critical backlash. Even watching it now almost 30 years later, one can see why it was influential for its time but one can also see its many many faults. With that, I must say that I have some very high respect for this film. Perhaps not in the usual sense, but this was pretty ballsy for American cinemas at the time (okay perhaps it wasn't "The Exorcist" or even Italian films for that matter) and despite some very weak links I find that I enjoy this film no matter how many times I watch it.
For starters, this film has some of the poorest character development and plot build for any kind of film. Despite the brilliant twist ending, that most of you already know but I still won't spoil it for the others, this film is about the killing and not about even caring all that much for the teenagers. Most of them are idiots and probably deserve to die for lack of character depth. But the film is very focused on this fact and delivers it swiftly. For its time, the special effects had to have been awesome, despite being an independent film with a fairly low budget, and the cleverness of the deaths is something that would inspire legions of films later on.
One aspect I still have issues with isn't the story or the somewhat cheesiness that time has give the film, but Cunningham's directing. One can easily tell that he is new to the craft and his later films would show a much better director. He tends to bog down flow of the film and he has a very un-inspired 'let's just shoot it' style for this one. It doesn't help that he doesn't have a good script to work with, or great actors either (despite Kevin Bacon of course whom's character is essentially a pile of rocks in flesh) but he does nothing to help it either.
And despite all of these flaws of poor film making its still hard for me not to enjoy this film. I still watch it every 13th that falls on a Friday and I still enjoy it at the end. Its far from great but I have respect for it (in a sense) and will always find myself draw to it.
Written By Matt Reifschneider