By Brett Mullins
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
The original Friday the 13th was a film that ignited an ever-growing string of poor sequels and ineffective imitators. This legacy has granted the film a position as a classic in the slasher sub-genre, despite its borrowed themes, confused plot, and lack of real connection to the rest of the series.
Camp Crystal Lake has decided to open its doors to new campers after several years of inactivity due to a string of seemingly unrelated incidents and crimes, beginning with the drowning of a young boy, Jason. As the camp counselors arrive for preparations, they fall victim to an unknown presence lurking around the area.
The first item that should be noted regarding this film is that it is rather unoriginal (including the ending); it borrows heavily from Halloween (1978), Carrie and numerous others within the genre. In addition to this, this film features little to no plot until well over one hour of its 90-some minute run time. This being said, the final twenty or so minutes are quite interesting. This lagging greatly hinders what would otherwise be a decent story.
Though the acting is more or less amateur, it sets the stage for Betsy Palmer’s performance which is top notch. It is also worth noting the numerous gruesome death scenes and memorable special effects which permeate this film.
The original Friday the 13th is quite the mundane horror film outside of its massive family of sequels and remakes. Even within the series, it is quite different from subsequent entries and, therefore, could be reduced to a mere synopsis or flashback.