Being a massive cinephile, I thought it might be, for lack of a better word, “fun” to watch all 12 FRIDAY THE 13th films in a row and give some brief thoughts about them. I’m including FREDDY VS. JASON and the 2009 Remake as part of the series because I’m a glutton for punishment.
Now mind you, I have seen each one of these at least a half dozen times or more, so when watching them this time, I tried my best to approach the movies as if it were my first time seeing them. These are not meant to be heavy critical analysis of the films, they are simply fast and easy impressions to give you a quick review of their merit (or lack of).
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
I wouldn’t call FRIDAY THE 13th a seminal film, but it certainly is one of the most influential in the 80’s slasher genre. The thing that struck me most about this viewing was that the movie holds up better than I typically give it credit. It actually has a discernable plot with naturalistic characters that behave in a sensible manner. They arm and defend themselves and desperately try to survive and I found nothing egregious about how they behaved which lends some credibility to the fairly standard plotting.
Camp Crystal Lake is going to reopen after years of laying dormant due to a number of deaths that have haunted the place over the last decade. Having been dubbed “Camp Blood” by the locals, no one in the town wants to be reminded of the murders that have blighted their once peaceful hamlet.
But ignoring the warning, Steve has enlisted a throng of nubile young teenagers (including a young Kevin Bacon!) to finish it up. One by one the counselors are sliced and diced by a mystery killer in increasingly brutal and gory ways leaving just one to defend herself against the crazed lunatic. All in all, FRIDAY THE 13th is a decent film and worth seeing if you are a fan of horror and appreciate movies that have contributed to the genre over the decades. GRADE: 3.5 (out of 5)
FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2 (1981)
I’m a little flummoxed by how to exactly review PART 2. There really isn’t a plot to discuss. For it being 86 minutes long, 6 of those minutes are a recap of footage from the first film via a nightmare that lone survivor Alice is having.
Once she is killed, the rest of the movie is just lambs to the slaughter, this time taking place at a “Camp Blood” adjacent, counselor training facility. All the characters are generic and one by one they get dispatched. This time the killer is Jason, crazed for revenge for the decapitation of his mother.
The few things that PART 2 has going for it is that the characters are still believable as actual human beings and it’s well shot with some honest to goodness visual flair. Steve Miner has a good eye for iconic shots and PART 2 has many of the ones most associated with the series. It’s brisk and doesn’t ask much from the audience but surprisingly the gore is not as graphic as you’d expect with many of the kill moments happening off screen or beyond the frame. GRADE: 3 (out of 5