Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th. The movie which turned around the horror genre and gave us one of the most unforgettable villains and endings, is, and always will be a horror classic. Friday the 13th doesn’t set out to be glossy and glamorous. Friday the 13th sets out to do what it wants to do; and that is, make you sit on the edge of your seat, feel uncomfortable and unnerved, to make you frightened when you go to bed after watching it. Friday the 13th delivers all of the fantastic horror goods. The plot revolves around American teenagers, who are the new counsellors at the apparently jinxed Camp Crystal Lake. These naive, horny youngsters have a one-track mind and break all of the innocent borders which has more depth than you would think. Basically, the message is “Don’t have pre-marital sex, or you’ll die” just like many of Friday the 13th’s predecessors and clones send out as well. Friday the 13th has a variety of characters, all who you could possibly relate to. These characters are then slowly followed and hacked off one by one, in dark, gory, claustrophobic manners, which may leave you frightened in the same way Psycho made showers scary. As the camp counsellors are knocked off one by one, the tension rises higher and higher. Along the journey of carnage, the hugely effective soundtrack really creeps under your skin, highlighting how jumpy and scary the events happening on screen really are. For example when a chase scene occurs, the music may speed up, the tempo rising and jittering, almost moving like the characters on screen are. The acting in Friday the 13th is not bad at all; some of the actors/actresses may be a little amateur, but there is nothing terrible in this picture. The settings are also very effective. The stalkings and slaying in broad daylight and open spaces are a twist in a new direction, showing that not everything has to happen in the dark, in a small isolated house on the top of a hill, so the variation of location makes forests, cabins and even lakes more unappealing to the viewers afterwards, and may leave them creeped out by the aforementioned places. The camera-work is also very effective. The way the camera ‘stalks’ the victim behind trees and bushes, and the way the camera chases after it’s victims as the point of view of the villain is unique and exciting, and adds a more tense and faster chill to the movie. Friday the 13th may play as a clich├ęd slasher, a story of sex equalling carnage, but it plays so effectively well it is a too important horror movie to simply be dismissed. It collects everything appealing about the 80’s horror genre and wraps it up neatly into this fantastic horror package. A classic in it’s genre.