Friday the 13th

1980

Friday the 13th

Critics Consensus

Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.

63%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 228,817
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Movie Info

One of the longest-running horror film series began with this gory shocker from director Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously produced Wes Craven's classic Last House on the Left. Entrepreneur Steve Christie (Peter Brouwer) re-opens Camp Crystal Lake after many years during which it has been cursed by murders and bad luck. The young and nubile counselors all begin to die extremely bloody deaths at the hands of an unseen killer during a rainstorm which isolates the camp. A woman is chopped in the face with an axe, another has her throat sliced in amazingly gruesome fashion, a male counselor (Harry Crosby) is pinned to a door with arrows, and a young Kevin Bacon has an arrow shoved through his throat from below a bed. Victor Miller's script is not particularly impressive, but Cunningham's tense direction, and some remarkable special-effects by acclaimed makeup artist Tom Savini are enough to make it worthwhile. 1950s quiz show regular Betsy Palmer appears as the cook whose son, Jason (Ari Lehman), drowned 25 years earlier while neglected by romancing counselors. Palmer was reportedly cast because she was willing to drive her own car to and from the set. Trivia buffs should note the decapitation scene near the end, in which the female killer exhibits rather hirsute hands clutching at the air. The hands belong to Savini's assistant, Taso N. Stavrakis. Friday the 13th made nearly 40 million dollars at the box office and spawned numerous sequels. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Friday the 13th

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Friday the 13th

  • Oct 21, 2016
    Out of all the horror slasher to be blatantly inspired by Hitchcock's Psycho, Friday the 13th felt the most uninhabited by an overall great story. Besides blood, guts, and sex, there isn't a whole lot here. For that, I had a hard time getting behind this film. Taking on the similar approach that most horror films take, Friday the 13th takes place at Camp Crystal Lake, a secluded kids camp in the middle of dark woods area. So it's kind of like Evil Dead, just with absolutely no likable or built out characters. Sure, "Jason" doesn't start taking people out until 30 minutes in or so, but there was never any effort to build any of the characters' depth through good writing. Every one of them simply wants to get laid on the campgrounds. That's poor storytelling. So when the brutal kills do happen, you don't really care. Granted, the last act reveals more about the characters than the entire rest of the film, but at that point it was too late for me. The surprises in the 3rd act are cool, but I can't get behind the stupidity of the majority of the characters. 4.6/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2016
    The first in so many entries to the Friday 13th movies, And yet this is the first but it has little involvement from Jason himself, The film isn't great really a predictable plot, Poor acting, The killer is a twist if you're expecting to see the hockey mask and machete you will be dissapointed, The kills were done very well with some old school effects that still look pretty good now, God knows how this film managed to get so many sequels and became so successful.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2016
    Classic horror film...it spawned one good sequel and a shitload of bad ones. Seeing young Kevin Bacon here is hilarious, by the way.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 21, 2015
    Extremely worthy of its inherited title as a genre-defining slasher film; Friday the 13th's worthiness of being compared to massively successful films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street, Psycho and Halloween is deserved soley because of its titular franchise villain. Jason Vorhees is as resonant of the horror genre as the simple butcher's knife is, and whilst its tiresomely dated to watch now and some of the acting is cheesy as hell, its still hugely entertaining. What I like particularly about the film is that the creators didn't seem hugely concerned with giving Jason much motive, sure he's a three-dimensional serial killer but the reasons he has for slaying the teens of Crystal Lake each summer really aren't understandable at all. This may seem like a bad thing for some people, but its what I've always enjoyed the most about Jason. He will kill you regardless of your story or bias. The villain of the first film, not Jason but *SPOILER ALERT* Jason's mother, Mrs Vorhees stands as an awesome way to throw an audience off for decades. The jump scare ending of the film is what makes it, paving the way for countless sequels that fans of the first will enjoy.
    Harry W Super Reviewer

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