Friday the 13th - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Friday the 13th Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 31, 2009
When you think that this is the first movie of the infamous long series, it is hard to believe that the one that started it all is so awful and sluggish, and yet it did help shape the conventions of the slasher subgenre and at least has a good cinematography and great makeup effects.
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2010
This is the film that launched the most successful Horror franchise in the history of the United States. It spawned 9 sequels, a crossover with Freddy Krueger, an eventual reboot, and a whole host of imitators. It was originally made to cash in on the success of the most brilliant slasher movie of all-time, John Carpenter's "Halloween". Needless to say, it took on a life of it's own.
Many would argue that this is the best of the Friday the 13th movies, and it's not difficult to understand their argument. After all, this was the birth of some of the most iconic characters in the history of Horror. I'm sure that it also benefited from being released prior to the eventual saturation of the slasher genre. Sean Cunningham was able to produce an ominous atmosphere, in what was probably one of the best settings ever imagined for a Horror movie. This film, along with it's sequels, had a pronounced influence on me as a child, so I'll always give Friday the 13th credit, at least from a nostalgic standpoint.
Unfortunately, I don't consider Friday the 13th that great of a movie. To me, much of the appeal of a "Friday the 13th" movie, was watching Jason kill people. The initial installment borrowed heavily from the Italian films, that were very influential at the time. The camera normally pans the surroundings with a voyeuristic approach. So in most cases, you're witnessing events from the viewpoint of the killer. It is effective at times, but it has never been my favorite technique. True to the Italian formula, the mysterious killer isn't revealed until the film's climax. In Friday the 13th, this results in a largely embarrassing cat fight between Pamela Voorhees and the "Alice" character. Further complaints would include the overly methodical pace, and the fact that after 30 years, the film hasn't aged well at all.
This is probably one of the better installments in the series, which might not be saying that much. You can certainly do worse if you're sitting down with a Friday the 13th movie, but there are far more entertaining slasher movies to spend your time on too.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2008
Doesn't deserve classic status among top shelf horror greats like "Halloween" and " A Nightmare on Elm Street", but it certainly isn't that bad. The film has some good cinematography and has that old school horror feeling I love that just isn't there among horror films these days, but the script is lacking. If they would have gone with the "fake" ending I think it would have been a little stronger, but taken as it is Friday the 13th is just a mildy fun, but disposable horror film that for whatever reason gets cited among great films.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2012
Friday the 13th is completely undeserving of the reputation it has held on to for the past 30 years next to Wes Craven's masterpiece Nightmare on Elm Street. That's a movie much more influential to horror cinema. Director Sean Cunningham has unfortunately created "The Last House on the Left" lite, because it wasn't nearly as scary and is just trashy. It's extremely outdated and it's "protaganists" are cocky and annoying which make me root for the killer a little too much. However I did jump a couple of times and antagonist Jason Voordhees is without a doubt a memorable horror icon. But that's because he's a typical horror villian. It's worth watching for it's cultural significance and a few jumps. Apart from this it's not worth your time. Maybe the sequels were an improvement to this dull start, I dont know. But just because it was the first one. It doesn't mean it's the best one.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2007
What began as a rip-off of both Halloween and Twitch of the Death Nerve served as a film series that, in many ways, is more popular and loved than either of the films it ripped off. Now, I'm not saying that it gratuitously ripped them off, but it did steal quite a bit (especially in the following sequel). Friday the 13th is Sean Cunningham's attempt at a "really scary movie" mixed with a "roller coaster ride" that you can both laugh at and be scared by. You can't really judge this film based on the quality of its material. It isn't Shakespeare. It's a film about a bunch of camp counslers being picked off one by one by a mysterious killer. In many ways, it's a giallo, but it never seems to be classified as such. It's more about the tension building and the shock value than the actual quality of the filmmaking. It works like gangbusters, of course, despite the lack of any real money to make it or quality of its story. In my opinion it's an excellent start to great a series while not being the best of it. It has its flaws, but the overall quality of the film is enjoyable enough not to be overlook it. It would expand in later entries as other filmmakers came along to make better films, but on its own it's a pretty effective horror film and still has lot of power in its death sequences.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2011
This started it all. Nothing more to be said, except you must watch it if you already haven't. Classic.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2007
Really good directed. It's far from perfectly filmed....but that's what makes it so good. The end fight was a little weak...but hey...who cares?
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2011
There is one thing about influential horror films that must always be taken into account: when one that changed cinema is made, there are bound to be countless attempts at cashing in on the accomplishment that that film has made. But, it is rare that a film ends up being so successful that it is able to break away from being the opposite and becomes it's own film (even tagging along a franchise made up of terrible sequels). Friday The 13th is one of those films that tried to be the opposite of Halloween, but was able to break new ground and was the main topic in numerous debates over censorship due to how graphic the violence was at that time. But, while the deaths were beyond creative, what this film lacks is any real development from any of the characters, being unable to care for anyone, and just dealing with mainly poor acting and a cliched script that is laughable at best. When I first saw this film, I was already aware of this film and it's history in cinema. So, I already knew what to expect from this movie. But, there is something of a charm that works with this film that satisfies the hunger people have to see blood, guts, and gore on screen. And for me, being the young teenager I was when I saw this film, I will say that that hunger was satisfied greatly. Now for the details. This being the main directorial debut of Sean S. Cunningham (producer of the original The Last House On The Left), he does an okay job. There is nothing special with how he directed the film, just okay. Personally, I would of liked it if he was more creative with some styles, but the idea to have the killer hidden for the film actually works. But, while he directed the film, there is one other director that worked on this film as the Special Effects director that needs to be mentioned: Tom Savini. This man, I will say, is the greatest effects artist of all time and this film is an impressive showcase of his talent and how creative he was when making these deaths. They are simple, yet original and effective which have been shown to still freak people out if they are unaware of this film (even more the ending). Now, if this film would have been directed by Savini, I wonder how it would of turned out. Now for the acting. For the most part, same as directing: nothing to brag about. And that is sad due to them having Kevin Bacon in the film. He is a great actor, and for him to give a mediocre performance in this film is just sad. But, due to this being his first film and, from what I have read, he was thrown in for the sex appeal, I guess I can cut him some slack with this film. But the main actor that needs to be said is Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees. While she has a small role in this film, she is terrifying as this outraged parent. She is scary, disturbing, and a little bit sympathetic at times. Next the score. The score, like that of Halloween, has gone down in history as being legendary. Even more the famous echo beat that is played through out. Now, is it scary? No, not really. But it is effective in making this film fun. Finally the script. They had a lot of potential of making the writing great. They could of made the film well written, given some dimensions to the characters, and make them all real. But, Ron Kurz did not do that. He made the script rushed and just to collect his paycheck. Disappointing. Overall, this film is great if you are a horror film fanatic, like seeing creative deaths, or want to see the origins of one of the most iconic characters in cinema history.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2011
Dont blame them it was their first FRIDAY THE 13th
Jason Vorhees was unexperienced in all that slashing.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
Okay, so this isn't like a good movie in general, but as a genre entry, it's top notch. It's spawned so many imitators and ripoffs it's not even funny.

By modern standards it's pretty tame, but it has a decent atmosphere. The kill scenes and make up effects are still top notch, even if they are a little tame and dated. Man, these must have been amazing and super impressive when this film first came out. Nowadays they are just fun, and a good reminder of how effective practical effects can be as opposed to CG.

As I said, this isn't really that good of a movie per se, with things like writing, direction, and acting just being average, but they're stll serviceable nonetheless. This isn't the most subtle horror film, but it's a lot better than most of it's sequels and many of it's copiers.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2011
I can easily see how this became a horror classic. For me, "Friday the 13th" kicked off all those notable and infamous horror movie cliches. I actually saw the sixth and seventh films in the series before I got around this one. I actually
agree with the Tomatometer on this one. "FT13" wasn't all

The story follows a group of stupid, sexed up campers who visit the newly reopened Camp Crystal Lake, commonly known as Camp Blood due to its murderous past. Murderous past, eh?
Yup, you guessed it. Some knife-wielding maniac is staliking
these campers. And yes, they get killed one by one.

Lets begin by discussing the deaths. These deaths weren't very exciting. The film relied more on eeriness and jump
scenes as oppose to scariness, IMO. I like my horror films
to be scary. If not, then it isn't a horror film. I also
prefer the deaths to be elaborate and gory. But not too
gory. I can get a bit squeamish myself. The deaths in this
seem to all be throat-sliding and stomach-stabbings. If there is one death that I enjoyed, it would have to be the
one where Kevin Bacon's girlfriend gets pwned with an axe.

"Friday the 13th" has some of the stupidest characters I've
seen in a film. I did state they were all just stupid and
sexed up. And that is so true and annoying. Sex seems to all they care about. Remember the scene where they play "Strip
Monopoly"? Oh, how fun! **Rolls eyes** They end up having
to stop the game (Can't remember why) and what got me the most is that one of the girls go outside in her lingerie
and a raincoat. She doesn't even bother dressing back?
What a retard! They just did that to keep balancing the
sexy aspect of the film with the horror one. Didn't work
for me. I learned a lot from this film like putting your
clothes back no matter what.

I think the series got better when introduced Jason Voorhees as the killer. The killer in this, Pamela Voorhees, is
trying to be like Michael Myers too much. Jason on the other hand, was more original. Hockey mask and machete, I'm in.
But the series went downhill from these. But from my POV, this series was never great.

The last problem I had with the film was how long it took
to pick up. The opening scene was spooky but that was just
maybe only the best part.

Lame movie that should only be recognized for being so cliched and dull.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2011
Ah the first of the Jason slasher series.

Grade: D
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2007
A group of young students arrive at Camp Crystal Lake and are picked off one by one by an unseen killer. The original Friday The 13th was an unashamed cash in on the success of Halloween and it's odd how the franchises became a kind of arms race of idiocy as each sequel became more and more absurd and outlandish as they tried to outdo each other. Neither killer from the original films were supernatural or indestructible as their sequels suggested, each really just very human, homicidal nutjobs. But whereas Halloween had John Carpenter's directorial skill and Donald Pleasance's character to add an interesting dynamic to the equation, Friday The 13th is just an excuse to get some obnoxious teens into various states of undress while a cameraman lurks behind trees/by windows etc etc. The dialogue is extremely trite, there is no characterisation and the killer is not even mentioned til the end when we are "rewarded" with a feeble rip off of Psycho's Norman Bates. The entire production is just plain amateurish, particularly the performances and even Kevin Bacon who became one of the best actors of his generation is going to struggle when he has lines like "A storm's gonna show. It's gonna tear down this valley like a son of a gun." to deliver. Somehow it's achieved cult classic status, but this film is really nothing more than an amateurishly executed, piss weak serial killer movie that seems overlong and repetitive even at 90 minutes.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2007
the first few were pretty decent, avoid the last 316 of them
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
Considered a classic slasher film by all, and the first slasher film by most, but that would not be a true statement, for this movie is not the first slasher/serial killer movie, there were many before it. The most interesting thing about this movie, I think is that it combined the slasher flick with the camp flick, and used a story that would be considered an urban legend. The movie has some very good suspense (even more so if you haven't heard who the killer is by now). I enjoyed it, but the countless sequels that copy it over and over ruin this movie's power to scare.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
Simply one of the best horror movies ever made and it continues to be as good as it was upon its release. Even with advances in the genre, this remains to be one of the most well done and effective slashers because it is a lot more than just killing and blood. The visuals, score and writing are what keep this entertaining and worthwhile. I really liked that not any of the kids were particularly all that good and essentially deserve their comeuppances, but that's what makes the horror more realistic. The first person scenes are still so cool and make for truly creepy and suspenseful sequences. While Mama Voorhees doesn't have anything on her darling son, she still is incredibly psychotic and effective as a serial killer. The camp setting is one of the best places to put a horror premise, it just does wonders.
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2010
Friday the 13th, has that 80's horror feel that everyone has come to know and love, but here it seems a bit overdone. It has very average and sometimes laughable acting along with a cliche ridden script and death after death. This is normally what horror films shouldn't do. However, if I were to choose the film horror film with every death being cool but laughable, bad acting and stupid campy dialogue, this one would win for sure. It has a lot of plot holes, and it definitely does not rank in the top of the horror genre. Still it was a really fun ride!
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2009
"You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday..."

Camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to re-open a summer camp that was the site of a child's drowning.

Unlike "A Nigthmare on Elm Street" and "Halloween" this movie has never truly been considered a brilliant movie within its genre but yet it's up there with these two movies as the most genre defining and classic movies.

It's of course not that "Friday the 13th" is a bad movie, it's just also one that is being quite standard and formulaic with as a difference that the execution of it all is done just a bit better and more effective than other genre attempts from the same period. In that regard it's certainly true that "Friday the 13th" was a genre defining movie, that set the new standards for later movies.

The movie has everything in it that you can expect from a genre movie. Basically all the movie is about a bunch of youngster being killed off one by one at an abandoned campsite. Out of all the genre movies featuring a similar type of concept, this movie really doesn't have the best story but it does have one of the best approaches. It's being kept a good secret who is the killer for a long time and also what his/her motivations are exactly. It makes the movie eerie and suspenseful and also the twists in the story work out nicely for the movie because it isn't really what you would normally expect.

It does have a couple of great moments in it and also the ending is quite memorable. Guess the movie could had been a bit more bloody and gorier but that is not what the movie is trying to achieve. It tries to shock the viewer more with its moments, rather than lots of blood and brutal killings.

A good genre defining movie from the early '80's.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2010
4 stars
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