Friday the 13th ★★★★½

Hadn't seen this since 2011, but had the dvd on my shelf, acquired from Jared a couple years ago I'm sure; felt this day like it was time for a revisit.

Back in 2011, when I was still on the slightly new side to slasher films (fully an adult by then, I just came to the genre late), I found the acting and dialogue unbelievably stilted and false but concluded "at least it has a coherent plot" and found that it struck a tone that was unself-serious enough to enjoy by laughing at it.

This time, with a little more fluency with slasher films under my belt, I was not at all struck by it being "bad" and in fact was kind of surprised to see my past self saying so when I looked back on my notes from almost a decade ago. Maybe it's that I've seen a lot more of its genre and my bar has been adjusted to recognize that this one is actually closer to the top of its class, and that it's working in/establishing some conventions that are actually separate from what I was imposing as the standards of Quality Filmmaking at the time. For example I definitely think these kids are better actors than anyone in any Carpenter Halloween movie I've seen (only exception JLC). I guess maybe I've gotten better at taking movies on their own terms in the intervening decade, rather than imposing my rigid one-size-fits-all terms on them – to such an extent that I can't even see this with that lens I was using in 2011 anymore. An uncanny reminder that the movie didn't change, but I did.

[slight barely not really spoilers in this paragraph]
This is the only Friday the 13th movie I've seen, still (and Part 2 isn't available streaming anywhere so I stopped here this time as well), so I can only assume it goes more in this direction in later iterations of the franchise, but I thought it was interesting to note that this movie never even sets Jason up to be the killer - there is no implication anywhere along the line that it was him, just the misdirect that it was probably SOME man. Except in a looser [spoiler] sense, Jason is not the killer in this movie, even though Jason is famously the killer of the Friday the 13th movies! (I'm pretty interested to see how that builds in later sequels...someday!)

My dvd didn't have any special features (except a theatrical trailer which explicitly shows every one of the deaths of this movie??), from which I'd conclude maybe this isn't a dvd worth owning, except that this film also is not available streaming anywhere, so if I want to be sure I can watch it again in the future I better continue to hang on to it! Physical media forever, baby!

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