James’s review published on Letterboxd:
Unfortunately released into the already saturated slasher market of the early eighties, The Burning has since fallen into obscurity whilst contemporaries like Friday the 13th have become a household name, spawning increasingly ridiculous sequels whether fans want them or not.
As far as genre conventions go this hits all the expected beats and follows a very formulaic route but benefits from surprisingly well written and likeable characters, a searing synth score by Rick Wakeman and the creative genius of Tom Savini in the make-up/stunt department who crafts some shocking and quite convincing brutality out of a very low budget and clever editing. Director Tony Maylam has gone on to do little of note since but does a perfectly adequate job in regards to building suspense with particular POV and overhead shots.
It takes its time introducing us to the kids at summer-camp, all the stock characters you expect are there e.g. the nerd, the bully, the handsome leader and the clown, which may bore those hoping for more blood-spatter but by making them as amiable as possible it makes the murders all the more horrific. Unremarkable, cheesy and quite dated but a potential hidden gem for slasher fans looking for something less brainless.