Blu-ray Review: Friday the 13th [40th Anniversary Limited Edition] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, September 26th, 2020  

Friday the 13th [40th Anniversary Limited Edition]

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

Aug 06, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

If Friday the 13th feels a little quaint while viewing it upon its 40th anniversary, that’s because it created or codified so many tropes of the slasher genre. But – if you’re fortunate enough to go into it blind, watching the movie for the first time – it still has the power to shock and surprise as well as any of the stalky-stabby flicks to follow in its wake.

Set around the picturesque, New Jersey campground at Crystal Lake, Friday the 13th follows a group of attractive teens as they prepare the facility for the campers’ arrival and are subsequently liquidated by a mysterious, knife-wielding killer. This isn’t the first time bad things have happened at Crystal Lake – which has earned the nickname “Camp Blood” from the townies – and it certainly wasn’t the last time, considering how many sequels were made. Without giving spoilers, however, the original Friday the 13th is a decidedly different beast from the far-fetched premises the franchise would come to feature.

This 95-minute “uncut” edition looks stellar on Blu-ray, bringing out details – from the names of books on cabin shelves to the text in ads hanging in the town diner – you’d easily have missed in VHS viewings or the comparatively murky DVD releases. Better yet, Tom Savini’s superior effects work holds up under the added scrutiny of high definition, which is something that can’t be said of all low-budget horror films of the era. If anything, Friday the 13th looks more gruesome in HD.

The handsome steelbook edition also comes with many bonus features, mostly re-used from old editions, but nonetheless enlightening. Director Sean S. Cunnigham is very candid about the making of his film, and certainly not shy about explaining that he’d set out to make a Halloween rip-off, and was surprised to see it blow up into such a huge hit and a horror cottage industry all its own. In retrospect, it’s not that big a surprise at all: Friday the 13th is one of the best-executed entries in a slasher genre than would become flooded over the next decade. If you were looking for movies that best represent the American slasher experience, Friday the 13th easily belongs in the top five.


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