When Kevin Bacon Can’t Make it Through His Fourth Film We Are All In Trouble
It’s half way to Halloween and I’m not sure if the idea of taking candy from strangers, or getting breathed on by a stranger is more dangerous. What I do know is that on Shudder right now, all the Friday the 13th movies are available. I thought now might be as good a time as any to see if they are worth a re-watch.
I remember liking this series a lot as a kid. I used to go over to my friends houses and have sleep overs where we would watch whatever the latest one was and then shiver under the blankets for the rest of the night. Now that I am a grown Slick Dungeon, I thought it would be fun to see if it has the same sense of fun that it used to. I am guessing not, or not entirely but there are a lot of these so I just started with the first one.
This is a film that has been made, re-made, rebooted, sequel-ed, re-imagined, and outright stolen from and copycatted more times than maybe anything else in horror. When you think about how often this has been done and re-done, you start to think that maybe there is a good reason for that. I’m here to argue that there is.
While I suspect this one is the best of the series, that doesn’t mean it’s the best ever movie, I just think it did what it set out to do. For those of you who have never sat through a Friday the 13th film, and know nothing about the horror genre and have somehow been divorced from pop culture since 1980, fair warning: spoilers follow.
This starts out in Camp Crystal Lake, an idyllic yet remote campground in 1958. A couple of camp counselors go off to ahem.. get to know each other better. While they are in the middle of that, the camera shifts to a first person point of view shot and seconds later one of the camp counselors is drenched in blood, knife sticking out of him, without us knowing why this is happening. The next shot is basically the whole point of the film and eventually the series. The female counselor screams into the camera and it freezes on her frame. I know that everyone says the hockey mask is the icon of this film series, but in this movie at least, I say it’s that shot. The whole point of the film is to have the audience screaming and reacting just like her. I also think the film makers played it smart by not giving us a clue in the beginning as to why there is a killer. The use of the first person camera angle is smart because it’s a really easy way to hide the monster. This is not the first movie to use those ideas but it did put those elements together well in this case.
We next get the warning scene that you see in nearly one hundred percent of horror films. A new camp counselor is just outside of Crystal Lake Campground basically at the town where it’s the point of no return. If you go up to Crystal Lake, you are likely not coming back. In the little diner there, the counselor asks for directions and the old, “crazy guy” in town tells everyone they should stay away from that place. Note to self: when I retire, make sure to find jobs in horror films being the old crazy guy who warns everyone they should stay away from that place.
The reaction of the townsfolk to the warning is what you would expect. This dude is kinda nuts. But on the other hand, bad stuff has happened at this camp over the years so maybe you should stay away. No one ever seems to ask for more information in these cases which would save a lot of lives. Note to self: if you are ever warned away from someplace, just collect my stuff and leave.
We spend virtually no time getting to know any characters and there is absolutely zero character growth or change in this film so it doesn’t matter too much to us who gets picked off and killed or why. But there are enough moments of surprise and shock to keep you interested to find out what happens. The night progresses and everyone is essentially picked off one by one, with the exception of Alice who finds out who the killer is, why the killer does what they do, survives the surprise end and will be the only one who really knows what actually happened that night.
There were a few things that I wondered throughout this though.
- In the beginning, the killer is smart and just picks off the counselors one by one and hides the bodies in ways that you might not find them. Why does that change two thirds into the film?
- This film is the first in the series so it’s nice to see that they can be stopped with normal human methods, not like supernatural powers or whatever.
- I swear if all small towns were like the ones in horror movies, no local police should ever be allowed to be police because they never do their jobs.
- How has this killer roamed free since 1958 up to 1980? I mean the police never even say like, that person was never caught or anything here so what are the cops doing?
- Don’t hitch hike but if you do, when the guy says you should quit and leave, quit and leave.
- Fair warning I am going to give the killer away in the next bullet so if you don’t want to know don’t read further.
- I mean it, I am going to say who it is.
- Seriously, you have been warned.
- Mrs. Voorhees comes out of nowhere to go after Alice but she goes on this long speech about how her kid died in the lake and that she is killing everyone because of that. Why does she only share with Alice? Or better question, why wouldn’t she just keep her mouth shut and off Alice the way she did everyone else, as a surprise that they probably couldn’t get away from?
- Also, if you are in a Scream movie you better know that it was Pamela Voorhees not Jason Voorhees killing everyone. Jason only gets to be a voice in the distance and in her head and then some kind of zombie-ish thing to scare Alice at the end.
- Kevin Bacon is in this? Checks notes. Yes, that’s Kevin Bacon.
- Isn’t Kevin Bacon the great hero who got the sticks out of everyone’s butts according to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2?
- Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who warned us about Six Degrees of Separation way before a pandemic happened?
- Okay to be fair that was Will Smith, but about Kevin Bacon.
- Isn’t Kevin Bacon the guy who was in Flatliners, Tremors, Footloose and Apollo 13?
- Kevin Bacon can survive anything right? Including, giant worms, dancing, being adrift in space and being talked about by Will Smith.
- Come on Kevin Bacon, make it through this movie.
- Is that Kevin Bacon with an arrow through his throat?
- Oh man, Kevin Bacon, say it ain’t so!
- Yeah Kevin Bacon died in this.
- I am calling it now, after this one, this series is dead because they killed Kevin Bacon!
- Don’t mess with the Kevin Bacon okay?
- Sorry did I just go off on a Kevin Bacon tangent?
- Can you blame me though?
- Anyway this ends up with the obligatory no one believes the survivor scene. If there was one type of scene I would get rid of in all Hollywood films, it’s this one. Why wouldn’t people believe Alice? She is the only one to survive a huge massacre so like, maybe she knows what she is talking about?
For this one, I definitely think this is worth a re-watch. I will let you know what I think of the others as I continue with the series. I know they can’t be as good because it won’t have Kevin Bacon. But then again maybe they will be better because they can’t kill Kevin Bacon?
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