FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 15, 2005

Part 1: The Boy in the Lake
You know what? This movie still holds up. Before Friday the 13th became a hydra of a franchise, before Jason was an unstoppable killing machine, Sean Cunningham and company put out a scary little slasher movie that gets under my skin- even today, over a cup of coffee.

All the little touches add up to keep this one at the top of the heap: the fantastic use of slow-motion at both the beginning and end, the fade to white after a kill, Harry Manfredini's score- a jarring, grating rip-off of Bernard Herrmann's work in was all fresh way back in 1980. While it certainly followed in the footsteps of Halloween, F13 hadn't yet devolved into 90 minutes of cliches and stereotypes. There's some character development, and you kinda sorta care about the counsellors- the acting is also decent, and that helps. Despite the high body count- 10- the film's pace is fairly slow, so it's not just a mind-numbing kill-kill-kill. There's something about this one that has always scared me more than almost any other slasher- the grittiness of it, the pounding rain, the fleeting glimpses of the killer, the haunting child's voice that lures Brenda to her death with cries of "Help me!"...there's alot of atmosphere here, believe it or not. And even when we know who the killer is the frights don't let up, because Betsy Palmer is just so damn good- when she talks to herself in the voice of her dead son Jason, it still gives me the chills. And then there's Jason himself, all crusty looking, popping out of the lake at the end: it's preposterous, silly, and horrifying. Was it just Alice's dream, or was there a boy in the lake? I'll find out when I turn on Part 2! I'm guessing that it wasn't just Alice's imagination, though- I've still got 10 movies to get through.


eillio said...

i watched this movie when i was ten and home alone. i was scared. also, we lived on a dirt road right next to a creek. we were the only people who resided in a house on that road. i kept on checking the back door every few minutes. that was a good time

Anonymous said...

I love Alice :].

Anonymous said...

I love Bill :].

timothy grant said...

Definitely the best of the bunch. So much style. Lots of use of people alone in the dark woods. Creepy buildup. And since nobody knows about the killings until they are a the end of Mrs. Voorhees' blade ... the whole splitting up thing makes sense ... it doesn't bug.

I do wish Mrs. V had made an appearance earlier so she isn't such a Diablo ex machina ... but why quibble with small details.