Friday the 13th (1980)

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Friday the 13th (1980) Movie Poster Image
Beware of this infamous, sadistic slasher film.
  • R
  • 1980
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 39 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 119 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positve messages. Even in their rudimentary characters, the sex- and prank- and drug-oriented victims rarely come across as likeable before they're killed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real positive role models. In what is typical for the genre, the nicest and most demure one gets to be the sole survivor.


Throat-slashing, impalings a specialty for the mad slasher. One vicious fight to the death between two women ends in a beheading. A live snake is chopped in half -- and it doesn't appear to be fake.


Young people have sex regularly (usually a precedent to murder). Some female nudity, but mostly bikinis, bras, and panties. The characters play "strip Monopoly."


Some profanity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The young victims frequently smoke (or talk about smoking) marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's lots of morbid, graphic bloodshed in this film; usually slashed throats and impalings, with the victims hung on hooks. When young camp counselors aren't busy being killed, they're either trying to get stoned or having sex.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byyetijones February 20, 2009

Common Sense Media, You Make a Mockery of Professional Reviews

This is a classic film, put in theaters in the 1980's; this is what horror film was all about back in the day! And now your website makes a mockery of some... Continue reading
Adult Written bygrande July 25, 2015

A classic

I'm a 12 year old kid who loves horror movies and it just annoys me seeing parents like, "Oh way to scary", shut up okay. This movie is a total c... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byFinch doe188 October 26, 2016

First horror not even

It's not that scary I first saw this when I was 10 and it didn't scare me at all it was my first horror movie but not as good as part 3 but it had som... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCoolpool785 August 7, 2017

OK slasher film acually isn't that violent

Friday the 13th is actually not as violent as I thought it would be, but is still very bloody. A teen is stabbed in the stomach (impalement not shown, but a blo... Continue reading

What's the story?

A 1958 prologue (it looks like 1978) shows two young summer-camp counselors about to have sex when a mystery assailant -- apparently someone they know -- slashes them to death. The camp, now known to locals as "Camp Blood," is closed for 20 years as a result, but is now re-opening, on a dark-and-stormy Friday the 13th. Another group of young, largely sex-minded counselors are gathering for orientation (it's a small mercy that despite the summer-camp setting, children are not present in most Jason movies). Sure enough, an unseen attacker again begins knifing them to death, one by one. Since these youths are prone to playing practical jokes on one another, or sneaking off for sex and drugs, they take little note of their cohorts' strange absences until nearly all of them are dead.

Is it any good?

Unless you award points for the creative, gross-out makeup (by cult-hero special-effects artist Tom Savini), FRIDAY THE 13TH is a sick film with virtually no redeeming qualities. Even in the metaphor-stretched world of horror where intellectuals argue that flesh-eating zombies are really symbols of mindless consumerism; nobody defends Friday the 13th that way. Yet this movie series is infamous -- practically every kid knows about it. Hockey-masked "Jason" costumes are popular, and sequels continue to be produced. Too bad the first movie is, well, too bad.

Unlike other popular films in the genre, Friday the 13th hardly works as a whodunit because the Camp Blood murderer is nobody we've met or really know anything about. That just leaves the movie as one killing after another, with abundant, er, dead space in between. The doomed camp counselors go swimming, play "strip Monopoly," and chat unremarkably.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the victims of choice in typical slasher movies. Why does the marauder often prey on the most sexually active characters first? Families might make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so to speak, by talking about this theme -- that teenage sex deserves harsh punishment. Maybe not death, but if you need to drive home the point, why not add some slasher examples for effect? On a more serious side, critics often see such horror movies as the extremes of depravity and exploitation. But isn't that a paradox when they also follow such a harsh, Puritan morality code?

Movie details

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