A disgusting, artless shocker...A cruel film that offers teen-age girls in peril, as well as a gruesome beheading. Only for sickies. [11 July 1980, p.8]
As the bodies pile up amongst this testy crowd of horny teens, there remains a vacant hole were someone scary should be. In a strange way, this film stands unique amongst all slasher films as one where the killer is nearly intangible.
Friday the 13th is neither tense nor frightening (although, to be fair, it is at times creepy and atmospheric, due in part to budgetary limitations that led to a low-key style).