THE BURNING is a surprisingly effective slasher film. Considered a rip-off of FRIDAY THE 13th when it was released, the film was actually written before it and is much better in numerous ways.
The plot is standard horror cliché: Counselors and campers at a sleep-away camp are terrorized by a psychotic maniac who years before was disfigured during a practical joke gone horribly wrong.
What makes THE BURNING above average is that it takes its time to actually develop the main characters and at times it feels like you’re watching a coming-of-age film as opposed to a brutal horror film. So when they are dispatched…well…you kind of feel bad for them.
Produced by Miramax, it’s their first film as a production company and it demonstrates their ability to craft a quality film and get the best bang for their buck.
THE BURNING is also known for its shockingly bloody make-up FX, created by Tom Savini who passed on doing FRIDAY TH 13TH – PART 2 to do it. He has upped his game, building off the techniques he learned on the previous film and delivering much more gruesome ways of taking out the unsuspecting lambs to the slaughter.
The film is also notable because there are a number of actors who went on to decent careers including Jason Alexander (with hair), Brian Becker (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), Fisher Stevens (SHORT CIRCUIT) and a young Holly Hunter.
If you are a fan of the slasher genre then THE BURNING is a must see. It’s not only one of the originators; it’s one of the best.