I don’t have too much to say about this one either. I like Tobe Hooper, and this is definitely the film that put him in the spotlight, but it’s also definitely not his best film.
It’s paced weirdly — there are several parts that drag on throughout the middle, and the ending feels rushed and hectic in comparison. The acting is variable — at times I really believe those kids are terrified, and other times it might just be that they’re stoned (not that unlikely at the time, I suppose).
It’s a scary story and the antagonists are definitely scary, but as a film it doesn’t grip you with fear or build up the tension until you’re about ready to fall off the edge of your seat. And I really like that in a film.
That said, this is pretty watchable the whole way through if you’re into some old-fashioned slasher film fun. And tomorrow’s remake has Jessica Biel! So we’ll see how that one turns out.