Melissa is one of several young people staying at Camp Crystal Lake one summer, including protagonist Tina Shepard. Unlike the others who have come for R&R, Tina is there seeking psychiatric help from a doctor, do to her mysterious telekinetic abilities which cost the life of her father when she was young. Melissa sticks to making snide remarks about Tina in the beginning. However, when a boy who she's been after, Nick, starts taking a shine to the heroine, Melissa starts opting for crueler humiliations, such as encouraging a friend, Eddie, to appear as if he's in a straight-jacket and laughingly asking Tina "Is this how they wear their jackets back at the mental hospital?"Melissa spends much of the movie trying to make Nick jealous so that he'll come after her, and remains completely oblivious to all of the brutal murders that are occurring around the camp. She does this by seducing Eddie, who actually has a crush on her and whose nerdy pursuits have given him little luck with the ladies. When this tactic fails to work, however, she coldly reveals that she was only using him for revenge, and then dumps him.
When Nick and Tina try to warn Melissa (the three of them now the only survivors left) about Jason, it falls on deaf ears. Melissa says that the two of them give her the creeps, curses them both, and then storms out of the cabin. At the doorway, however, she comes face to face with the undead killer, who then drives an axe into her skull and tosses her across the room.