Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
US dir. (Steve Miner)
Cast: Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Betsy Palmer, Bill Randolph, John Furey, Kirsten Baker, Marta Kober, Russell Todd, Stuart Charno, Walt Gorney
Synopsis: Five years after the horrible bloodbath at Camp Crystal Lake, it seems Jason Voorhees and his demented mother are in the past. Paul opens up a new camp close to the infamous site, ignoring warnings to stay away, and a sexually-charged group of counselors follow — including child psychologist major Ginny. But Jason has been hiding out all this time, and now he’s ready for revenge.
Review: The sequel to the infamous “Friday the 13th” is by no means a fantastic one. Its notoriety descends primarily from the fact that it would be the first film in the series to feature Jason Voorhees, although not in the physical manifestation of Jason (i.e. hockey mask and machete) that he would become recognized as. The film manages to stick to one of the two tried and true formulas for a Jason/Friday the 13th movie: a group of camp counselors attempt to revive the notorious “Camp Blood” (the scene of a series of brutal killings years before at the hands of Jason’s deranged and vengeful mother) and end up as potential victims for Jason. There’s nothing terribly fantastic about this movie, but I certainly wouldn’t just dismiss it as a gateway movie that bridges the gap between Pamela Voorhees as a killer and Jason Voorhees as the next killer.
What starts off as a humble attempt to reboot the campgrounds and summer fun around Crystal Lake ends in a pretty heavy bloodbath. Luckily not every counselor is brutally killed, but the few that get it… get it bad. Rather than going for the all-out humorous approach, this movie attempts for a blend of mild humour and some heavy handed seriousness that wasn’t ever really seen again in the franchise. They go so far as to incorporate the appearance of one character, Ginny, who happens to be a child psychology major (this turns out to be convenient when confronting the grown up Jason Voorhees who is stuck with a child’s state of mind). Awkwardly, there is also the appearance of a physically challenged camp counselor (he is in a wheelchair). I say “awkwardly” not to be mean, but when you have an entire scene devoted to Jason whacking a guy in a wheelchair with a machete and then pushing him (and the chair) down an endless flight of stairs, there’s a chance you will either laugh out loud or awkwardly stifle it.
There isn’t really too much to be said about this movie. What I dislike the most about this movie is the end chase scene. It is so boring, so long and so pointless I fall asleep during it every time. This is one of the first endings where a final girl outsmarts Jason rather than using some physical means of overcoming him or relying on a male figure to help handle the situation. While that is good and all, it’s still pretty boring. Plus it doesn’t even fully work, so whatever. It’s worth noting that this whole “let’s use psychology on Jason” approach is stolen by used in the “Friday the 13th” remake. There’s also the addition of a fairly bizarre ending sequence that is allegedly supposed to be a dream sequence. Anyone familiar with the “Friday the 13th” franchise is aware of how many of the movies end with a dream sequence of some sort. This one is particularly weird, a puppy (Muffin) that was lost sometime earlier in the movie makes a startling reappearance (we were led to believe Jason killed hm) and then suddenly Jason plows through a window and kills the final girl’s boyfriend (Paul) who we have all pretty much already assumed is dead. Confusing.
All I can say about “Friday the 13th Part 2” is, hey, it’s Jason in beta format perfecting the art of the kill. If you’re looking for the sexcapades and hilarity of the mid-80s “Friday the 13th” movies, you should see Part 3 and beyond.