Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Friday the 13th Part 2 – Review

Friday the 13th Part 2 – Review

May 3, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Steve Miner, 1981
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Steve Miner has the honor of being one of the few directors who I consider to have created a memorable and important remake with his 2008 Day of the Dead film.  Unfortunately, he also has Halloween H20 on his resume.  Thankfully, he rebounded strong after the debacle of H20 with the classic Lake Placid.  So, for the most part, Miner is a name we can trust and it all started with a sequel to one of the most influential horror films of all time, Friday the 13th.  This review is an ongoing set as I attempt to review the entire series.

Friday the 13th Part 2 is actually a pretty creepy film.  Contra to the first movie, which provides a terrific performance by Betsy Palmer as the sadistic killer Mrs. Vorhees, the sequel gives us Jason doing his thing that will spark on “Jason mania” that lives to this day.  However, only true horror fans might know that Jason is missing a vital part of his “pop culture” fame – no hockey mask in part 2.  That comes later in the third entry.  Instead, we have simple brown bag tied over Jason’s head with one eye hole cut out – like I said, pretty creepy stuff.

The movie is about a program where soon-to-be-camp-counselors can attend and learn how to be even better counselors.  The location for the learning experience is a cabin just a little ways from the dreaded Camp Crystal Lake.  Although Paul (John Furey), who is the program coordinator, warns the attendees to stay away from “Camp Blood”, the warning just elicits a greater desire to go check it out.  Jason doesn’t really care where the teenagers are held up, he is just seriously ticked off after watching his mom get beheaded by Alice in the first film (consequently, Alice meets her end at the very beginning of the film).  So, in what is now classic horror style, the counselors start getting knocked off one by one.  Already by the second film we see the film makers attempting to become more and more creative with how the victims meet their demise.  This will ultimately lead to the franchise becoming a characature if itself, but it is still manageable in part 2.  We begin to notice that Ginny has a rather disturbing obsession with Jason, which we learn is prompted by her own study in child psychology.  Jason is actually now fully grown, but the film and the viewers assume, correctly, that he still has the mind of a child.  All of this comes into play when. . .

It finally comes down to just Jason and Alice.  By the end of the film, Alice has managed to stumble across Jason’s deteriorated living quarters where he has a whacked out shrine to his mom, complete with her severed head.  When it appears that all is lost for Alice, she turns on the child psychology, puts on his mother’s blood stained sweater (which is difficult to watch) and pretends to be Jason’ mom.  One of the more disturbing parts of this scene is that in order for Alice to get her hair just right, she gets about 2 inches from the severed head and studies how Jason’s mom wore her hair, trying to make herself look the same.  When it is all said and done, Paul saves the day, tragically (we assume) by giving up his life to save Alice.

This review, and the many to follow suit, simply comes down to this – – do you enjoy campy, cheesy slasher flicks where sexually minded teenagers are getting mutilated one by one?  If so, then this is a pretty good one.  If you are looking for a more intelligent, crafty, thought provoking film that might actually have something to say, then the rest of this series isn’t really for you.  Having said that, there is a reason why this series is so long running.  Jason is a fun, and at times scary, killer to be afraid of.  The setting of the films always lend themselves to a minimum of a good feel and a few decent scares.  And part 2 at least attempted to work off the concept of Jason being a helpless child trapped inside a raging, adult body.  At this point we do not see the “indestructible” Jason.  Again, that will come in part 3 in a very big way, where many of the cliched aspects of the series are poured in concrete.

So, I give this a positive review and certainly find myself enjoying the film every time it finds its way into my dvd player.  Haven’t seen it yet?  Give it a try.

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