Friday the 13th – Part 2 (1981)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A bit better.

As you have probably seen, I recently reviewed the first installment in the Friday the 13th franchise. I didn’t like it, and there was a lot of reasons as to why…primarily, I didn’t see the hype of the series. Well, I don’t give up so easily. Something had to be so special and unique about it to warrant a place in the top three most memorable horror franchises in history. So now we venture off to Friday the 13th – Part 2, in which we are finally really introduced to series’ villain…Mr. Jason Voorhees.

Camp Crystal Lake has been shut down now for five years, but there is a neighboring camp where camp counselors-to-be are busy learning the tricks and the trades to being a good counselor for kids interested in camping. Well, while we’re here, there is talks…of a scary man by the name of Jason who murders anyone who dares trespass on his land…which is of course, the woods next to Crystal Lake. Low and behold, Jason is more than legend, and he does begin to stalk and prey on these innocent teens…even the poor guy in the wheelchair doesn’t have such a fortunate end.

I was definitely more invested this time around, and I’ll tell you why. First and foremost, Jason is in the game, thank god. He’s not quite at hockey-mask level, but that’s okay, that’s not what makes him Jason. Next, and this one struck me right away, the legend of Jason was told as a scary camp story. Smart move; classic move. We’ve all been to camp, well a lot of us have, and even if we haven’t, we know how campfire stories go. They did a great job with it here. Finally, the last reason why I like this film better is because they used fakeout moments. In regards to horror films, fakeout moments are a tremendous tool to heighten the level of suspense. All around, this film was made and written better and more memorable.

I have to say though, the clichés that are made fun of in The Cabin in the Woods were spot on. A lot of other films meet this quota, but Friday the 13th – Part 2 was almost following the same structure scene by scene. The same old crazy man that forewarns them of the impending doom, the cabin in the woods, the nudity, the dumb blond, the jock, the innocent, and the whore…it’s all there. Clichés aren’t a deal breaker though. In the right circumstance, clichés can be done very well. For the most part, I would definitely say they were on par for this film. There were a few things I made fun of for the time period, like the girl saying “Terry, you turkey”…and it was supposed to be taken seriously?

About Jason, I am very glad that he has finally showed up. His character and legend are now in the back of our minds. He is memorable, and his attempt to hide his face is a trait you can remember as well. What you won’t remember is…what he looks like…yet. Even I know the whole hockey mask thing…but that hasn’t surfaced yet. I was wishing Jason would actually dawn the mask when one of the couples started talking about hockey at one point. “The one with the puck”, she said.

Anyways, Friday the 13th – Part 2 was a pretty big step up from the original in my eyes. I have a growing suspicion that the rest of the series, Jason won’t really have a reason for killing anyone. He only had reason once in this film, and that was the first kill of the film. So this ventures into the territory of crazy redneck killings for no apparent reason – as seen in The Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn, maybe even The Blair Witch Project. I personally have never liked that concept, I’ve usually just seen that as an excuse to make a gory flick. Well anyways, there is quite a few movies left in this series. I guess the next review will be up soon.

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