Friday the 13th Part 2 Review

Friday the 13th Part 2 is a 1981 slasher film directed by Steve Miner, starring Amy Steel, John Furey, and Adrienne King. The film serves as the second installment in the Friday the 13th film series and picks up five years after the previous film where a new murderer stalks and murders camp counselors at a nearby training camp in Crystal Lake.


Positives:

  • Great score
  • Good use of special effects
  • Good suspense

Negatives:

  • Lackluster characters
  • Lackluster story
  • Lackluster performances
  • Too many jumpscares
  • Lackluster editing
  • Poor direction
  • Terrible ending

Plot: Set five years after Friday the 13th, a group of camp counselors take up residency at a nearby training camp in Crystal Lake.  While in training the group begin slowly being stalked and killed by a new murderer, Jason Voorhees. The story is more fine tuned but Alice’s death in the introduction of the film is literal waste of time and shouldn’t have been put in the film. Again the film suffers from a lack of depth to keep audiences engaged with storytelling rather than the actual killings. What stories do the characters actually have that have brought them to the camp?  None of this is ever really explained or explored.  Also, what is Jason’s story?  What has he been doing all this time? Terrible ending with no explanation as to what the hell happened. (1 out of 5)

Characters: The characters honestly are a bit of a mixed bag.  Sure, in the previous film the characters were likable but few of them actually stood out. And unfortunately, the same can be said for the campers this time around.  Also, there is little to the characters. The cast consist of couple Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober), troublemaker Scott (Russell Todd), slutty looking Terry (Kirsten Baker), wheelchair-bound Mark (Tom McBride), sweet-natured Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor), jokester Ted (Stu Charno), camp counselor Paul Holt (John Furey) and his assistant Ginny (Amy Steel). however, aren’t many actually interesting things to them. We could go with the premise that Ginny is the heroine of the movie.  However, she’s just thrust into the role as she’s trying to survive Jason’s attack. The Jason (Steve Daskawisz) character was definitely menacing and at least feels better positioned in the role than Pamela Voorhees.  (1 out of 5)

Cast:  The casting and performances are decent, consisting of Amy Steel (Ginny), John Furey (Paul), Steve Daskawisz (Jason), Stu Charno (Ted), Lauren-Marie Taylor (Vickie), Marta Kober (Sandra), Tom McBride (Mark), Bill Randolph (Jeff), Kirsten Baker (Terry), Russell Todd (Scott). Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer do make small cameos. (3 out of 5)

Visuals: Great use of special effects. The kill sequences look good, not overly gory, but the editing and scene cuts give the scenes as much impact as jumpscares.  Person is attacked, person gets stabbed, cut to next scene.  This takes away from the suspense that led up to the kill as the intensity of the moment is lost as it is cut away to another scene.  Like the scene with Jeff and Sandra having sex.  The two are having sex, Sandra sees Jason, Jason spears the two, then cut.  No showing the two suffer or struggle, just cut the scene off right there. Jason’s facial prosthetic looks alright and the sack does make the character feel more menacing.  (3 out of 5)

Score: Good score that sets the tension filled atmosphere. Thumbs up to Harry Manfredini.  There are moments where the music should be a little more diverse and less used on the small jumpscares.  (3 out of 5)

Writing:  The writing is just all over the place.  First of all, let’s address the jumpscares.  There are way too many jumpscares that feel unnecessary.  There are no reason for jumpscares in the beginning of the movie.  Poor execution of recapping the ending of the first film, using a dream sequence with over exaggerated nightmare and too much footage of the first film.  Also, what the hell is up with the characters?  They are so shallow with little to no depth. Even the dialogue is poorly written.  All the characters seem to talk about is the Crystal Lake mythos.  They don’t talk about school, their families, their goals or motivations; they talk about nothing of the outside world.  And lastly, the film does this thing where Jason is killing people and nobody knows what’s happening until the last two people.  There’s no reason for this.  If they’re going to make the movie a suspenseful slasher.  Have the group struggle to survive against a mortal menace.  An example of this is the teens come across the first victim, they try to call for help, the line is cut. Great.  They try to leave, the vehicles have been sabotaged.  Great.  Some leave on foot, some stay.  Those who leave are hunted down one-by-one.  Great.  But to have the killer picking people off and no one knows is just plain lame. Director Steve Miner makes the film feel a little more grounded, however, the film is sorely lacking in a lot of areas because it misses the one thing the first film missed.  And that’s depth.  Hell, the story was established that Jason drowned years before and that’s why Pamela Voorhees was killing people.  Why is he here now? Shouldn’t he be dead?  (1 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Friday the 13th Part 2 is a decent film but not much better than its predecessor.  Sure the music is great and the special effects are good, but the movie is weighed down by a whole host of problems.  The performances are pretty lacking, the characters flat, the story flat, the direction poor, too many useless jumpscares, and terrible dialogue.  Friday the 13th Part 2 gets 2 out of 5.

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