Title: Friday the 13th Part 2
Director: Steve Miner
Writer: Ron Kurz
Release Date: May 1, 1981
Cast: Amy Steel, John Furey, One degree of Kevin Bacon (Adrienne King)
Friday the 13th Part 2 Cliff’s Notes
Five years after the first film, more counselors try to open the same camp. Unsurprisingly, things go downhill. Ch-ch-ch Ah-ah-ah happens to about the same effect.
I really imagine that the suits at Paramount got together right after Friday the 13th came out. I think the meeting went something like this:
Exec 1: We’re making all of the money. Literally all of it. This is perfect.
Exec 2: Only problem: it’s going to end.
Exec 3: It doesn’t have to. First one was cheap, let’s just do it again.
Exec 1: Shouldn’t we change something?
Exec 2: No.
Exec 3: Yeah, we should. What was that kid’s name? Joe? No… Jake. It was Jake. He should be the bad guy.
Exec 1: Wasn’t he like ten in the first one?
Exec 3: No one will notice. Jake’s the killer.
It’s a fantastic case of déjà vu all over again. Friday the 13th Part 2‘s plot points fall in roughly the same order, the final girl is easily identified, and that roller coaster structure is in full swing. There are a few changes – the gore is amped up and final girl, Ginny’s, background is put to good use (a trend that doesn’t get used again until Part 7) – but for the most part, we’re playing the same game again. It’s a good game, but still…
The cast here is A-OK. There’s no one that falls apart, but standouts are few and far between. The highlight is Amy Steel, who gives her Ginny a grounded base and really steps up in the final act. It’s also nice to see King again, though the script’s treatment of the character is a little less than desired.
Miner does his best Cunningham impersonation. The wheel isn’t getting re-invented and much of this seems done before. Unfortunately, the atmosphere that dominates the first is missing here. Still, his kills are well devised and executed. So we’re a little hit or miss.
There’s little original here. It’s just a copy of the first with different characters and a new killer. The only real standout is crafting a few characters whose attributes actually affect the outcome of their struggle and story. So that’s nice! I do have to complain about the first five minutes. Should have left well enough alone.
The F13 series has always been strong on gore and Part 2 is no exception. Impalings, heads, even a few nice make-up effects. All of the bases are covered!
The script utilizes the talents of a character to help her overcome the villain. Holy moley, that happens in non-slasher flicks as well! We’re making active choices! Someone is paying attention!
Jason goes from drowned kid to massive tight end in five years. Really? I can hear the coaster straining under the weight of that one.
Friday the 13th-iness
Getting closer. We’re seeing the killer, so that’s nice. Alas, we’re still not hanging out with good old Hockey Mask Face. At least we’re moving in the right direction.
Sure, it’s a rip off – of a movie that is more rip-off than not – but it doesn’t mean at Part 2 isn’t fun. Fact of the matter is the characters and kills make up for the film’s shortcomings pretty well. Not the best, and not the original, but not bad.