Friday the 13th Part 2 picks up the narrative shortly after the end of the first film, and was actually released only a year later. Alice Hardy, the only survivor from the first film, is living at home and reliving all the gory details of her encounter with the Voorhees family from Camp Crystal Lake. The film uses Alice’s nightmares to catch the audience up on how the first film ended, which was actually pretty helpful. [SPOILER ALERT!] Alice may have survived Camp Crystal Lake, but she doesn’t survive much longer after that. Given that she’s responsible for beheading Jason’s mom, he’s not too happy with this, and breaks into her house and finishes her off. It’s a shame really, it always makes me sad to see horror heroines survive the worst and then meet their demise while making tea and talking to the cat.
The opening credits roll and the real story begins. Friday the 13th Part 2 features a crew of camp counselors who are staying at the neighboring camp to Camp Crystal Lake to participate in counselor training. True to form, the cast is quite diverse - blondes, brunettes, a kid in a wheelchair, one African-American, a dorky redhead. The film chronicles their “training” which amounts to nothing more than a couple of lectures and some jogging, but mostly focuses on their debauchery which includes a lot of sex, skinny dipping, drinking and sneaking over onto the grounds of Camp Crystal Lake. Everyone is aware of the legend of Jason, but ignores it. The film follows protocol and we watch as Jason murders one counselor after another, seeking his revenge and punishing them for their naughty deeds. There’s a big chase at the end, tons of violence and gore and that one final “gotcha” moment. All in all, the typical 80s horror.
An enjoyable film, part two didn’t blow my mind, but was a fun ride nonetheless. I thought the film was a bit slow in the beginning and a little weak for the first film actually featuring Jason. I expected a bit more out of him than was given, and I was not a fan of the white sack worn on his head that was eerily similar to a KKK hood. I’ve seen Jason do better, but I’ve also seen him do worse. This film had a lot of great elements, ones we expect to see in campy horror. There were several times throughout the movie that I jumped out of my seat and the blood and gore was just gross enough to keep me uncomfortable. Some memorable death sequences such as a machete to the face and my personal favorite, a spear piercing not one, but two bodies, just as the happy couple finishes having sex, were featured in this film and did not disappoint.
On the negative side, the film was a bit slow and the acting was worse than usual. Plus, a couple characters’ storylines simply trailed off, with no clear conclusion for the audience. I know, it’s a horror film and shouldn’t be known for its fantastic storytelling, but I do expect to at least see the dead body 20 minutes later, even if I didn’t see the character die. The film also leads you to believe Jason kills a dog, which frankly, I did not think was nice.
The best part about Jason is that he punishes teenagers who are acting bad. Go skinny dipping, incur the wrath of Jason. Do drugs, get a machete to the face. Jason upholds the moral compass. He passes judgment on those whose compass does not point due north and he passes judgment in the most disgusting and evil way possible. Why bother with a police force when you have Jason fighting crime? Overall, I think this film was a rocky start for Voorhees, and I don’t think I would have loved him instantly if this was the first endeavor I watched him in (aka I didn't watch the series in chronological order at first.) But it did show his potential and I, for one, can’t wait to watch him reach that potential. Horror has a lot of crazy serial killers running around with their weapons and their attitudes. Some aren’t helping horror stay afloat, but Jason certainly is. Without him, how would we know the difference between right and wrong?
If you liked Friday the 13th Part 2, you might also like Friday the 13th Part 3, Friday the 13th Part 4 and Friday the 13th Part 5.