Director: Steve Miner
Writer: Ron Kurz
Starring: Adrienne King, Amy Steel, John Furey, Steve Daskewisz, Warrington Gillette, Stu Charno, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Marta Kober, Tom McBride, Bill Randolph
After the massive financial success of the original Friday the 13th it was inevitable that a sequel would be made. Released almost exactly a year after the first film Part II picks up two months after the end of the first one with Alice Hardy (Adrienne King) recovering from what happened at Camp Crystal Lake.
Initially, the film spends the better part of ten minutes recapping the ending of the first one, padding out the short run time with old footage. After the recap, we get caught up with Alice, in a pretty great opening scene that has one of the best jump-scares of Part II. It tricks you into thinking that this film is going to continue the story and do something different, and then time skips five years, and a new bunch of councillors are gathering at Crystal Lake. Like the first one, they go about their day goofing around, and then they’re slowly picked off one, by one.
Essentially this film is a copy and paste of the first film, with a bigger body count, more gratuitous nudity, and even less tension. While some of the effects are pretty decent this, and do stand the test of time, they’re not scary in the slightest. It’s the same formula as the original. One of the councillors will become isolated for some arbitrary reason and is then murdered. This time around it’s Jason killing the councillors, and that’s kept a half secret until the ending. You don’t see Jason for the longest time in the film, with a lot of first-person perspective from his viewpoint. The final jump scare is basically re-doing the one from the first film with a much smaller success of actually being a jump-scare.
Like in the first film the characters are all paper thin, to the point that by the end of the film you don’t really know any of them, or even care about them, not even the survivors. None of the characters are memorable in the slightest, and even remembering their names is near on impossible. Alice reappearing from the first one and being quickly killed works well, because at least she feels like a more realised character than the others because we spent the first film with her. The other kills just land flat.
Jason is also a joke in this film. He’s not distinct enough to be scary, and comes across as a discount Leatherface, without any of the bite. He makes his way through the councillors no problem, until the final girl fights back and he’s so inept at fighting and chasing her it’s a wonder no one else was able to fight back. He’s a bumbling buffoon. Most irritatingly his existence clashes with the plot of the first one, where he drowned as a little boy, and no explanation to how he survived is offered.
Friday the 13th Part II is a really lazy film. It adds next to nothing to the franchise and isn’t even entertaining while it’s on. It’s very dull and it’s amazing that the franchise wasn’t stopped dead in its tracks at this point.
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