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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Just a year after the events of the first installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, Friday the 13th Part 2 introduces the man who is, in many ways, the face of the franchise. Jason Voorhees (Warrington Gillette) is out to avenge his late mother (Betsy Palmer). A new group of camp counselors are the target of the sadistic serial killer. Their love infested getaway will soon turn into a bloodbath, and they must find a way to defeat the new murderer terrifying Camp Crystal Lake. 

Television and film recaps are often cumbersome and feel like they get in the way of the actual film or episode. Writer Ron Kurz and director Steve Minor decide, however, to incorporate the recap of the previous film through a series of flashbacks and nightmares from the only returning character, Alice (Adrienne King). This provides a simple and fluid way to ease audiences back into the story without slowing it down. Friday the 13th Part 2 picks up a year after the events of the previous film, but does a wonderful job of keeping things running smoothly by allowing audiences to feel as if it picks up almost immediately after Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th

The camera work plays a significant role in the series up to this point (I expect it to continue in a similar fashion). In this particular film, director of photography, Peter Stein, often uses follow shots to trace the movements of the camp counselors during times of high intensity and suspense. These shots add eeriness to certain aspects of the film and allow audiences to feel like they are part of the story. In many ways these shots appear to place audiences in a point-of-view position, connecting them to the murderer and the most twisted and bloodsoaked parts of Friday the 13th Part 2. This choice that began with the first film envelops audiences in the world of Camp Crystal Lake and the deaths that take place there. 

With all of the positives that are a part of Friday the 13th Part 2, the issue that is difficult to overlook is the fact that it is too similar to the first. Ninety percent of the film follows an unknown killer stalking the young counselors around camp only to find out, in the final moments, who it was the whole time. To make it even more similar, like with Cunningham’s film, Minor chooses to incorporate an ambiguous scene in the closing seconds to which audiences have no idea of what truly takes place. The cheesiness and the less-than-adequate special effects are not bothersome (as the film was made in 1981), but the inability of the series to truly progress forward and break away from the very cookie cutter mold of ‘70’s and 80’s horror films causes Friday the 13th Part 2 to lose some points. 

LIke the first installment, Friday the 13th Part 2 is successful, and audiences, to this day, are able to find some form of solace in the typical teen slasher film. There is some beauty in the fact that the many masterminds behind the hundreds of successful horror films have managed to come up with a somewhat simple but effective gameplan. Even though this script has become repetitive, Minor’s Friday the 13th Part 2 is still a lot of fun and does what fans of horror films hope for. It delivers spine-tingling deaths, classic jump scares and some nudity (for those that are into that kind of stuff). This installment does not have the same thrill factor as Friday the 13th, but it delivers some fun and some scares, which is all anyone can really ask for in films like this.



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