Movie Review: Friday the 13th Part 2

9 Nov

frida the 13th part 2


Well, even though Halloween is over, I’ve continued my 80’s slasher films, because they’ve been fun.   For Friday the 13th Part 2 I was pleasantly surprised!  This must be one of the best sequels to a movie like this ever.   SPOILERS FOLLOW so proceed with caution!

I think this film could be a good tutorial for anybody trying to make a sequel in a franchise.   Here’s what it does right:

–It assumes you’ve watched the first one, but is still simple enough to follow if you haven’t.   A lot of movies either completely start out new after throwing a few biscuits out to the original without worrying about continuity (annoying) or get so ham-strung in continuity it forgets to be fun.   F13 part 2 does neither of these things.   We get a little flashback scene at the beginning, and clearly all the action is based on the past movie, but it is happy to go in a new direction.

–It messes with its own formula.   This film knows what the audience expects–you think the guy in the wheelchair is gonna get stuck?  Nope.   You think that the girl from the last movie is going to go head-to-head with Jason?  Nope.  You think the funny one is going to die?  Nope.   The film has a deft hand at playing with the expectations an audience would have and changing them.

–The movie has an interesting theme, not covered in the first one.  Sure it’s not Shakespeare, but the theme of urban legend vs. reality is a very interesting one and brings the story into new territory.   The whole set-up is that the Jason story is now well known and there’s a fascination with Crystal Lake as well as the whole Jason experience.  We get campfire stories, and even theories over why he is the way he is.   What we don’t get is the total unvarnished truth.  Very clever.

–The movie doesn’t weigh itself down in exposition.   We don’t need to know the life stories of every counselor that comes to this place.

–Most (though not all) of what happens makes perfect sense if you think about it.  Like the ending–we don’t know what truly happened that night because the main actress is insane.   Jason’s house makes sense as well as his obsession with his mother.   Even little things, like how the cop acts, is perfectly in character and not blown over the top.

–The main actress uses her head to get past Jason.   In part 1 all of the characters acted like idiots, but here they make plans, they get prepared, they make semi-sensible decisions.

–The film has a sense of humor about itself.  One of the best jokes is when the girl gets out of the shower, and looks at the camera.  Is she facing a stalker?  Nope, she’s just getting out of the shower.

However, this wouldn’t be a fun movie if I didn’t notice some things.  For instance:

1.  The clothes–Look at the knit plaid overalls the first woman is wearing–why do they balloon like that?  At first I thought she was pregnant, but then later we see her being very unpregnant in a kimono.   Then there’s the shorts the jogger wears that manage to cover her belly button but not her butt cheeks.   Or what about the brown panties one girl changes into that bulge in the back in a very unflattering way?   And I’ve never seen so many half shirts in my life!

2.  So the first girl was traumatized by the killings at Crystal Lake, so she chooses to get a house in the nearby town?   Wasn’t she from far away?  Also what’s up with all the clown paintings she’s doing?  Therapy?

3.  They can’t use the Crystal Lake camp, so these people open up a new camp off the same lake–that’s awfully close.   Also, were there always two camps near this little podunk town?

4.  Jason’s house has a toilet that’s not hooked up with blades of grass in it.  I don’t even know what to do with that information.

5.  And the biggest bit–the dog.  So the dog disappears halfway through the movie, and the kids find a torn up animal with the very same ribbon on it.   They say the animal is unidentifiable.   (Though it looks pretty much like the same dog from here.)  Later the dog just saunters back in.   So did Jason kill some other animal and put a ribbon on it?  The thing is the person who owns the dog never even heard about this finding, so it can’t be to creep people out.   *shrug*

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