If you’ve read my review of Friday the 13th (1980), you already know that I don’t like that movie very much. I’ve always found it very derivative and Tom Savini’s special effects are the only noteworthy element together with the appearance of an extremely young Kevin Bacon.
Finally, I watched its sequel: Friday the 13th Part 2, a film directed by Steve Miner in 1982. I’ll give you a hint: all the creative minds of the first film refused to work on this movie from the beginning because they thought that the idea didn’t work right from the start. And they were right! But, as usual, let’s start with a brief summary of the plot.
The movie is only one hour and twenty minutes long, but we spend the first five minutes watching scenes from the first film disguised as memories of the only girl (Adrienne King) who survived the massacre perpetrated by Jason’s mother. And then… the so called sequel is in fact a remake: a group of boys find themselves on the shores of Crystal Lake and are massacred one by one by an unidentified killer. If you are looking for something new, go somewhere else.
Sure, the murders are well staged and there’s a lot of blood, but honestly for me that’s not enough to make the film interesting. The characters are two-dimensional and the cliché of the final girl is also reused, in this case she’s played by Amy Steel, even if in the final scene she is accompanied by a friend (John Furey) who… sort of disappears, we don’t know if he survives or not.
And let’s talk about that final scene. I think they couldn’t make it worse! It’s a clear nod at at the finale of the first film, with (spoiler alert) adult Jason (Warrington Gillette) suddenly bursting into the scene and attacking the girl from behind, all shot in slow motion. But then there is an abrupt cut and it’s not clear how she gets out alive and what happened to her friend, and not even to Jason, for that matter.
I also found the shot of the head of Mrs. Vorhees’ utterly useless: it suggests a nonsensical twist with her opening her eyes, but luckily it doesn’t happen. I laughed out loud when I later discovered that indeed the ending should have been that, but it was judged too ridiculous and the idea was scrapped. Still, there are too many other things that don’t make any sense, mainly the fact that Jason is inexplicably alive (then why wasn’t his mother with him?) and this movie simply repeating the same, already unoriginal formula of the previous one.
I suppose that when the film came out, having scantily dressed girls (but don’t expect much of it) had some box office value, plus all the shocking murders (even if censorship hit hard, forcing Miner to remove the most gruesome images). Well, 40 years later that value has vanished and Friday the 13th Part 2 is a forgettable sequel. Ciao!