Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)

Part II sticks to the story of Jason as delivered in its predecessor and satisfies as an entertaining sequel. It follows the same basic format, but adds characters with even more personality and another round of kills.

I did not enjoy the fact that the first ten minutes are spent re-playing the last ten minutes of its predecessor. In fact, I felt insulted. I understand that in its day, the movie was being viewed a year later, but we honestly don't need that much footage to remember that Jason's mother was the killer and our heroine chopped her head off, leaving Jason an orphaned lake-thing. A minute's worth of flashbacks would've been sufficient, which leads me to believe that they needed to kill some running time (the movie still managed to be shorter than the first).

But the movie redeemed itself quickly with another group of likable, three-dimensional characters and a fast-paced plot. Sure, it used the same format as the first movie, but it worked. They didn't try to branch in new directions. Instead, they stuck to the story and beefed it up with a few details such as Jason's obsession with his mother. The classic alter-shrine with his mother's decapitated head and sweater is priceless. Also, this time Jason is the killer, although the movie sticks to its POV-suspense-building tactic until the end.

In terms of the "group of wily, horny youngsters," I liked this group better than the first group. They had even more personality and were quite comedic at times. The counselor was better, too, with his laid back attitude and sarcastic demeanor. It felt more like a big frat party than a gathering of professional camp counselors for training. I can't help but be amused as a group of strangers naturally split off into boy/girl pairs.

One thing I loved was the killing off of the town crazy. Finally! When he made his appearance in the same town, on the same bike, I wondered if they were going to keep using this guy over and over in each subsequent movie. Well, Jason took care of that with a nice little strangulation scene. No more town crazy appearing in the food pantry!

Another notable thing about this sequel is the use of the dog Muffin. We are led to believe Muffin was killed by Jason when a fluffy little white dog is found in the woods near Camp Crystal Lake with its guts sprawled on the ground. But, at the end, Muffin magically appears after our heroine has supposedly killed Jason in his little shack. So, I guess it was just a coincidence that another dog of the same breed had been slain? Oh well, don't think too much about that. The movie redeems itself again with another faux-ending-shock-scene just like last time! Again, we get the inspirational music, the addition of cute little Muffin, and then BAM! Jason crashes through the window and headlocks the heroine just like last time. We even get a glimpse of his deformed face as a grown man.

Now for my big question. In the first movie Jason attacks the heroine as a lake-thing, but then she lives to tell about it. In this one, Jason attacks the heroine as a woods-thing, but she lives on to tell about it. You've gotta wonder why he doesn't kill them. Why does he make these shocking appearances and then scamper off into the woods/water? What's his purpose? Perhaps he knows that he must leave at least one survivor to tell his tale and force others to return for more bloody massacres. Either way, you have to give credit for giving us what we loved about the first one.

Review Soundtrack:
Dave Matthews Band - "Seek Up"
Liquid Tension Experiment - "Biaxident"
Trivium - "Pillars of Serpents"

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