Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 09/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I noted in my write-up for the first "Friday The 13th", I feel that movie and this one form two halves of a beginning stage for the full series. The first deliberately ended on a wide-open note (not as common in 1980 as it is today, and not in the slightest contrived but the pivotal point for the whole movie and perhaps the whole series) and without the second chapter the first would have been woefully incomplete.
I think "Part 2" fully equals or possibly exceeds its predecessor. Like "Part 1", it's shot in a somewhat 'rough' manner, with simple camerawork and a minimum of flash, similar to the styles for the first "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Basket Case", though not nearly As rough. It's a technique that's worked far better in a number of horror films than in most genres, because it doesn't look like someone's meticulously filming a motion picture, it looks as though events are being captured on film as they happen, giving the movie (when it's done right) a creepy, unsettling atmosphere.
It's got one of the most likable casts of characters in The "Friday" line (admittedly a problem in some of the other entries), with even the couple of characters who look like they're going to be total wastes becoming much more bearable as the movie progresses and you get to know them, with my personal favorite all along being the Kirsten Baker character (Teri). And Jason, of course. Actually, this is one of the most essential chapters in the series in establishing Jason as not just atop-tier horror monster, but a top-tier 'sympathetic' horror monster in the vein of the Frankenstein Monster, as opposed to Freddy Krueger, who's a top-tier 'Pure Evil' horror monster. It's been opined that Jason isn't truly evil because he acts on instinct alone like the shark in Jaws, or a force of nature like a hurricane - with no actual will and hence no ill will. I agree with part of that but not all - I submit that Jason acts on instinct AND emotion but without reasoning, rationality, or any of the 'intellecetual' thought processes, aside from occasional glimmers at most. One can see that in this film, especially when it's rewatched after some of the later entries. You see things in the early films in new ways, and sometimes from very disturbing new angles after you have the benefit of hindsight from seeing all the movies. Very surprisingly, you can also sometimes see things from slightly brighter possible angles too, in addition to darker interpretations.
Both by itself and in conjunction with the other entries, "Part 2" is particularly disturbing in some of the things it doesn't come right out and say, but which have unsettling implications for possible untold parts of Jason Voorhees's origins. There are some things that are very open to interpretation in places (some in more than one mutually-contradictory direction). To say any more would be to risk giving away possible spoilers.
In less abstract terms to this movie's many high points - excellent pacing, high intensity, some genuine humor (as opposed to failed attempts at humor in some similar horror movies), some truly ferocious moments, and an absolutely awesome midight lakeside scene with Baker (which was all the more enjoyable because it didn't come until after one had time to get to know her character, so by that point I was thoroughly smitten with her). Also, Baker's character has an adorable little puppy she carries along with her through much of the movie. A little 'cute animal' touch here and there to occasionally break the tension usually doesn't hurt; plus it makes me like the character even more because I have a soft spot for girls who love animals. Besides, she's so frikkin' Sexy (Kirsten, not the dog!!)
All this and one of the best, most high-charged endings in the "Friday" series - this isn't just a must-see, this is a must-have."
Richard Stange | Hawaii | 12/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""As bad as Friday the 13th, Part 2 is, it's a work of art in comparison to the rest of the Friday the 13th flicks that came afterward." - Mark Englehart (Amazon Editorial Review)
You know, I've got a crazy thought. I thought that a store like Amazon would actually want to SELL THEIR PRODUCTS. Having some dork say "as bad as this movie is" is not the best way to sell a product.
Onto Friday 2, this movie tells a very good story in the context of an urban legend while developing key characters and building suspense. The deaths are creepy and violent, the music is awesome, and Jason is at his scariest. This film also has the best atmosphere of the series.
This movie could have been the original, despite the original being very good as well."
One of the Better In the Series
Ryan Rogers | Memphis, TN | 09/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is tied with Friday the 13th, Part VI - Jason Lives as my favorites of the series. This is still back when this series aimed to be scary and not comical. We all know that lengthy series of movies have more than their share of rotten pieces. With this release, Friday the 13th hadn't reached that point.
Now, the film picks up where the first left off. It features Alice, the survivor of the first film. Without going into much detail I will say that this one is better than the first and definitely one of the better of the series.
Paramount Cheat The Fans...AGAIN
xxxGRINDHOUSExxx | UK | 12/23/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Once again Paramount cheat the Friday The 13th Fans. This movie has been issued countless times on VHS and DVD now, and every time its the same censored version missing the infamous 54 seconds of graphic bloodletting. What is the point? Friday the 13th Part 2 is a good sequel but any fan can't deny its like a burger without the meat. Suspense scenes build and build and then the censor deprives us of the pay-off - basically what we've paid to see. The footage excised from Friday The 13th Part 2 cannot be that extreme - its a studio produced 80' slasher. Its gore will NOT outdo Maniac or The Prowler - what are Paramount so scared of - or maybe they're just lazy. One things for certain, they are greedy, money grabbing corporate scumbags out to exploit the fans of a series of films which have provided them with some of their best revenue (yet they're ashamed of the films). I for one, will NOT be shelling cash out AGAIN for another cut print of this, or any other Friday movie, just for the sake of a few shoddy, last minute extras. Paramount need to stop just thinking about their proceeds and consider what the fans want one in a while. "
The Best in this Long Series
Kasey Driscoll | 07/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Friday the 13th part 2 is probably the best movie of the Friday the 13th series. Steve Miner is probably the most accomplished director to take on any of the Friday the 13th films and the quality shows. The scenes are subtly stylized and photography is the strongest here. The story is also more compelling and mysterious than the subsequent films. It partly stands out because Jason is not quite the icon he later becomes. He is smaller by far here than in any other sequel and he dons a white pillowcase with a single hole for his one eye to peak through. He wears overalls and his weapon of choice is a pitchfork. There is something more raw and effortless behind his appearance. Being the first film with Jason as the killer, we also ask ourselves for the first time how he survived and we don't know for sure until we realize later that it is likely because he is undead. There is something genuinely creepy about a dead mentally challenged teenage cyclops running around in the woods and hanging out in a shack with his mother's severed rotten head. It all seems a bit more real than the big brooding invincible zombie of the later films and we still know its Jason in sort of his transition state. He's just learning the ropes as a mass murderer.
After the events at the end of the first movie we see Alice, the girl who killed Jason's mother, living alone and she is quickly murdered by an unseen assailant. Five years after that, a group of more shallow young people show up to Crystal Lake to attend a camp counselor training. The camp itself is condemned because of the murders that happened there. The story of Jason and his mother is of course told around the campfire and the camp is referred to as "Camp Blood". Gradually and as expected, the counselors in training are murdered one-by-one until we are left with just counselors Paul and Ginny. It is now that we see more of Jason as he fights with Paul in a dark room. These sequences are actually pretty intense and add some suspense rarely seen in these films. Eventually we are introduced to Jason's shack with his mother's head and so on during the chase and Jason is eventually killed. As we know from the series of sequels he doesn't actually die of course. He leaps through the window at the very end and almost gets the same jump from the audience that he did when he jumped out of the lake as a little boy in the first movie.
Overall, there are some legitimately great moments in Friday the 13th part 2. The whole climax and all through to the finale is very well done. There is also a midway scene where a police officer gets a brief glance of Jason running across the street and into the woods. The policeman follows him into the shack we see at the end of the film and gets a hammer thrown into his head. That scene really stands out for me. I'm not sure it was intended to be as eerie as it is, but the brief cut of Jason running into the woods is definitely well handled and convincing.
There is something about this film that sets it apart from the others. I think it's the fact that it is Jason who is the killer for the first time, and because it is before he becomes the self-parody he does in parts six through ten. It's hard to take parts three and four as seriously because he resembles the half-comical icon he will eventually become in far lesser movies. Friday the 13th part 2 is exempt of that connection and it stands on it's on as one of best slasher films I have ever seen. Then again, that's like saying it is one of best plates of Spam I have ever eaten."