REVIEW: Friday the 13th – Part 2 (1981)

In my previous movie review I covered the first installment of the Friday the 13th franchise, released in 1980. 

In that post I always alluded to how much better the sequels were compared to it. I shall now begin discussing as to why that is the case.

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Let’s gather ’round the campfire and get slaughtered one by one!

 

The Synopsis

Our story picks off five years after the events of the prequel, again at Camp Crystal Lake. Similar to the first story, there is a new management at the camp (mainly because the previous one were slaughtered) and they have recruited a fresh batch of counsellors to kick things off again.

If you have watched the first film you might remember that (SPOILERS) the sole survivor was Alice Hardy (/SPOILERS), well at the start of this film (dated two months after the events of the first movie) she gets murdered in her own apartment by an unknown assailant.

This raises mystery among those aware of the tragedy at the camp, the serial killer then was (SPOILERS) Mrs. Voorhees, avenging the death of her due to negligent counsellors (/SPOILERS). She gets decapitated by the sole surviving counsellor at the end, so who could be doing the killings now?

As with the first installment and with any slasher flick, our protagonists get picked off one by one. There also is a lot of young adult lust displayed in this movie, but I’m sure you’d expect that if you saw the first film or any of the similar YA-slasher flicks of this time such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween.

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Ginny Field played by Amy Steel

When our main character, Ginny Field, comes face-to-face with the killer she discovers a more human side to his exploits. Sounds familiar? This is exactly what I wrote in my previous review, FT13th attempts to humanize the killer despite the fact that their actions are very inhuman.

Similar to the prequel, FT13th Part 2 ends in a manner which sets up another sequel. This is indeed true, in fact it is true several times as there would be more than a third installment to this horror franchise.

The Good

FT13th Pt. 2 starts us off with a mystery. We know that the antagonist of the first film is dead, so who is the killer now? I must admit that the ending did give a clue as to who the killer may be, but as the intro sequence of this sequel showed that was merely a dream in the mind of the protagonist.

So the start showed the sole survivor from the first film find a decapitated head inside her fridge. Startled, she looked twice to see it was head of the antagonist she decapitated from the prequel. Suddenly, she gets ganked from the back by an unseen assailant.

This treats viewers to an early element of surprise. The sight of a decapitated head positioned next to basic food items inside a fridge was harrowing enough, then we’re treated to a jumpscare killing off the character we all thought would be the protagonist again in this movie.

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Our mysterious, ax-wielding killer.

What also stood out in this film for me is its musical ensemble. It did a killer (heh) job of setting a tense, anxious atmosphere that made the film even more of a thriller than it was already a horror.

Drawing on the success of the prequel, FT13th Pt.2 also carried on with unconventional, awkward death scenes. From the first film, we remember a certain someone getting ganked while another couple was having sex nearby. This time around, the couple having sex ARE the ones who get ganked.

 

Then there’s also a scene where our character in a wheelchair gets slashed with a machete in the face. A brutal death for someone already vulnerable. These gory, merciless scenes reflect the kind of killer that we have in this movie — merciless.

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Wasn’t it bad enough the guy was in a wheelchair?

Though in another part of the story, the protagonists talk extensively and wholeheartedly about how the killer from the previous sequel must have felt to go on a psychotic rampage like that. In turn, they talk about the killer of this film too – how he must feel as well.

In doing so, we are given a narrative on the character development of this film’s killer. He went through a lot of things, which drove him to his present state. Note, empathy does not equate to sympathy. We cannot condone the killings, but we can try to psycho-analyze why they are that way.

The Babes

Let’s not deny the fact that part of the appeal of these YA-slasher films from the 20th century is the presence of numerous attractive women.

The prequel had Annie, Marcie and even main character Alice. This film doubled that and gave the male audience even more reasons to tune in to watch.

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Terry, portrayed by Kirsten Baker.

Early on in the movie, we are treated to a slow-mo, close-up of one of the camp counsellors named Terri. This same Terry, would later venture into the woods by herself – attempting to take a swim at the nearby lake.

If you know the lore of the Crystal Lake, you know exactly how her excursion turned out.

Our main protagonist, Ginny, is also easy on the eyes herself. In the middle of the film, there is a scene where she is undressing – which distracted most of us from the fact that there’s a killer on the loose.

Then we also have Vicki and Sandra, two of the other counsellors at the camp.

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Sandra Dier
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Vicki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bad

 

Perhaps the biggest downside of this film was just how predictable most scenes were. Most of the characters killed were picked off while going into the woods by themselves.

It just sounds so unrealistic and implausible, the fact that you know most of your friends are dead and you decide to go into the dark woods by yourself.

To add to this, many of the deaths could have been avoided had the characters had normal, human reaction times. Many of them just stood still in horror and allowed the killer to pace himself towards them.

In other words, its just like any other slasher film out there.

The dialogue of this movie was also very dry. Some of them felt like they were written by an amateur screenwriter, which is disappointing given the sterling script from the first movie.

There is also a scene in the movie where a cute dog by the name of Muffin gets brutally bludgeoned to death. Again, this is a horror movie which does not give a damn about your feels – but still, the cute dog for goodness’ sake!

The Verdict

FT13th Pt. 2 is a part of the franchise, which is legendary among horror movie fans. If you somewhat enjoyed the first one, you will definitely enjoy this second one. The prequel was relatively dry and boring compared to the rest of the franchise, so this sequel is definitely one of the better ones in the series.

This film merits a grade of B-.

 

 

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