Sunday, October 09, 2005

Friday the 13th Part II

(1981) ***1/2

So I start this up, and here comes the Friday the 13th title logo rolling towards me, ready to break the glass -- but no, it just stops. Then it blows up! "Part Two" is behind it. I cracked up.

This one feels like we're in our groove. The cast isn't nearly as unappealing as the first batch, and they're a lot more...jiggly. They sure are more sex-crazed and prone to skinny dipping, so the opening exposition is far less tedious than the first movie. Our Hero Girl is plucky and engaging. The POV shots aren't trying to hide everything like last time, so even though we just see an arm here or there, it's more intriguing than before.

We also get some greater creativity with the killings. You've got the lovers speared two at once (aww, how sweet!), and the wheelchair guy's machete-in-the-face death. He goes tumbling down a flight of stairs, as an extra dis.

There are flaws, of course; where would we be without them? Jason seems to have this weird ability to hide because he's merely off-screen, which doesn't seem exactly fair. Two deaths are predicated on the victims dying right after seeing the dead Mom's head -- how hard would that be to plan? "I can't come out of my hiding place until the sheriff opens that door...ooh, it'll totally suck if he opens this door first." Half of the potential victim pool heads out for a beer and therefore survive, including the "prankster" character, so we never get to see him not get laid. And for all her ball-kicking, chainsawing resourcefulness, Hero Girl completely waits out her boyfriend's first tangle with Jason, going "Paul, Paul?"

And our killer is Jason, finally. No hockey mask yet, he was still trying out his "hillbilly with pillowcase" look. But now we've got the silent, looming killer that a project like this needs. Good to have you on board, son.

Annoyingly, the ending replays the Carrie-style ending the first F13 had, except it really leaves some question marks. Namely, we don't know if Paul or the yappy little dog actually survive. Maybe the dog will find Mrs. Voorhees's head in the fridge at the beginning of the next movie.

The slasher genre owes everything to the first Halloween, which soars above its progeny on a high, unattainable plain. But at the street level, Friday the 13th Part Two delivers the goods we'll be after for decades to come.


JPX said...

Summerisle always liked this version of Jason. I say that without the hockey mask, he's no Jason! Bring on Part 3.

Summerisle said...

I need to see this movie again myself. I think it's one of the best in the series!

JPX said...

No, you're wrong! You and that stupid pillowcase, I mean, he's wearing a damn pillowcase! That's not scary!

Octopunk said...

It's not just the pillowcase, the beloved Jason uniform of jeans and generic olive drab jacket is repped here by overalls and a plaid shirt. Hick city!