Monday, October 28, 2013

REVIEW: Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2
Director: Steve Miner
Year 1981

Friday the 13th Part 2 is a rather successful and straight-forward sequel to the 1980 hit horror flick, Friday the 13th. Continuing the story from the bloody aftermath of the first film, Part 2 generates that same toxic atmosphere and gory love lust that the original possessed while bringing on board a whole new group of victims to toy with. Extremely moody and wholly set in its era, this outstandingly entertaining slasher has a great cast of characters and an ample set of interesting kills, adding up to an extremely enjoyable romp in the now famous Crystal Lake.

The film begins five years after the horrible events at Camp Crystal Lake, with a whole new group of camp counselors preparing for the start of a new season at an adjacent camp. Everything goes according to plan, that is until a stranger in the woods begins to stalk the young counselors, murdering them one by one. Could the legend of Jason Voorhees be true? Could he have survived his tragic drowning as a child and witnessed the murder of his mother a mere handful of years ago, which consequently forged a hatred and insatiable blood lust inside of him over the years which is finally now being unleashed upon the cursed people of Crystal Lake? Apparently, yes. There's only one real question to ask. Who will survive this death cursed town?

Friday the 13th has a smorgasbord of characters within its diverse ranks, and each one seems served to meet a cold and harsh death. In true slasher fashion, the cast is made up of stereotypical fodder who ultimately exist to be taken out by the iconic killer Jason Voorhees. Still there are a few standouts who really shine in their individual roles. Amy Steel takes on the role of Ginny Field, the central player of the piece who is the only one who believes that the legend of Jason Voorhees is real. Steel gives Ginny a feisty personality, which helps differentiate her character from the rest of the pack, yet she still has an underplayed feel to her that allows her to come off as genuine. Heroically portrayed and able to mix it up in a horror setting, Steel gives a great performance for the series.

Aside from Steel, the rest of the cast sticks to their mold almost too perfectly. John Furey takes on the role of the typical boyfriend Paul Holt, Kirsten Baker plays the short shorts wearing eye-candy Terry, Stuart Charno goes off on a limb and portrays the extremely nerdy Ted, Marta Kober and Bill Randolph take on the sex craved teens Sandra and Jeffrey, Russell Todd valiantly embodies the pretty boy trouble maker Scott, Tom McBride plays the wheelchair bound athlete Mark, while Lauren-Marie Taylor hones in as his love-sick admirer Vickie. They are predictably stereotypical, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially in an 80's slasher flick. Each one of them fits perfectly within the genre, and their various antics and untimely deaths are all the more interesting. Of course I can't forget Walt Gorney as Crazy Ralph, who reprises his iconic role from the first film in the same fantastically creepy way, including famous catch-phrase, “You're all doomed!”

If you are a fan of the series, then of course you know that this is where Jason Voorhees truly debuts and what an unusual introduction it is. Void of a hockey mask and covered by a sack of all things, Voorhees is still as creepy as ever, and it's interesting to see this early depiction of the iconic character before he really blew up on the horror cinema scene. I for one had the backward experience of viewing all of these films in a somewhat reverse nature, seeing that I didn't get fully introduced to the character until in my teens when the series was already up to part 9. With that being said, I always found it interesting to see this early iteration of Voorhees as some backwoods hillbilly with a sack on his head. It's strange and unsettling, but it fits perfectly against the overall approach of the original, making for an intriguing linear flow that maps out the growth of this ever expanding horror series and its larger than life killer star.

As for the atmosphere of Friday the 13th Part 2, it successfully captures the succinct and haunting tone of the original. With its secluded camp setting, its genuine dread, and its vivid practicality in showcasing one horrific kill after another, Part 2 mirrors the magic of its predecessor without cheapening it to a run of the mill, pale imitation. Though it runs through the same formulaic attributes of the original, it still maintains its own sense of self worth by expanding on the mythology of Crystal Lake and introducing us to a badass killer in the form of Jason Voorhees. He may not have the iconic hockey mask, but the terror and mayhem that he leaves in his wake is just the same. Though lacking in Tom Savini's in your face special effects, it still manages to maintain a voice of its own, one that is bloody, savage, and oh so much fun.

Friday the 13th Part 2 is a highly enjoyable flick. Churning out that same quality that made the original such a smash hit, director Steve Miner and company play it safe for the most part, as they attempt to expand on the mythos of the Friday the 13th universe. Jason Voorhees' introduction is one that is most unexpected, and I'm sure that during the film's debut that his appearance in the flick was quite a shock to the pace of the series. The diverse cast of characters are another nice aspect of the production, with the stereotypical bunch coming off as likeable and wholly memorable.

The inclusion of the original's Adrienne King in the beginning of the film and being able to witness her continued story, is another nice touch that starts things off with a bang, consequently introducing us to the new baddie of the series. It's a hard task to be able to match the quiet and unsettling atmosphere of the original, but the filmmakers give a great effort in maintaining a seamless transition between each entries. With its high body count, unforgettable characters, and powerful mood, Friday the 13th Part 2 is a worthy successor to the highly heralded originator of the series. If you haven't watched it in a while, give it a go. It's as fun as ever. Friday the 13th Part 2 is.....

You know what I'm going to say motherfucker!

Hey asshole!

Camp Crystal Lake? Sounds like a fun place.

Oh sweet sassafras!

Ralph! Nooooooooo!

Words to live by.

This guy is just so kooky.

They really need to put up a Voorhees Crossing Sign on this road.

Living in the lap of luxury.

Please hammer don't hurt em!

Look what I caught.... a pervert!

Shout! Shout! Let it all out! You tell them Tears for Fears.

Look ma.... No poop stains!

Now that's just wrong Jason!

Sorry to wake you Sack Man.

Say cheese! Now that's a keeper!

Ginny you back stabber!

How about a hug!

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