Friday the 13th, Part 2
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Amy Steel, John Furey, Warrington Gillette, Stuart Charno, Walt Gorney, Adrienne King, Bill Randolph, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Tom McBride, Russell Todd
Plot: Jason Voorhees is a noble outcast who has withdrawn from society in order to live a peaceful life of solitude in the woods. Unfortunately, after journeying into the city to make amends with his mother’s murderer, he is followed home by a group of morally bankrupt, sexually promiscuous heathens (who I believe are meant to be teenagers). Once there, the interlopers make plans to spend the summer defiling themselves and corrupting any child foolish enough to be lured into their sordid compound. Luckily for the children, Jason isn’t about to let that happen. Our hero must set aside the peaceful life he had carved out for himself and teach these bacchanalian villains that there are still people in this world willing to stand up for justice.
Review: As you may have already gathered, I choose to root for the Voorhees family when watching movies in this franchise. I think of them as the unsung heroes. I’m not saying that they’re perfect. Do they have a couple of tragic flaws? Sure. They define themselves by their personal misfortunes; They can’t let go of the past, which leads them time and again to a self-destructive pattern of behavior; they have a tragic inability to let unwed couples have intercourse unmurdered. There are a lot of complex motifs at work in these films.
One could argue that there are brief glimpses of Jason in the original film, but this is really the film in which he steps into the spotlight. He’s not the iconic Jason to which we have all grown accustomed, though. This is before he dons his hockey mask and becomes the unstoppable instrument of destruction we all know and love. He’s just a man. More accurately, perhaps, he’s a boy in a man’s body. Presumed dead, Jason has spent the last 27 years living alone in the woods, and also presumably witnessed his mother’s decapitation. His physical deformities make it hard to tell if he’s aging well or not, but I’m thinking probably yes. Either way, through a very dubious application of what I assume was the screenwriter’s Psych 101 credit, the main characters do speculate that Jason might be suffering from some arrested development or PTSD.
This movie itself has some weird pacing issues. The first quarter of the movie is just an insanely long cold open in which we check back in with Adrienne King from the first movie. Once we finally meet the next batch of slasher tropes they quickly establish themselves as such, use campfire ghost stories as a subtle expository vehicle, and then most of them fuck right on off and are never seen in the movie again. It’s crazy. Why they chose to jettison victims from this movie is beyond me. Talk about a missed opportunity. The kills Jason does come through with are pretty rad though. I’m not going to spoil anything, but even by 80’s standards one in particular seemed very controversial.
In the end, I guess the great thing about this film is everything. If it wasn’t good, they wouldn’t have made a dozen more (need I remind you that one of them has Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman?). Besides, I’ve spent too many hours of my life watching this to entertain the notion that it isn’t worth the time.