Most helpful positive review
94 of 99 people found the following review helpful
Possibly The Greatest Of The Early Fridays
on September 30, 2004
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.