Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Friday the 13th Part II (1981) Review:

Even though Friday the 13th (1980) was not the most original of ideas, it still maintained a level of entertainment that came as a surprise, considering that it took the main premise from Halloween (1978). Although the style was also parallel, the story was different which helped it stand out from other horror films at the time. Jason Vorhees - who would've known that would become a common name? Of course this wasn't revealed until close to the ending of the first film. Plus, by the ending viewers were introduced to a melancholy ending about where the remains of Mr.Vorhees were. It wasn't the fullest of closure but it did end the tragic story rather well. Apparently Paramount felt that wasn't enough closure.

A new cast of no name actors
What Part II decides to do is bring the story full circle. This idea is successful in some respects, while at other times the execution leaves more questions instead of answering them. One of the best parts about this sequel is its continuity. If there's one thing a sequel should get right, it's sticking to the story it originally told. It has got to and thankfully the filmmakers accomplished that. This is accomplished by showing and explaining to its audience what happened to the girl from the original. Then, the story sets itself up with a new cast of camp counselors. Unfortunately this is where things began to head south. For one, the characters are flat. There is barely a character that makes themselves feel any different from the last bunch of counselors fans viewed from the first film.

Along with that are individual story lines to these characters that go unfinished. Unlike the first entry, which ended with a decent amount of closure (with a few loose ends), this entry misses even more, with absent explanations on a few of the main characters. Ron Kurz writing is very uneven. He keeps continuity but forgets to keep this work in line. As Steve Miner's debut, his direction is fairly predictable sadly on a lot of cases. Much of the execution relies on copying its predecessor with no creativity or uniqueness this time. Not even its cinematography by Peter Stein grabs the attention. Stein likes to keep his cameras hidden in the brush so that its impossible to get a feeling for all the surroundings. There isn't much to be see this time.

That same faceless danger though....
Besides continuity being one of its strong points, the violence, background concept and music are commendable. Although the gore has been edited quicker, the bloodshed is still heavy and gruesome. The background concept to what happened to Jason and being expanded upon is interesting. It dilutes Jason's motivations a bit and lacks clarity but it still is an eye grabber. Music was again produced by composer Harry Manfredini. For the most part, Manfredini keeps everything the same. Still screeching strings and whispering ghostly voices. It is nice keeping the signature feeling but incorporating some tunes would've been better. It's not a terrible entry but it could've had the bumps smoothed out.

The sequel manages to keep clear continuity with its parent yet fails to clear up anything for the current entry. With a cast resembling a carbon copy of its first set of characters, the execution feels too similar except for a few parts like its violence and background concepts.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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