Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)


This is perhaps the most generic slasher movie of all time. The genre had been around a few years by this point, long enough to establish the rules that “Scream” parodied, and this one sticks to them all. You could, should you be in a rush to do something more interesting, watch the first 15 minutes and accurately guess everything that follows.

However, during those movies that play out 100% as you expect them to, your mind tends to wander, and questions can be asked. What did Jason get up to in the 5 years between the end of the first film and the beginning of this? How did he turn from a kid of around 10 (despite being born over 20 years previously) to a full grown, rather large adult in those years? Wouldn’t the police have taken Mrs Voorhees’ head with them before? Is a place full of muddy paths really wheelchair-safe?


After summarily dispatching the Final Girl from part 1 (I think it’s great that Jason, having never had a moment’s schooling and having lived in the forest entirely alone for the majority of his life, was able to find out the identity of the person he failed to kill before, track her down, finish the job then go back to the camp) we’re back at the same lake, although different camp, for part 2. It’s a counsellor training centre, which strikes me as a baffling concept – where are they being trained for? I thought the whole point of camp counsellors was that they were bored / broke high school students, not trained professionals? See, those questions keep coming.

And really, that’s it. Jason, who everyone mockingly remembers wasn’t even the villain in part 1, is here dressed up as a carbon copy (deliberate, apparently) of the baddie from 1976’s “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”, no hockey mask yet. The first half of the movie is setup, the second half is payoff, with Jason grimly plowing his way through the teens. No rhyme or reason to this lot of killing, though, as the rain falls on the just and unjust alike (Bible quotes! It’s edu-tainment here at the ISCFC). The car full of people who get the drunkest survive, and the super-nice guy in the wheelchair gets a machete to the face, for example.


Part 1 treated women fairly, for a slasher movie. Part 2, on the other hand, gets em out of their clothes as quickly as possible, so there’s multiple bikini scenes, undressing scenes, and the odd bit of full frontal nudity – but even with all that, there was an example edited out, featuring actress Marta Kober who was underage at the time (and obviously so, it was a little creepy even seeing her in a bikini).

This is a thoroughly rotten film. First up, no reason is given for why Jason is killing this group of teens. Think of the other great slasher villains – Freddy Krueger, at least for the first three or four movies, is getting revenge on the people (or the children of the people) who killed him; Michael Myers sort of goes after his relatives; Pinhead only messes with you if you’ve sought him out in the first place; Angela (“Sleepaway Camp”) has a moral code, of sorts. Jason Voorhees is just very, very interested in summer camp safety? If there’s no reason for any of it, then it’s hard to cheer for or against anyone, or to view this movie as anything other than a particularly joyless murder delivery system.


Secondly is the way it’s filmed. We’re treated to multiple POV shots, and the heavy implication is this is Jason’s view…only sometimes the POV camera is just a style and there’s no-one there, sometimes it’s a horny guy sneaking up on his girlfriend (seriously, dumbasses, how about picking a different way to go a-courting when the murders start?), and it’s only Jason about half the time. It’s a boring trick and once the movie’s fooled us the first time, there’s no sense of drama about times 2 to 10. We also get a heck of a lot of shots of Jason’s boots, as the movie spends the first 1:10 hiding Jason’s appearance from us. Now, given the murder of the woman at the beginning only makes sense if this is Jason, finishing off his Mum’s work, hiding his identity from us seems pretty pointless, and not something a film as relentlessly dumb as this would be able to pull off.

This movie is right down there – competently made, I suppose, but manages to avoid even the modest artistry the first movie gave us, but does not avoid being relentlessly boring. If you really, really like seeing teenagers get murdered in a variety of different ways…and I mean a lot…then there’s still better choices. Absolutely worthless in every way.

Rating: thumbs down


5 thoughts on “Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

  1. While yes, most camp counselors are just out of high school, or still and getting paid for the summer- at least here in the US of A, there is a mandatory 1-2 week training period for the counselors; that way, if they are new, they can get acquainted with that lay of the land, their co-workers, etc. And everyone gets refreshed on emergency care, where contacts are listed, whom to call for what reason, etc.

    • Ta Bobby! I imagine generations of British viewers have been baffled by that bit. Or just didn’t care and wanted to see boobs and death, whatever 🙂

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