Friday, March 10, 2006

Jason 2

So now we're onto Friday the 13th Part II in my continuing review of the horror series. The movie starts out with a montage from the ending of Part I couched in a dream by the survivor from Part I. It's a few months later and she's apparently living on her own in a dilapidated house. She wakes up, showers, talks to her mom on the phone, and notices the doors and windows are unlocked and opened - more on this later. She hears a noise but it's just her cat climbing through the window. Then, she opens the fridge and finds a head in there. She screams for a second until she's killed with an icepick looking tool (I apologize for not getting this right) through her head. We only ever see the killer's hand and below the waist. As you'll find out with subsequent reviews, this killing of the previous survivor is a trend.

Now the movie begins proper. There's not a whole lot of plot to go into here. It's 5 years later and another summer camp is finally being opened along the same lake as Part I. However, this is supposedly away from Camp Blood (Camp Crystal Lake's nickname), though the teens can walk to it and Jason's shack is located nearby. So for all intensive purposes, they decided to set up shop in the area adjacent to Camp Crystal Lake - how is this different from setting up at Camp Crystal Lake, someone with brains might ask?

The first half is really all about suspense. With the exception of a cop who enters Jason's shack, I don't believe anyone else is murdered. It also sets up who all the characters are and who likes who and whatnot. There is even a dude in a wheelchair, which shows how ahead of its time these movies were. Then again, the dude looks like he's never even sat in a wheelchair before. My suggestion is to either hire someone who's handicapped or make the guy spend a day or two in the wheelchair so he looks comfortable moving around. But I digress.

The movie gets going when half of the group decide to go into town and half decide/are forced to remain at the camp. There's the obligatory shacking up which leads to multiple muders. The creepy old man from both movies who warns the kids is killed as he's doing his peeping tom routine. I guess his sex drive was stronger than his flight drive. So the wheelchair guy was about to hook up with some chick when he gets a machete through the head. But when the chick returns to get it on with him, she can't find him. And for some reason she decides to look for him upstairs. The cabins didn't look wheelchair accessible, so I'm confused as to how she thought he made it upstairs.

The main couple returns from town and notice no one is around. Jason leaps at the dude and it leads to a bunch of chases. There's the standard car not working and all. Ultimately it ends up at Jason's shack. The chick puts on Mrs Voorhees' sweater and convinces Jason he's her mother. That is until she moves and he sees his mother's severed head in the shrine he created for her. There's more fighting with the dude returning until they put a machete into Jason. They return to the cabin and suddenly Jason leaps through the window. Next thing we see is the chick being carried out in the morning in an ambulance.

Overall, I actually prefer this movie to Part I. Once again, the plot is simple and there is a lot of suspense. And having Jason as the villain makes it better, as he's a lot more menacing that Mrs Voorhees (I guess an argument could be made that Jason did the killings in Part I but that opens up a couple cans of worms). Anyway, the killer in Part II, especially the shots, make it more suspenseful than Part I. I would rate this move Horrific. So here's the ratings to date:

Part II
Part I

Now onto a few points that trouble me:
  • As in Part I, the sole survivor is carrried out in the morning by an ambulance. How did the ambulance know to show up? By all indications the survivor is borderline unconscious. And I may be wrong but I don't recall these cabins having phones. This is puzzling. Is it possible that Jason has a phone in his shack and called? Maybe because he felt guilty for killing so many people? I'm confused.
  • Also like Part I, there is a sole survivor. Let's get over the issue of how the ambulance showed up and examine this. So the police show up to a grisly murder scene. There are at least 7 dead bodies scattered over the summer camp area with one summer camp worker surviving. And for some reason, it never occurs to the police to consider the survivor a suspect. In fact, I bet in real life the survivor would be convicted 99% of the time for the time period. This was the early '80s with limited if any DNA testing. Yet we see the Part I survivor a few months later free and living on her own. And I'll predict a similar fate for the Part II survivor at the start of Part III.
  • How does Jason get to the house of the survivor from Part I? Unless she's stupid enough to move close to the place she witnessed the gruesome murder of 5+ people, it makes no sense. Did Jason just hop on a bus or rent a car and how was he able to track her down? It makes no sense.
  • Why are the windows open and the house unlocked at the beginning? Since it's supposed to be a few months after Part I, I would assume the survivor would still be freaked out. If so, wouldn't she lock every door and window? Not that it would have kept Jason out.
  • Did the nerd Ted score with the bartender? He didn't return with the couple from the bar in town.

For me, these movies are great horror movies. But they miss something to transcend the horror movie genre. And for me, it's the fact they never delve into Jason. It's always very vague. Sure, we know he drowned as a teen and was special and he probably saw his mom decapitated and all. But we never get any of the psychological good vs evil talk that we get from Dr Loomis in the Halloween movies. Without that, it all becomes a series of murders. If they added that humanistic quality or evil incarnate or whatever it's called, I believe these movies might be closing in on Halloween territory. Instead, we get 2 very enjoyable horror movies that set the tone for future horror movies, for better or for worse.

Stay tuned next week for Friday the 13th Part III.

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