Friday the 13th II is set five years after the original, and yet again sees a group of clueless American teenagers visit a lonely abandoned lake with a ominous reputation. The original Friday the 13th served as a prototype for the endless sequels, as Jason went on to take over the role of psychopathic serial killer from his mother. In true slasher style the youngsters irritate so much that you look forward to them dying. Of course you don´t have to wait long until they do.
Jason Vorhees makes his first appearance in this film but is not yet wearing his trade mark hockey mask, it isn´t picked up off the corpse of a geeky practical joker until part three. The character is silent, supernaturally powerful and slow and methodical. Remind you of anyone? In his finer moments Jason really just replicates what Michael Myers does so well, the quizical, fascinated glances at victims and habit of moving corpses around to scare other people is ripped off wholesale from Halloween.
This film came out in 1981, it was produced and directed by Steve Miner and lasts only 85 minutes. The plot is unimportant (Jason living in small hut praying to the disembodied head of his mother and hunting stupid teenagers), the script is poor and the production values are low. The direction is standard and the acting is the usual blend of awful and really awful. All of these things have taken a back seat to gory murder scenes.
If you enjoy slasher/stalker films and have already exhausted the Halloween series you should give this a go, although Jason is better with the hockey mask, somehow he doesn´t seem as bad or scary in his hillbilly dungarees and matching sack, spookily with only one eye hole (or is that just stupid). There isn´t much to suggest that this movie would spawn so many more.
Having said all that I enjoyed this film, when I was younger I saw the Friday films first and as an introduction into horror they served me well, still there is no denying that the Halloween films are superior. The original Friday the 13th was a great horror film with a good twist at the end, but it probably wasn´t intended to spawn so many sequels and the gap between the bald, blue, drowned child Jason in the lake and this hulking hillbilly psychopath is never adequately explained. You get the impression that very little thought went into this.
Another point about this film is that it has become dated, the hairstyles and clothes are ridiculous. The gore is quite poor and the special effects in general aren´t really up to scratch. Still if you fancy watching Jason coldly stalking and murdering some American brats then you can't go wrong. Worth watching for horror fans.