Five years after the events of the first movie, a new camp opens up next door to Camp Crystal Lake. Warned of the dangers lurking in the woods, the counselors (a shiny new bunch of horny teenagers) mostly ignore the legend of Jason and are (all together now) murdered one by one. Actually, there's a really good scene in which Jason gets two for one. Unfortunately, the full scene was cut to get an R rating and wasn't restored for the DVD.
This installment takes quite a few liberties where Jason is concerned. Although depicted as a boy in the first film, Jason is suddenly presumed to be both alive and fully-grown in the sequel. Where did this come from? The whole premise of the first film was that Jason died. Oh, and he lives in a shack and is developmentally challenged.
There are a few other differences here that foreshadow the quick downward spiral of the series. There's more nudity and fewer undergarments for one. My husband was trying to remember if he'd seen this before. One shot of cheek-exposing Daisy Dukes and he affirmed, "I definitely remember seeing this." There seem to be more continuity errors here, as well.
The acting is slightly better here than in the first film and the music is definitely improved. The creep factor is inferior, however, due mostly to the increased on-screen time of the villain, as opposed to the POV shots in Part I. The mystery of the killer's identity as suspense builder has been replaced by cheap shots like a cat jumping out of nowhere. More viscerally scary, but not as satisfying. The ending, also, is inferior to both the first and even the third installments. In those chapters, you got an ending that was kind of spooky. In this one, that hallmark of the Friday the 13th films (the trick ending where reality and illusion commingle) is disappointing.
TThe production values of this installment are much higher than the first movie. The print is better, as is the sound. Unfortunately, Part II is also presented in Dolby Mono.
To quote from the review of the first movie: "This disc is very bare-bones. The menu consists strictly of play, setup, trailer, and scene selection. So, the only real extra is the trailer. It may be the most annoying trailer I've ever seen. '1...' [Scene of someone about to bite it] '2...' [Scene of someone else about to bite it] '3...' You get the idea. 13 times. Wow."
What this trailer adds, though, is an inflated body count from the first movie. They say 12 people died, intimating that the survivor is lucky 13. All tolled, there were 11 deaths in the first movie, 9 attributable to the killer. I hate it when sequels take liberties with their predecessors.
So, yeah, no real extras. Why Paramount didn't take advantage of the resurging horror movie cult and release decent DVDs is beyond me.
Lisa McInnis, 10/25/00