blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981, Steve Miner)

When director Miner finally does a decent sequence in Friday the 13th Part 2, it comes as something of a surprise. Amy Steel is on the run from the masked killer and, even though it’s stupid, it’s somewhat effective. Steel probably gives the film’s best performance (she’s still not any good) and Ron Kurz’s script gives her the most to do. She’s about the only character in the film who thinks. It’s kind of amazing how inept Kurz and Miner are at giving actors character motivation.

But Miner’s sort of off-step throughout the entire film. For the majority of Part 2–Miner shows the killer by his or her legs. Except the viewer isn’t trying to ascertain the killer’s identity, so why be so coy. Because it’s manipulative. It’s also a waste of time.

Miner also doesn’t seem comfortable spending much time with the potential victims. The constant cutting to the killer on the prowl drags the viewer away from any empathic connection to the characters in danger. Many of the directors of other films who Miner rips off here have successfully employed such devices.

There are a couple likable enough actors, Bill Randolph and Marta Kober, and Stuart Charno tries so hard to be annoyingly lovable one has to appreciate the gusto. Unfortunately, in the most obnoxious role, John Furey also gives a rather bad performance.

Harry Manfredini seems confused on the music, which doesn’t help.

Part 2 is artistically bankrupt and incredibly pointless, but does move well.

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