This one begins in the apartment of Alice, the heroine of part I. After finding the shrivelling head of Mrs. Voorhees in her refrigerator, Alice gets an icepick through the temple. You know what I realized upon seeing this today? That whole sequence means that Jason tracked her down. Yes, I may be slow on the uptake, but let me say it again- Jason tracked her down! He somehow found out where she lived, left the woods, went to her apartment, and killed her there. Whoa. Jason can get you in your house? That breaks all the rules, doesn't it? I thought he could only kill me if I stumbled across/had sex in his stomping grounds. Of course, this idea is pretty much abandoned for the rest of the series, I believe.
I, like many people, was under the impression that Jason actually did drown way back in '58 and then somehow came back to life to go on his rampage. After watching Part II today, though, I buy the explanation given by Ginny (Amy Steel) in the bar: Jason did NOT drown, which is why his body was never recovered from the lake. He ran off and grew up like some kind of Beast Boy in the woods, surviving on wild animals and berries or whatever. Seeing his mother killed triggered the revenge gene that obviously runs in the family (how Jason becomes unkillable, well, that doesn't need explaining, does it?). That said, this is my favorite version of Jason. While he's lacking the hulking, menacing body of Kane Hodder (parts VII-X), here he's a crazy, deformed, wilderness/mountain man with a bag over his head- he's much more real than the unstoppable psycho he'd become, and to me, much more scary.
Standing right next to Laurie Strode on the Stacie's Number 1 Fave Final Girl podium is Ginny, and it's not only because I have a huge, unabiding crush on Amy Steel. No, It's because Ginny is smart, creative, and strong. Like I said in some post a long time ago, she gets proactive in her fight against the killer instead of simply waiting to be rescued: she hides on him then kicks him in the goodies, she comes at him with a chainsaw, she puts on the stinky old sweater of his dead mother to trick him, then uses the machete on him. I'd probably just wait to be rescued. The fact that Amy Steel can act helps infinitely- like Jamie Lee Curtis, she doesn't just scream. She actually makes you believe she's scared- from the way she stops, looks around and listens, to the way she delivers lines, like my favorite:"Paul, there's someone in this room. Paul, there's someone in this fucking room!".
The counsellors, unfortunately, have become by this point nothing but a body count- in this instance, 9. They're nameless, exceedingly horny, frequently naked, and get killed in an alarmingly quick fashion. The scares are few, despite what I thought all those years ago when I saw this at the drive-in with my parents. In a reversal of the usual, the movie actually gets scarier once the killer is revealed. Jason's one eye peering at you through the sack as he raises a pitchfork is still effective. The ending is particularly weak, as it cuts away at the height of action- Jason has just jumped through a window at Ginny and Paul- to what amounts to no resolution at all. I suppose this is to, obviously, set up another sequel, but still, it's a let down. I don't care if the killer gets away at the end, but at least show me what happens.
The best part of this whole endeavor may be the title sequence, when the Friday the 13th logo blows up to reveal "Part II". Well, that and Amy Steel, of course.