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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Friday the 13th Part 2 is a 1981 slasher movie in which Jason emerges to murder a group of teen camp counselors in training. Unsurprisingly, characters are murdered in a number of violent ways, with a variety of implements -- barbed wire, a knife, a spear, a machete, a hammer. Recently murdered bodies found bloodied in beds, or hanging upside down, or decapitated. Obligatory jump scares are frequent. Gratuitous sex scenes -- full-frontal nudity of a woman who goes skinny dipping, close-ups of the backside of women in short-shorts, a shot of a woman's nipples poking through her sweater, and scenes of characters before and after having sex. Occasional profanity, including "f---king" used once. Binge drinking in a bar, marijuana smoking at the camp.
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What's the story?
In FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, a fun-loving group of hedonistic teens arrive to attend a camp counselor training camp near Crystal Lake. On the first night, while sitting around a campfire, Paul, who is in charge of training the camp counselors, tells of the murders that transpired five years before in a nearby camp, and the rumors that Jason Voorhees, the boy who was thought to have drowned in the 1950s and whose death was being avenged by his mother in the recent killings, still stalks the surrounding woods, killing anyone who crosses his path. He concludes the tale by assuring them that the area is now safe. Two of the counselors, Jeff and Sandra, decide to check out Camp Crystal Lake, now closed, to see firsthand where the killings took place, but they are stopped by a local deputy. After returning them to the camp, the deputy starts to drive back to town, but then sees a mysterious figure crossing the road and into the woods. The deputy goes deep into the woods, where he finds a rundown shack, and as he explores its insides, he's killed with a hammer claw. Meanwhile, while some of the counselors go into town for one last night of fun before the serious training begins, others stay behind and begin to get murdered in the woods or in their beds. Paul and his assistant, Ginny, return to the camp and as they start to realize what happened, Jason appears and chases them into the woods. Ginny discovers the shack in the woods, and inside, sees the shrine Jason has made to his dead mother, with her old clothes and severed head. Now knowing that this killer is in fact Jason, Ginny resorts to a desperate gamble to outsmart Jason and put a stop to the killing.
Is it any good?
When people think of bad sequels in movie franchises that wore out their welcome and insulted everyone's intelligence, the Friday the 13th franchise wins the prize. That said, Friday the 13th Part 2 is still early enough in what would be twelve increasingly ridiculous sequels to have a somewhat coherent storyline rooted in at least a tiny bit of logical suspension of disbelief. The gratuitous sex and violence were typical of the times, when Hollywood churned out so many horror or "party" movies to appeal to the teen market of the early 1980s, and there's a kind of period charm to it amid scenes of bloody murder by assorted implements.
There is a story, or at least a premise, that occasionally shows up in the movie, but this is essentially a textbook example of a slasher horror movie, with the obligatory jump scares, tense music, nudity to fill in the down time, and lots of blood. When it was first released, it's safe to say that "the big reveal" that Jason is the killer surprised no one, and now, decades later as the name Jason Voorhees is now an internationally-recognized icon of both horror and cynically dumb sequels, there's literally no shock in what Ginny and Paul discover in the shack in the woods. All that's left, all these years later, is an average slasher movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the "slasher" subgenre of horror movies. What do you think is the continued appeal of these movies?
How does Friday the 13th Part 2 use "jump scares," music, and the camera shots intended to represent Jason's point of view to build suspense before the characters are murdered?
How does the movie portray teen drinking, drug use, sex? Is it realistic?
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