Friday the 13th 2 (1981)

A slight improvement over the occasionally stiff original, this direct sequel is surprisingly inventive both with its premise and the various deaths. As with the first movie, it makes effective use of the isolated setting and heightens the tension using natural phenomena like wind and rain, which establishes a surprisingly oppressive atmosphere. In addition, the aforementioned death scenes are grisly thanks to first-rate makeup work, which has the added bonus of making the film occasionally feel like a walk through a funhouse, much like the original. Amy Steel is an effective final girl here, able to defend herself and think on her feet, and her final confrontation with Jason is memorably eerie.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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