When the first Friday the 13th film proved to be a hit, the studio naturally made plans for a new one, to be released the year after.
There was only one problem: there wasn't any room in the story for a sequel. The killer in the first film died in way that is very difficult to come back from, even for antagonists of slasher films, and there was no one left to take up the machete. Logically, there was just no way to continue.
The movie starts shortly after the events of the first film, where Mrs. Voorhees stopped the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake by murdering the camp counselors, in revenge for her son, Jason, who 20 years ago drowned while his guardians were having sex.
However, it turns out Jason didn't drown after all! He survived — somehow — and has actually been living in seclusion for the past two decades. For some reason. Since he was 8 years old. Look, just go with it, okay?
After avenging his mother's death by killing the last movie's Final Girl, Alice, in the first 15 minutes of the movie, he resurfaces five years later, when another entrepreneur is preparing to open a new summer camp in the woods next to Crystal Lake.
Jason begins stalking and murdering the counselors at this new camp, because, uh... it's what his mother would have wanted?
Blatant retcons and plot contrivances aside, this film was still a success due to the magic combination of nudity and gore, opening the way to a massive franchise and introducing a character that would eventually become one of the most iconic in horror fiction.
This film has examples of:
- The Alleged Car: Ginny's car, which works as a justification for the My Car Hates Me moment later on.
- All Men Are Perverts: Scott, who hits on Terry by hitting her in the butt with a slingshot and later steals her clothes while she skinny-dips.
- Axe Before Entering: When Ginny barricades herself inside Jason's shrine, he starts attacking the door with a mining pick.
- Bare Your Midriff: Terry.
- Black Dude Dies First: Completely averted. Among the extra six counselors at the camp, one is a black man and another an Asian woman. Not only do they not die first, they don't die at all, as they're away from camp when Jason sets out to kill the counselors that stayed back at camp.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Ginny wets herself while trying to hide from Jason, not because he might catch her though, but because she saw a rat. According to the director, though, it was the rat who peed (which is a awful lot of urine for a rat).
- Bury Your Disabled: Mark's fate.
- Cat Scare: Random cat scares Alice before Jason "picks" her.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: As in the first film, police officers don't arrive at the campgrounds until well after Jason has slaughtered everyone except for the Final Girl and been seen off himself.
- Caught in a Snare: Scott is caught in a snare and his throat is slashed by Jason while he's hanging upside down.
- Chainsaw Good: Ginny brandishes a chainsaw briefly to defend herself.
- Subverted when as soon as the chain makes contact it snags on Jason's sleeve and stalls.
- Chairman of the Brawl: Ginny breaks a chair over Jason's head. Then she runs away.
- Chekhov's Gun: The chainsaw is seen early on in the film being put into a closet, which Ginny uses to defend herself from Jason with later on.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ginny's child psychology studies.
- Covers Always Lie: The poster and home video art show Jason's silhouette holding an axe. Jason doesn't use an axe in this movie.
- Crosscast Role: Jason's legs in the beginning of the movie is that of a Ellen Lutter, the only time in the franchise Jason was played by a woman. It was a wardrobe test that ended up going so well they decided to use the footage instead of re-filming it.
- Dangerous Windows: Ginny tries to escape by going though a window, but Jason is way ahead of her and tries to grab her through it.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Ginny impersonates Jason's mother to distract him long enough to strike him with a machete.
- Death by Sex/Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jeff and Sandra get a spear shoved through the both of them during sex.
- Decoy Protagonist: Alice bites it in the first scene.
- Jeff and Sandra also seem to be introduced as the protagonists until Ginny is introduced, when the story follows her.
- Dramatic Thunder: Used when we get the first good look on masked Jason.
- Drop the Hammer: Jason kills the unnamed officer by hitting him in the head with the sharp end of a claw hammer.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This is the first appearance of Jason Voorhees, and as such a lot of what's attributed to the character doesn't exist yet. Besides the total lack of his hockey mask, this Jason is still a far cry from the Made of Iron Implacable Man he will become famous for. Justified, as he's still a normal person instead of the later films' supernatural creature.
- Fade to White: A quick one follows Mark's death.
- Feet-First Introduction: The film starts with a closeup on some kid's feet, who's jumping in rain puddles. After the kid is called away by her mother, the camera starts following Jason's footsteps as he closes in on Alice's apartment.
- Final Girl: Ginny.
- Flashback Nightmare: Opening shows Alice having nightmare's from the first film's events.
- Gender-Blender Name: Terry.
- Ghost Story: The basic outline of Jason and certain elements from both the start of the film and the last film (namely, the death of Mrs. Voorhees and the mysterious disappearance of Alice) are recounted around a campfire as one of these.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Scott does this to Terry when she goes for a night swim.
- Groin Attack: Ginny kicks Jason in the balls.
- Hand of Death: The close-up on the spear during the Death by Sex scene.
- Hand-or-Object Underwear: When Terry comes out of the water for the above mentioned swim and realizes her clothes were missing, she crosses her arms over her chest. Apparently, the fact that her bare groin was out of frame was enough to cover that too.
- Hostile Weather: It starts raining and thundering around the time when Jason starts killing those who stayed in the camp and didn't go to town.
- Killed Offscreen: We dont see what happens to Terry.
- Living Prop: Many counselors have no lines or names.
- Male Gaze: We get a long camera shot centered on Terry's behind.
- Ms. Fanservice: Terry. Revealing clothing? Check. No bra on cold nights? Check. Gratuitous skinny dipping scene? Ooh, yeah.
- Sandra to a lesser degree. She also wears no bra, but her breasts are larger, so we also get some nice Gainaxing. She also has a lengthy scene in just a bikini top and short shorts. She originally had a full frontal scene, just like Terry, but then the film makers found out Marta Kober was 16 and naturally cut the scene out.
- To an even lesser degree, Vickie gets this. She shows her underwear and then shows some lower frontal nudity for some extra Fanservice.
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: Jason keeps his mother's severed head around.
- Next Sunday A.D.: Released in 1981, it takes place five years after the original.
- Novelization: By Simon Hawke.
- Out with a Bang: Jeff and Sandra.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Ginny finds Crazy Ralph's corpse in a closet.
- The Peeping Tom: Crazy Ralph while watching Ginny and Paul.
- Powerful Pick: Jason's very first kill in the second movie is Alice, the Final Girl of the first movie, whom he kills with an ice pick. His third kill is with a mining pick, when the nameless officer foolishly chases him all the way to his own cabin. Finally, as mentioned above, Jason tries to use a mining pick to break through to kill Ginny.
- Precision F-Strike: "Paul there's someone in this fucking room!"
- Previously On : The film opens with Alice having a nightmare about the climax of the previous film. The flashback sequence lasts six-and-a-half minutes.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Alice's role is so small because Adrienne King was suffering trouble from a Loony Fan who was stalking her, prompting her to abandon her acting career.
- Sackhead Slasher: When Jason first took up the machete he wore a sack with a single eyehole tied around his neck with a bit of rope to hide his monstrous deformity. It wasn't until the next movie, Friday the 13th Part III, that he would receive his iconic hockey mask.
- Stalker Shrine: Jason has one for his mother, which also doubles as his Trophy Room.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The two surviving characters from the first movie (Alice and Crazy Ralph) are Jason's victims number one and two.
- Summer Campy: The movie takes place at a training session for camp counselors. The trainees act as irresponsibly as the little children they'll be taking care of.
- Super Window Jump: Jason performs it in the end. Or does he?
- Surprise Checkmate: Paul Holt and Ginny Field are playing chess. Paul takes one of her pieces, puts her in check and tells her that he thinks he's got her. She takes the piece that he just moved (cancelling the check) and checkmates him. How did he fail to notice not only that (a) she had a piece that could take his but (b) she could checkmate him by doing so?
- Token Minority: One black dude and a Asian lady (who have no lines) can be seen among the counselors.
- Too Dumb to Live: Vicky and Ginny. First, Vicky gets "cornered" by Jason, the door is right next to her, then Jason starts walking really slow towards her. What does she do? Stare at him. Then, comes Ginny. While fighting Jason, she grabs a chainsaw and gets him on the ground, but then, she grabs a chair instead, rams it on his head, and runs away.
- Granted, Ginny gets way, way better.
- Also, in fairness, the chainsaw runs out of gas before she can do much damage against him.
- Tuckerization: Ginny Field is named after the film's production designer Virginia Field, who also worked on the first film.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The exact fate of Paul. It largely depends on whether or not the final Jump Scare at the end was real, or a Dream Sequence.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: Terry wears short shorts.