FRIDAY THE 13TH: PART II
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Amy Steel, John
Furey, Adrienne King
Director: Steve Miner
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 86 Minutes
Release Date: February 3, 2009
“I told the others, they didn't believe me. You're all doomed. YOU’RE ALL DOOMED!”
I mentioned in my review of the original Friday the 13th that it was perceived as nothing more than a clone of Halloween, and released as a way of cashing in on that film’s success. Ironically enough, both movies got sequels released in 1981. It was pretty much a sign of things to come from any successful horror movie.
Halloween II, the only decent sequel of that series, succeeded in that it further advanced the story of Michael Myers’ reign of terror, where as Friday the 13th Part 2 comes across as a simple retread of the first movie. Even though a new killer is born in this installment and catches up to the lone survivor in the opening scene, there’s absolutely nothing significant about this entry in the series…except maybe for a few neat little grisly kills.
After the opening title sequence, the movie carries a here-we-go-again vibe right from the first frame. Five years after the bloody massacre at Camp Crystal Lake, a bunch of teens gather for some summer fun at camp counselor’s training grounds located basically a hop, skip and a jump from the area now dubbed as “Camp Blood”. In other words, the 2nd stupidest idea next to actually setting foot on Crystal Lake itself.
The head of the training staff, Paul Holt (John Furey), warns his group of trainees not to wander over to Camp Blood. Of course, that doesn’t work whatsoever. In fact, it inspires a number of these smart individuals to explore it. What can’t prevent any right-minded viewer who watches this and say to the screen, “Yeah, you people expect to die.”
Granted, this was 28 years ago when the slasher formula was just getting established. And as it stands, many fans seem to rate Part 2 as one of the best installments in the series. I can’t fault them on that opinion, simply because I’ve never been a hardcore Friday the 13th fan.
But I did watch this not too long after first seeing the original many years back and even then I didn’t feel as thoroughly frightened like I did after watching its predecessor. After seeing the first Friday, I actually never wanted to venture outside in the dark for a period of time. But we do get the expected nasty kills in this sequel, including the graphic killing of a wheelchair bound character in what seems like an attempt to outdo a similar scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
I also remember laughing more at the movie this time around, clearly indicating that I’m more mature in my movie going these days. An early scene, where a town cop spots a suspicious figure in the woods and gives chase for what feels like a good five minutes before his inevitable demise in a vacant shack, was really testing my funny bone’s patience. And when the last surviving member of the teen clan, who happens to be a child psychology major, comes face to face with Jason (hooded, not hockey masked), she puts her future college degree to some good, if somewhat unconvincing use.
While the series has seen much worse (Part 5, anyone?), I can’t say that Friday the 13th Part 2 is successful in the attempt to take the series in any new direction. Strangely enough, a couple of sequels would succeed in basically re-hashing the formula established by the first movie. One, in particular, did it even better, but more on that sequel when I get around to it!
As the case with the first Friday movie, this is my first time seeing Part 2 on DVD. Though I can’t compare it to the quality of its first DVD release, I can say that the presentation is a step up from the one I encountered with the original movie. Despite some slight grain here and there, the anamorphic picture is mostly clear, crisp and complete with nice detail, especially for a release from 1981.
The big selling point for these new Deluxe Edition releases is unquestionably the remastered sound. The new 5.1 mix adds quite a lot of bite to the movie. Once again, the lively fright score by Harry Manfredini is thunderous throughout the movie. Also, the sound mix takes great advantage, as it did with the first one, with camp settings in that just about every little background noise is heard in the many scenes when someone is alone, or rather NOT alone, in the woods.
Paramount, once again, does not disappoint with this new Deluxe Edition release, which comes equipped with a stellar looking 3D lenticular slip cover. In the way of extras we get three neat featurettes, starting with “Inside Crystal Lake Memories”, an informative interview segment with author and fan Peter M. Bracke, “Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions”, which features footage from a 2008 Scare Fest convention, and “Jason Forever”, which runs almost a half hour and features footage from a 2004 Fangoria convention where four of the actors who played Jason are interviewed and do a Q&A with the audience. Lastly, we get the concluding segment of the short, “Lost Tales from Camp Blood” and a Theatrical Trailer.
Though it does mark the official arrival of Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th Part 2 is otherwise a mostly mediocre entry in the long running horror film series. However, I do encourage all die hard fans of the franchise to seek out the new Deluxe Edition release. The packaging and extras alone are quite worth it.