Friday The 13th Part 2: Deluxe Edition
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (21st March 2009).
The Film

As an original copycat, “Friday the 13th” (1980) proves that horror just might be one of the most profitable genres, not to say they gross as much as big budget action films, but dollar for dollar they’re cheap to make, fun to watch and thus bring in loads of cash to the financers through audiences looking for the garanteed kills. “Friday the 13th” sets itself up for some later action, but on it’s own doesn’t bring much more to the table than a slightly gorier, less nude, more poorly directed “Halloween” (1978) knock-off with some good movies to be born from it’s… I know what you’re thinking. Hey, haven’t I read this review before? Isn’t this the same way he started the "Friday the 13th" review? (Either that or why is he interjecting himself in the second person, I haven’t read the other review). Consider it a creative reinterpretation of the “Friday the 13th” series, following the typical formula for the horror franchise sequel by using the exact material of the last chapter of the previous film as the basis for a completely new story (except for “The Evil Dead” trilogy (1981-1992) and their mastery of slightly altering the story itself to create a new plot). The first film ends without a one hundred percent solid closer, or even if it does, the next film starts up with one connecting protagonist again in the mix, set up again with the return of a killer foe (though almost always with a new twist to the killer).

“Friday the 13th Part 2” is no different as it picks back up shortly after the events of the first film with Alice (Adrienne King), the final girl and killer of Mrs. Voorhees, is having nightmares about her experiences at Camp Crystal Lake and soon a mysterious killer breaks into her house and finishes her off. Years later, another group of camp councilors are meeting at Crystal Lake at a councilor training retreat at another camp, when they receive some of the same warnings from local crazies, but waive them off as the Camp Crystal Lake killer has already died. Soon though, locals who tried to warn the youths away from Crystal Lake die at the hands of the same figure that killed Alice, while the councilors ignore the warnings and continue their fun. One night as a large group of them head in to town for a night out, the six councilors left behind start getting picked off, but as Ginny (Amy Steele) and Paul (John Furey) return from town early to rejoin their fellow councilors they have to deal with Jason.

As the first sequel in the series, it would be tough to see how much fun the rest of the movies could become as this second installment doesn’t really do much more than the first, other than introduce Jason as the primary antagonist. In terms of pure formula, the film parallels the first fairly well all the way down to the twists and turns of the ending of the film, though with a little more psychology. I thought it was interesting that they would make the final girl use more of her education in order to combat Jason, but it seems like such a toss away gag in the larger scheme of her battle with Jason that it kind of ruins the point.

But of course with a sequel in a formula horror series, the major new additions are going to be new characters and new deaths. Of course the character development is lacking, but you don’t necessarily need that since with this sort of slasher series you mostly look at the character development surrounding the final characters (which becomes obvious fairly quickly as they get the most screen time or a bit more backstory than the rest of the charcters, though some films like “Hostel” (2006) have succeeded or tried pulling a twisty switch of the survivor). With the new deaths, you can notice the lack of Tom Savini since the effects aren’t held up as artistic points of the film, rather they’re more aimed at being a jump and scream effect than a prolonged engagement with the effect. There seems to be less joy put into the film in terms of how Jason was annihilating these youths. Okay so the wheelchair machete to the face was cool, but a simple garrote behind a tree? Not very Jason, it doesn’t have enough pointed edges or blood.

However this film does have a bit more comedy and nudity than the first film, starting to show where many other films will trend towards, but since most of my laughter comes from poorly acted and awkward sequences, such as the slingshot to the butt hanging from fart too short shorts near the beginning, it’s hard to say that the film intentionally tries to be funny for the right reasons. While some scenes may have intended to be funny, it probably wasn’t in the ways that will make you laugh.

Overall the second film in the series is more disappointing than the first as you get ready for the Jason you may have come to known in the later films, the one that can’t resist a sleeping bag, as well as a slower and less interesting look at the camp councilor at Crystal Lake scenario. It will take a little bit longer for producers to realize that the 2 keys are really Jason killing just before the end, and a prolonged battle with the killer to round out the film, rather than slower banter that shouldn’t go anywhere.

Video

The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and the transfer quality isn’t terribly great. Though it does a good job of catching the cheap and campy tone that the film gives off, there wasn’t nearly as much care put into the transfer to try and clear things up while still maintaining that feel, rather almost feeling like an upconverted VHS (if that makes any sense). There’s a big label on the DVD that says it was mastered in high-definition, but it’s hard to tell as the DVD still looks low quality on an upconverting player, especially in the night time scenes of the film.

Audio

Presented in a English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 mono tracks in English, French and Spanish, and much like the video the packaging boasts this new surround mix, but still the sound is off and sounds even a bit muted, almost like tissue paper’s been taped to the front of the speakers. The score and the dialogue are balanced well in terms of levels, but for a surround mix it almost feels like they just pumped mono into every speaker so it’s a bit louder, but there’s no movement or extra feeling generated by the surround mix.
Optional subtitles are included in English, French and Spanish.

Extras

Like the previous “Deluxe Edition” release of the first “Friday the 13th” film, the second installment comes with a handful of featurettes, a short film and the original theatrical trailer, though is noticeably lacking an audio commentary track that helps to make these editions more worth it.

“Inside ‘Crystal Lake Meomories’” runs for 11 minutes and 16 seconds. In this featurette Del Howison, a horror store owner interviews Peter Bracke, the author of “Crystal Lake Memories” which chronicles the “Friday the 13th” series and the incredible amount of research that he did. It seems a bit of an advertisement for the book, but that isn’t necessarily a detractor as the book sounds interesting and it’s interesting to hear a bit more from Bracke after the commentary on the first film. Yet the interview feels heavily edited and off, it may have been better to have Bracke do a commentary track for the film, rather than just this brief interview that talks through points that series fans may already know.

“Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions” runs for 6 minutes and 50 seconds. This featurette covers different horror conventions and the fandom that has emerged from the whole series. It’s a bit interesting to see the fan aspect of it, but this featurette almost feels like it didn’t fit on the first DVD set as everyone from the reunion featurette on the “Friday the 13th” Deluxe Edition appear on the clip, probably because they were both filmed at the same convention. A nice featurette, but how it connects to “Part 2” is a bit off.

“Jason Forever” runs for 29 minutes and 35 seconds. This featurette comes from the Box Set release of “Friday the 13th” but was only available as a special bonus disc at Best Buy retailers, so now it’s restored to a wider release. Pulling 4 of the different actors who portrayed Jason, (Ari Lehman, Warrington Gillette, C.J. Graham and Kane Hodder) this is a recording of a panel discussion from a fangoria convention interspliced with more studio interviews and photos. It’s an interesting panel and cool to hear from the different Jasons, especially seeing where all of the different actors wound up.

“Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part II” runs for 8 minutes and 55 seconds. This sequel to the first short film picks up basically where the first one left off, continuing the pseudo "Friday the 13th" trend, but again it isn’t terribly successful. It feels like a student film that was made for a last minute assignment, it doesn’t quite reach the fan film level as there’s a level of caring that the actors and the directing don’t quite reach. I wish they wod have used the room on the disc for some more featurettes or even a commentary track.

Finally the theatrical trailer for “Friday the 13th Part 2” runs for 2 minutes and 14 seconds.

Overall

The Film: D- Video: C Audio: C- Extras: C- Overall: D+

 


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