Friday the 13th Part 2: Deluxe Edition
Directed by Steve Miner
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 86 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, 2.0 mono English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
MSRP: $ 16.99
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Review Date: January 26, 2009
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the original creators of Friday the 13th should have been feeling the compliments down to their toes. Friday the 13th Part 2 is as close to a copycat of the original concept as it’s possible for a film to be. Meaner and leaner, but already feeling repetitive and predictable, Friday the 13th Part 2 takes what was fun about the scares and surprises of the original and cheapens and demeans them resulting in a rather depressing film with a nihilistic aura that‘s fundamentally oppressive.
The film’s first six minutes rehashes the climactic story of Alice Hardy (Adrienne King) who was the sole survivor of the Camp Crystal Lake slaughter in the original film. The rest of the pre-credit sequence dispenses with her before moving on into the new story set five years later with another group of counselor wannabes being trained at the same lake (but a different camp) with a mysterious stalker tromping through the woods spying on their every move. As with the first film, various pairs of lovers hook up during the evening, some meeting their maker together while others go it alone. Because some leave the camp for a night of drinking in town, they’re spared the knife, spear, or machete, but most aren’t so lucky.
Ron Kurz’s screenplay is not solidly constructed. We’re given no background on how Jason survived during those decades when he was thought to be dead by his mother, nor does he or director Steve Miner play exactly fair with the geography of the camp layout or with the staging and shooting of various murders. With the execution of the wheelchair bound Mark (Tom McBride), for example, we are put in Jason’s point of view creeping up behind him, but when the camera turns around to film Mark from the front, there’s no one there, impossible if Jason was as close as his point of view shots indicate. In fact, Miner uses Jason point of view shots so much that it amounts to overkill (no pun intended) in the film quickly turning those potentially suspenseful moments into clichéd irritations. The ending with the film’s two nominal stars (Amy Steel as Ginny Field and John Furey as camp head Paul Holt) is a thoroughly botched affair with Furey’s fate unclear (we assume he’s dead but why not make it clear; for a film that revels in gory killings, why not take advantage of every opportunity?).
In the bonus features, we learn that original director Sean Cunningham and original creator Victor King had a different idea completely for a continuation of the franchise but that Paramount would have none of it; the studio only wanted to offer more of the same bloodletting that had been so popular the first time around. Paramount got its way and the great box-office returns, but it missed what could have transformed the franchise into something special and instead turned it into a formulaic grab bag of violence, of continuing interest only to fans of slasher films and gore.
The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Though some low lit scenes bring out a heavy amount of grain and murkiness, much of the picture is very sharp with surprisingly impressive color, accurate flesh tones, and very good black levels. A couple of early shots are smeared and look dated, but once those pass, most of the remaining images are impressive indeed. The film is divided into 14 chapters.
The English tracks offer a choice between a remastered mono recording and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The mono track is solid and may be the track of choice for purists. I listened mostly to the repurposed 5.1 Dolby track. Though a few ambient sounds are sent to the rear channels (mostly rain effects) and the music occasionally lands there, too, most of the soundfield is spread across the front three channels with dialog expectedly turning up in the center channel. The LFE channel might as well not exist for this title.
“Inside Crystal Lake Memories” is an interview with author-critic Peter Bracke whose book Crystal Lake Memories celebrates all that is Friday the 13th. Though lasting 11 ¼ minutes and filmed in anamorphic widescreen, the interview only scratches the surface with information on the second entry in the series. Some good information is here, but one wishes it were two or three times the length offered.
“Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions” is a 6 ¾-minute featurette on Scarefest, a horror convention which featured many participants from the Friday the 13th series of films. It’s also in anamorphic widescreen.
“Lost Tales from Camp Blood - Part 2” is a continuation from the Deluxe Edition of the first film, part two of an unnecessary and not very pleasant little slasher short this time finding a stranded couple wandering through the woods attacked by a killer. The 9-minute feature is presented in anamorphic widescreen.
“Jason Forever” is a 29 ½-minute panel discussion hosted by Peter Bracke and held at the 2004 Fangoria horror festival. Four actors who have played Jason over the years comment about their experiences playing the character with clips from each of their appearances in the films. It’s presented in 4:3.
The film’s original theatrical trailer is presented in anamorphic widescreen and runs for 2 ¼ minutes.
Not very original and not nearly as playful and entertaining as the original film, Friday the 13th Part 2 gets a very good DVD transfer in this Deluxe Edition with some acceptable bonus features adding extra value.