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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/31/00

Friday the 13th, Part 2
1981 (1999) - Paramount

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Friday the 13th, Part 2 Film Rating: D

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B-/D-

Specs and Features

86 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (14 chapters), languages: English and French (DD mono), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

Make way for Jason! It seems the original Friday the 13th had barely made it into theatres before work began on a sequel. Friday had proven its worth by doing "killer" business at the box-office, making back Paramount's $700,000 investment several times over. For Round Two, Master Jason takes the hot seat and becomes the center of attention. With a new killer at the helm, could Friday the 13th, Part 2 live up to the expectations set by the first film? Well... sure it could. What kind of expectations can you put on a low-budget follow-up to a low-budget rip-off?

The initial scene of Friday the 13th, Part 2 picks up just a few months after the events of the original film... and quickly dispenses with the one remaining survivor from the first film. Most of this scene consists of footage from the first film, mixed into a God awful flashback/dream sequence. Then story moves ahead five years. Naturally, another hapless group of teens is trying their hand at running Camp Blood. It hasn't been that long since the first killing spree, but the kids seem to think that it was all some sort of urban legend, and Jason and Mrs. Voorhees are only campfire tales. Just like the first Friday the 13th, these teens are really unmemorable. There's no way to remember who's who. They're introduced and make their presence on-screen just long enough to get slaughtered in as nasty a manner as possible. There's so many teens, in fact, that director Steve Miner completely forgets about six or seven of them by the end of the film! What happens to them? The world may never know...

Friday the 13th, Part 2 has a similar look to the first film, but is more intense. Almost right away in Part 2, we're treated to pumped-up gore factor and more elaborate means of killing and torture. Miner has since gone on to direct other scary things (like Halloween H20, Lake Placid and Dawson's Creek), and he does okay here as well. But the problem is that there's just no story. You have counselors, you have Jason and you have a camp, but there's nothing to bring it all together. The budget here is obviously all in the gore effects, with little else to show for the money spent. The film has its scary moments, but they are so far apart (with nothing to tide you over between them), that any possible effectiveness is lost. After a while, as a viewer, it just becomes a chore to hang in until the end.

Friday the 13th, Part 2 looks about as good on DVD as the first one does. Color reproduction and saturation is solid and accurate with little bleed. Flesh tones and black levels are also rendered accurately, and shadow detailing seems to be a little more defined than on the first film. There is also a small amount of grain plaguing the picture, but it's a little less noticeable, as this print is in fairly good condition. Both edge enhancement and artifacting become an issue from time to time, but otherwise, this is a nice anamorphic widescreen picture. The audio is also acceptable. The film's original monaural soundtrack is intact here, with all the limitations you'd expect from a mono track - little bass, slightly tinny sound and limited range. Still, it's a very clean mix, with clear dialogue, and it's free of distortion or hiss.

The extras here are of the same near-nonexistent type that is the Paramount norm. The theatrical trailer is cropped to 1.33:1. It's kind of scratchy and dirty looking, but it's there. And it gives away as much of the "plot" as the trailer for the original Friday the 13th film.

Friday the 13th, Part 2 is a mindless and gory little flick. It has near zero entertainment value (beyond carnage and cheap thrills) and adds little to the series as a whole (outside of the introduction of Jason as the killer). It's also too short to be of consequence - its 86 minute running time consists of about 7 minutes worth of flashbacks and 3 or 4 minutes of opening and closing credits. It's not really essential to the series, but chances are that if you liked the first, there will be a few scenes here to grab your attention. This is a relatively good looking and sounding DVD, and it's one that Friday the 13th fans will no doubt want in their collections. Otherwise, there's probably nothing here for the casual viewer.

Dan Kelly
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