Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Stu Charno
Directed by Steve Miner
Released by Paramount Home Entertainment
Man it’s been a long time since I sat down with these movies, so maybe that’s why I’m best to be reviewing them and the job Paramount did with their latest DVD releases. Or maybe it’s because I’m more cynical and bitter now, but can still see the fun in mindless slashing.
Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, a group of would-be counslers head out to a camp adjacent to Camp Crystal Lake for some “counselor training”. Of course their proximity to Crystal Lake puts them in the sites of Jason Voorhees, who somehow managed to grow from deformed child to deformed adult in five years. I’ve heard of growth spurts, but that’s just ridiculous. Moving on…
Sadly, one of the first to go is the “It’s got a death curse!” guy from the first film, so there’s not even a chance of a red herring this time out. Jason starts picking off the kids one by one almost immediately, even laying a trap or two for them to prove he’s been living in the woods all this time and knows who to catch his prey. This may be the only Friday film that actually shows Jason’s home, at least that I recall (as I said, it’s been a while), where he keeps all his stuff, including the now-desiccated severed head of his beloved mother.
It takes child psychologist Ginny (Steel) to figure out that she can talk to him and maybe get him to listen if he thinks she’s his mother, donning the disgusting sweater and all, but her plan fails when he catches on that she’s trying to kill him. Maybe asking him to genuflect and raising a machete above his head wasn’t the best way to earn his trust?
Friday 2 is filled with all kinds of neat deaths, most of which were cut to shit by the MPAA as were all the Friday films, but why did the poor guy in the wheelchair have to not only fall down one set of stairs after getting a machete in the head, but a second set that was three times as long? As if his luck weren’t shit enough, since he was just about to get laid, too! How did the MPAA let that slide past their watchful eye?
Being able to revisit it, I’m happy to say I really enjoyed this sequel. They didn’t spend too much time trying to establish elaborate backstorys for any of Jason’s fodder, but instead gave just enough info for you to kind of care before they were killed off. For the most part the pacing was good, too, though the over reliance on slow-mo took me out of the proceedings more than once.
Does it hold up to modern day slashers? Yes and no. In a sense it does because it knows that it’s a movie about a maniac killing people in interesting ways, and its focus is on setting up those kills. Today’s slasher films usually acknowledge that, as well, but feel you have to be really involved with the character’s drama before you watch them fight off the killer, which always mucks things up and makes it less fun. Friday 2’s pacing may be off in some spots, but it knows what it is and relishes in that, which is why it’s such a good time.
I should also say that it looks and sounds great, too. Paramount did a stellar job with the film’s cleanup so much so that you might be able forgive them for the features on this disc. Yes, let’s talk about the “special” features. Warning: some bitterness ahead.
All right, the first bit we have is an interview conducted by Del Howison, owner of Burbank’s Dark Delicacies, with Crystal Lake Memories author Peter Bracke. It’s quick, only about 13 minutes, informative and more or less a good watch, though it’s relevance to Friday 2 in specific is a bit unclear, which is a trend here…
Then we have “Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions”, a group of interviews conducted with Friday guests at a convention called Scarefest back in 2008, which is also where the reunion panel from the first Friday DVD was filmed (mystery solved!). Basically it serves as a promotional piece for the convention and has very little to do with Friday the 13th, other than chatting with the Friday stars about why they like cons so much.
“Jason Forever” is footage from a Weekend of Horrors back in 2004 in which four Jasons, including Ari Lehman, were reunited; panel footage is intercut with interviews with the Jasons so it’s not as dull as it first seems. Just be careful, Ari spends a lot of time talking about his reggae band! Other than that it’s the most entertaining feature on the DVD, simply because its focuses is on the men behind the mask and their stories from making the movies.
Finally we have “Lost Tales From Camp Blood, Part 2”, which continues the murder spree that began on the DVD for the first Friday the 13th, only we find out it’s not actually Jason doing the killings but rather some normal looking guy in a hooded coat. Terrifying. It doesn’t conclude in any way, so one would only expect to see the final part on the DVD for Part 3, right? Wrong. This is it. Nice work, Paramount.
There is just nothing special about these features. It’s like Paramount couldn’t be bothered to actually compile features that had something to do with Part 2 (again, no participation from director Steve Miner at all) and just used features they couldn’t fit on the first Friday DVD. That annoys the shit out of me because I know the people who were involved wit this film’s creation would’ve been more than happy to talk about it. So yet again, Paramount cheaps out on Friday fans.
Get it if you didn’t get the existing box set, but there’s certainly nothing extras-wise that makes this disc worth a purchase.
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
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