JANUARY 30, 2009
I honestly can’t recall the last time I watched Friday the 13th Part 2. It seems like it was really recent, like at the New Bev or something, but if that is the case I didn’t write a review, which doesn’t make sense. I know for sure I watched it in 2004, but I feel like I watched it within the past 2 years as well. I dunno. My memory sucks.
Anyway, I really dig part 2. It’s basically a remake of the original in terms of structure, though slightly faster paced (the body count is the same, but it’s ten minutes shorter and all but one of the kills are onscreen). I also, again, like these kids. They’re not bitchy or slutty or douchey. Well, technically Scott is the world’s biggest douche, but his target is charmed by his slingshotting/clothes stealing antics, and thus so are we.
I also kind of like/miss the idea that Jason is a human being. He really only had 3 movies as a mortal guy, from then on he was a supernatural force. This one may even make him a bit TOO human: he wears a nice pair of jeans, has a place to live, everything. He even has 2 chairs in his shack in case he needs to entertain company. But he was just plain scarier when he was a real guy.
Paul is also a much better “adult” than Steve Christy. What he lacks in child molester-y appearance he makes up for in snarky attitude (“No seconds on dessert...”) and laid back charm. The scene where he says hello to everyone is great - he mocks some kids, and also waxes nostalgic about previous training sessions with others (these kids are all professional camp counselors, apparently). And the pained look on his face when Ginny beats him at chess is priceless.
Another thing I appreciate was the attention to detail. The lake looks the same as the one in the original (in that it’s pretty giant - the later films made it look like a little pond), and Alice is shown to still be drawing. It’s not much, but again, when compared to the later “ah fuck it” attitude of the sequels, it’s almost Oscar worthy. You go a while with watching only the New Line entries, and it’s almost a shock to the system to realize that back in the day, the filmmakers actually gave a shit about the work of their predecessors. Hell, even the requisite cat scare is better than most, since the cat comes from outside, not a cupboard or whatever.
Of course it’s not without typically “baffling when you think about it” filmmaking issues. At least two of the kills make no sense whatsoever (why doesn’t Mark see Jason in front of him? They’re on a porch, it’s not like there’s a lot of horizontal room), and the kids who all take off to the bar should have come back at some point (I’d argue that their drunken excursions cost the audience too many kills - Ted should have been killed at least). There’s also Terri’s peculiar search for her dog - she keeps saying “Muffin?” but she’s looking straight ahead at eye level. And even though it’s shorter than the original, at times it actually feels longer, particularly during the endless chase at the end (which goes on for so long Miner actually has fade outs during the damn thing).
It is evened out, however, with the lengthy scene of Terri skinny dipping.
The new cash-in DVD release isn’t as extensive as Part 1’s, but it’s a quality over quantity deal. An interview with Peter Bracke (author of "Crystal Lake Memories") is pretty interesting, as is a panel from Fangoria’s 2004 New Jersey con with 4 of the Jasons (a panel I was actually in attendance for!). There’s also a rather silly look at some convention called Scarefest, where the festival organizers go on and on about how wide the aisles are and how much the attendees like the hotel, all the while skirting around the fact that those same fans are asked to dish out 20 bucks a pop to have these folks sign their own property. Another of those worthless “Lost Tales From Camp Blood” is also thrown in for whatever reason, and it's even worse than the first one. Finally, the film’s trailer is included.
I want to talk about the trailer, because it was pretty interesting for a few reasons. One - it uses the roman numeral II instead of “2”, which is what is used on the film itself (it’s notable because if not for the later Friday films, no one would know how to use Roman numerals today). Also, it blatantly lies about the events of the first film, claiming that 12 of Alice’s friends were killed, when in actuality only 9 people died in the entire movie, 3 of which Alice never met. The reason, of course, is to recycle the “13/body count” thing from the 1st movie’s trailer. So they start at 14, and truthfully stop at 23, as 2 has a total of 10 deaths (even though the clips don’t match up with the numbers). But that’s sort of unproductive, because it inadvertently makes it look like the movie has a lower body count than the original! What a wacky spot.
Overall, it’s up there with 1, 4, and 6 as the best of the Fridays. It just plain works, and proves again that a gimmick (3D, telekinesis, Freddy) is never a good idea. The sequels always turned out better when they stuck to the basics.
What say you?