While director Sean Cunningham's low-budget film isn't technically stellar even by 80's standards, the picture does do a lot of things right: it uses the forest setting superbly to create a claustrophobic setting and ramp up the tension once the counselors start dropping and the ones who remain feel as if the woods are closing in on them. The performances aren't great, but most of the actors involved offer decent efforts.
The second film came only a year later, and was similarly successful - not critically (although that was no surprise), but commercially. The picture starts up shortly after the events of the first film (the first few minutes provides a recap for those who didn't see the first film or simply forgot), and while Jason wasn't really seen in the first film, it quickly becomes clear in the second picture that he's on the loose.
Meanwhile, at Camp Crystal Lake, Paul (John Furey) is going about the not-too-bright task of trying to re-open Camp Crystal Lake. Once again, the old man in the town gives a warning to the new counselors that they should stay far away from the camp, and even Paul's stories of the events of the past are met with skepticism - even from Paul.
While director Steve Miner's work has not been held in the highest regard (his most recent effort is the Jessica Simpson direct-to-video comedy, "Major Movie Star"), his work on the "Friday the 13th" sequel is generally effective, as the movie does a terrific job ramping up the tension as the counselors quickly realize how true the stories about Jason really are.
While the second film offered an intense, fast-paced horror flick, the less-successful third film (which saw Miner make a return to the director's chair) offered the gimmick of 3-D (which is available here via an optional 3-D version and glasses. Yet again, another group of young people who don't seem to ever pay attention to local history arrive at Camp Crystal Lake and soon find that they're in the midst of a cat-and-mouse game with Jason. While the picture has its eerie/creepy moments, it's a weaker effort than the first two films.
Both films are available separately on Blu-Ray.
VIDEO: "Friday The 13th" 2 and 3 are presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 (II) and 2.35:1 (III) (1080p/AVC). Both films do get some mild upgrades in comparison to the previously released DVD editions, but the differences are not major. The main upgrade that both titles share is sharpness and detail, as while neither title looks crystal clear, some details appear crisper and more precise on the Blu-Ray editions.
Both films do show some wear on occasion, as some slight specks and marks are occasionally seen on the print. Mild-to-moderate grain is also seen at times, as well. Other concerns included a few instances of edge enhancement that were briefly seen. Colors looked reasonably bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
AUDIO: Both films are offered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The audio isn't exactly aggressive - nor would one expect a set of films from this era. Surrounds are not used too extensively, but the rear speakers are brought in for some support of the score, as well as occasional sound effects and ambience. Audio quality is generally satisfactory for the era - while effects can sound a little tinny at times, effects, music and dialogue mostly came across sounding clean and clear. Audio seems a tad clearer on the Dolby TrueHD presentation, but the differences in comparison to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the prior DVD are slight.
EXTRAS: The second film has "Inside Crystal Lake Memories" (HD), which is an approximately 11-minute interview with author Peter Bracke, who discusses the experience of gathering interviews with over 200 people related to the series and combing through old studio archives and other rare materials. "Friday's Legacy: Horror Conventions" (HD) talks about the fans who visit the cast and crew at convention stops. "Jason Forever" offers interviews with the actors who have played Jason. Finally, we also get the film's trailer (HD).
The only extra for the third film (aside from the theatrical trailer) is the fact that the 3-D version (as well as old-school 3-D glasses) is included.
Final Thoughts: Although the Blu-Ray editions of the 2nd and 3rd films in the series don't provide major upgrades over the DVD, they are recommended for Blu-Ray owners who don't already have the prior Deluxe Edition DVDs.