Of the many '80s horror remakes/reboots/re-imaginings released in the past decade, Friday the 13th (2009) was the most well-received among horror fans. This was because unlike its horror contemporaries, Friday the 13th adhered to old-school slasher tropes instead of trying to be a darker and edgier retelling of a cult classic.
Yet despite its positive reception and decent box office performance, the promised Friday the 13th sequel has been lingering in development hell for the better part of a decade with many creators joining and subsequently leaving the project.
Now, Jason Voorhees's next cinematic massacre showed new signs of life with Paramount picking a new director in the hopes of making the sequel's promised 2017 date.
Paramount Studios is reportedly in negotiations with director Breck Eisner to bring their new Friday the 13th script to life, which has been in development for the past nine months or so.
For those unfamiliar with his name, Breck Eisner is a somewhat new director with decent ties to the horror genre. Even if his latest movie — The Last Witch Hunter (2015) starring Vin Diesel and Rose Leslie — wasn't that well received by both critics and audiences, he has shown experience in handling reinterpretations of established horror properties, as seen in his remake of George A. Romero's The Crazies (2010).
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Eisner Visits Camp Crystal Lake
In his retelling of the Romero 1973 cult hit, Breck Eisner gave the The Crazies — the story of a small town that gets plagued by insanity and violence after a mysterious chemical leak — a more personal and claustrophobic touch by locking the story's focus down to the town's inhabitants instead of giving character arcs to three different sides (i.e. civilians, military and scientists) of the same event.
While his take on The Crazies may not be everyone's favorite horror remake especially since it ditched Romero's famous satirical and political slants in favor of a tone closer to that of survival horror, it was still one of the few objectively good horror remakes to come out in a decade filled with sub-par horror remakes. When you think about it, the way he captured the town's paranoia and descent into madness is actually a perfect fit with what Friday the 13th should do if it really wants to rebrand itself with a new vision.
Friday the 13th movies always trap a small cast of characters in an isolated location — predominantly Camp Crystal Lake — that then gets besieged by the nigh-invincible hockey mask wearing killer, thus starting a desperate fight for survival. If Breck Eisner brings the same claustrophobia he used in The Crazies, the new Friday the 13th may finally give the aged horror franchise some much-needed dire stakes and tension — elements that have been missing ever since Friday the 13th sequels became a predictable punchline, especially when Jason visited New York, Hell and outer space (in that exact order).
The New Friday
If reports are accurate, the next Friday the 13th will be yet another retelling of Jason Voorhees's origins (which is redundant since the last Friday the 13th didn't bother much with Jason's origins and just inferred it instead of dropping exposition bombs). At this point, Jason's story is already as familiar as Bruce Wayne's transformation into Batman but producer Brad Fuller promised an origin story with updates and changes that will bring a new flavor of storytelling to the franchise:
"[Writer] Aaron’s story has great characters…You kind of have to understand Jason Voorhees, so we go back and we kind of started over and work our way forward. It’s origin-ish, but it’s an origin that no one has seen before. Obviously Pamela’s there, but it’s a little bit different from what you’ve seen before."
After all, Paramount's chosen writer Aaron Guzikowski is the scribe behind the underrated thriller Prisoners (2013) so audiences may indeed be getting a more calculated and engaging Friday the 13th entry.
Though the details have yet to be finalized, it's reassuring for longtime franchise supporters to see that Paramount isn't only determined to get a new Friday the 13th off the ground but they're equally serious about the next installment's quality. By getting (relatively) new blood with a lot of untapped talent to helm the next big slasher murder spree, Paramount has given fans of Jason's penchant for killing horny teenagers reason to hope for a good — if not great — Friday the 13th movie.
And to make things better, Paramount has promised that the next Friday the 13th will NOT be a found footage movie.
Check out some of the best beheadings in horror in the Movie Pilot original video below (including one by Jason himself):
Do you want to see a new Friday the 13th movie?