Paramount’s #Fridaythe13th reboot has driven a long road, and finally, it has come to a stop. Without reason nor explanation (maybe Rings?), Paramount has decided to scrap the reboot plans until further notice.
Friday the 13th has a strong legacy. Horror fans were eager to see what the new reboot had in store for the murdering, hockey mask-wearing psycho. But the franchise has been a mess for a very long time.
The 2009 reboot had a great-looking Jason with some cool kills, but it felt rehashed. The reboot was interchangeable with half of the franchise’s sequels; it brought nothing new to the table and had fans yearning for freshness.
At the same time, new elements shouldn't just be gimmicks (the rumored found footage concept) or adding more convoluted backstory to Jason’s past (such as Jason’s father, another rumor about the scrapped film). Paramount has the right idea about making another Friday the 13th, but they had it all wrong.
Fortunately, someone has figured out how to make this franchise work.
The New Video Game Keeps It Simple And Brutal
The movie producers should be inspired by the new Friday the 13th game, the beta for which has been getting a ton of buzz. The game’s concept is straightforward and simple, and that’s what the new film should be: maniac kills campers, and campers must escape.
The legacy of the Jason franchise is the inspiration for the game. The new movie should not overthink its concept, but instead consider why the game has fans so excited: it's visceral, thrilling, unbelievably gruesome and (perhaps most important) fun, paying tribute to the aesthetics of the original movies — the tone, the atmosphere and the violence.
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Keeping Jason Mysterious Is Scarier Than Giving Us His Every Biographical Detail
We know what happens when backstory is overdone in horror movies: it takes away the mystery and eeriness. Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween and its sequel had too much backstory, and nobody wanted to see that. Michael Myers is called "The Shape" for a reason. We don't care about what happened to him; knowing less makes him scarier.
As for Jason, his brief backstory is enough to warrant why he’s killing. He drowned, then his mother was killed, and now he’s killing anyone who steps into Camp Crystal Lake. His story is simple, and the new film should start from there.
The game stays within the timeline of the original films, yet it feels fresh. In addition to playing as the camp counselors, you can play as Jason, with great mechanics that stay true to his mysterious character. He teleports, hears you from a mile away, and his gruesome nature is well displayed.
Although it has yet to be released, beta testers have praised its mix of nostalgia and inventiveness. The game keeps the old-school horror formula as relevant as ever.
The Teenagers Should Be Fleshed-Out Characters, Not Cookie-Cutter Victims
In the new game, each character has a specific skill-set that enables him or her to function differently from the others. For example, one is fast, one is smart, and then there’s Tommy, who wields a gun. A new movie can go deeper into their individual personalities, giving us three-dimensional protagonists.
With the game allowing characters to be diverse in terms of gameplay, the mechanics have shone a new light for the series. Each character can be more than just expendable victims.
The old movie relied on one death scene after another, all the way to the final character who defeats Jason. By adding well-developed, three-dimensional characters, each death scene would have more weight to it. The bloody kills wouldn't just be fun, but also heartbreaking.
A Sequel? A Prequel? Another Reboot?
The producers already tried a reboot, and it didn't quite work. We don't want yet another Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man situation on our hands, where the continuity keeps getting set back to zero whenever the creative team messes up.
Shane Black's upcoming Predator film isn’t a reboot, but rather a sequel to the originals. Black's decision to continue the story is a great way to approach Jason. He is relying on what the mythology already has instead of starting over, which gives him a lot of resources to pull from (while keeping the creative freedom to get back to basics).
Paramount should consider a similar approach. Both franchises had previous installments that were divisive, and simply rebooting them wouldn't fix it; the bigger challenge is figuring out how exactly the property's DNA works.
Paramount pulling the plug on Friday the 13th may be a good thing, considering the studio's lack of direction. Breck Eisner, the director formerly attached to the reboot, had some positive intentions — pulling elements from It Follows and mixing some supernatural elements into the story — but it wouldn't have been the Friday the 13th story we all need right now.
To figure out that story, perhaps the producers need to just kick back and play a video game.