Why Is It So Hard to Reboot 'Friday the 13th'?

Friday the 13th

Just three months ago, we heard that the next installment in the long-running Friday the 13th series might be shot found-footage style, which upset some dedicated horror fans who have grown weary of the shaky-cam approach. Even more surprising, though, was the possibility that the iconic serial killer Jason Voorhees might not return.

Now comes word that David Bruckner is in negotations to direct, according to The Wrap. Bruckner wrote and directed the "Amateur Night" segment of anthology film V/H/S -- which was shot found-footage style. Does that indicate definitely that the new Friday the 13th will be shot that way, too? And what is the status of Jason Voorhees?

The answer to both questions is: "We don't know yet." Producer Brad Fuller indicated in January that the script was still in flux, not yet to the point where everyone involved loved it. The news about Bruckner likely indicates that the production team has decided what approach will be taken. But before assuming anything, keep in mind that Bruckner was one of three filmmaking talents who made the excellent low-budget shocker The Signal several years ago. If the deal closes for him to direct, the franchise could get an injection of fresh blood.

Friday the 13th

And let's face it: as beloved as the Friday the 13th franchise is to hard-core horror fans, it needs to be shaken up. Marcus Nispel's 2009 reboot started with a bang, so to speak, before losing its footing; although willing to change up the ingredients, it didn't deviate sufficiently from the recipe to provide the kind of disturbing, deep-dread chills that we demanded from anything considered a true "reboot." The film was not a complete failure, though, and ended up making more than $91 million worldwide. 

The challenge continues to be making a new film that captures the essence of the old, familiar fears without being slavishly devoted to them. Yes, the Friday the 13th movies all feature good-looking teenagers who are slaughtered by a maniac, but the best of them also play off the terror of an unknown intruder who is bent on vengeance.

If the "new" Friday the 13th film can create its own atmosphere of dread and horror, then it stands a good chance of reviving the series. We'll all find out next year; it's scheduled for release on March 13, 2015.

 

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