This just goes to show that it pays for fans to be vocal about the franchises they love. When it was announced that the next Friday the 13th would capitalize on the found-footage craze, the backlash from horror aficionados was as instantaneous as it was fierce. Now, speaking with Shock Till You Drop, Platinum Dunes co-founder/producer Brad Fuller has revealed that plans to take Jason Voorhees down that uninspired road have been scrapped.
Fuller, who has been overseeing the direction of many horror reboots throughout the last 15 years or so, spent months brainstorming with Dunes co-founders Michael Bay and Andrew Form as to how best to continue Friday the 13th after the ill-received 2009 reboot.
“I could just say that for a long time we were stalled,” Fuller said. “I think you guys reported that the movie was going to be a found footage movie and that was a road that we went down and tried to figure out. Ultimately, I think Michael, Drew and I felt that we couldn’t figure that out, so we kind of jettisoned that whole notion and we had to start over. We’re in the latter phases of that starting over and hopefully we’re getting a script in the next month or two, and we’ll go back to Crystal Lake.”
Thank god. Fans were up in arms about the possibility of only getting to see Voorhees and his trusty machete in second-long glimpses. Jump-scares have always been a trademark of the found-footage genre, but Friday the 13th has long been more about creeping terror, with some entries showing kills from Jason’s perspective, so the format didn’t seem like a good match from the outset.
Fuller spoke to what he, Bay and Form eventually figured out:
“At the end of the day, those movies are so fantastic because Jason Voorhees is such a dynamic presence and people love to see him do what he does well. We hope to put Jason in a situation where he’s able to do that again, and it doesn’t feel like you’re seeing the same thing over and over.”
Did fan backlash contribute to scrapping the found footage angle? Fuller admits it did – and that he’s happier for it.
“[Support from fans] absolutely weighs on me, and there have been many times when the fans have affected surely the way we think about, and in some cases the way we shot, some of the stories. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of bullshit in what they’re saying, but very often you’ll get a fan with such a great idea, or a great notion, and it’s meaningful to us.
Listen, there was an outpouring of negative sentiment when it was revealed that Friday the 13th might have been a found footage movie. That was very clear to us that there was not a groundswell of support for that. That had tremendous amount of impact on us and only substantiated our concern about doing it as a found footage movie. Ultimately, the fact that the movie’s been delayed for a long time might be a good thing, because now the movie’s not going to be found footage.”
So where does that leave Friday the 13th? David Bruckner (V/H/S, The Signal) is still directing, with Hannibal scribe Nick Antosca penning a draft that he says is not related to the 2009 film. “It’s not a sequel to the 2009 version,” the writer revealed (via Bloody Disgusting). “Different characters, time period, style.” Rumor has it that the pic could take place in the 1980s, freeing the franchise from incorporating modern technology.
While that may be the case, here’s hoping Derek Mears gets to don the hockey mask again – whatever problems the 2009 movie had, his performance as Jason was not one of them.
Friday the 13th will hit theaters on May 13th, 2016.