When we think back on the slasher sub-genre, some iconic villains come to mind. Freddy of A Nightmare on Elm Street has haunted our dreams since 1984, and Halloween‘s Michael Meyers has gone on to wreak havoc in games and comics since his 1978 unveiling, but no slasher villain has quite as long a cinematic resume as Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th. With twelve films under his hockey mask and a not-so-successful 2009 reboot ringing on in fans’ minds, some might argue that it’s time to put the Friday the 13th franchise to rest. Producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, however, would disagree.
Fuller and Form, who also produced the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot and have worked on the Ouija and The Purge films, revealed in a new interview that the next Friday the 13th installment — despite many stops and starts — is officially in pre-production, and slated for a fall 2017 release. The producers even shared some details about the film’s setting and premise, as well as confirmed its screenwriter and director.
Fuller and Form confirmed to Collider that Breck Eisner (The Last Witch Hunter) will direct a script by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), and filming will take place in Georgia. This Friday the 13th installment is reportedly a “period piece” that will earn a “hard R” rating. The production is primed to start casting in December, and hopes to pin down an October 13, 2017 release date. The film’s actual title is TBD, and for now is just being referred to as Friday the 13th. The producers revealed why this installment has been nearly ten years in the making, and cited writing as a major challenge. Brad Fuller said:
It’s the thirteenth Friday the 13th movie. So that’s a lot of mileage between the first one and the thirteenth one. And what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to alienate the audience that hasn’t seen the preceding twelve Friday the 13th movies. So Aaron Guzikowski’s job — as challenging as it is — is to come up with a movie where if you hadn’t seen any of the other ones, you can come and see this one and love it, and not feel like you’ve missed out on everything else, and if you have seen the other ones, we want this to feel fresh. And that’s what took the longest amount of time, was coming up with a story and then executing a script that fulfills both of those mandates.
Fuller and Form also cited creative differences with Paramount as a production hurdle, saying that the studio originally wanted this latest Friday the 13th film to be a found-footage piece. Though found-footage is currently the horror sub-genre du jour, Fuller and Form felt that narrative style would do a disservice to the franchise, which relies heavily on point-of-view shots from the killer. It looks instead like the producers are aiming for an homage to the slasher phenomenon of the 1980s, if the “period piece” hint is any indication.
With critically-acclaimed studio horror films like Ouija: Origin of Evil and The Conjuring reviving the charm of ’70s and 80s horror aesthetics, it makes sense that one of the most iconic franchises of all time would capitalize on the success it helped create. It also looks as though the film will work to not overcomplicate its gory plot. When asked whether the film will try to “explain” its villain, Form was adamantly against the idea. “Jason is that beast, that force, that no matter what you do, he keeps coming, and we don’t believe that that is something that can be explained,” the producer said.
Though many horror fans left the last Friday the 13th film feeling exhausted and disappointed, it actually looks like this production is headed in the right direction. If this latest film can bring the Friday the 13th franchise back to its roots without giving into over-stylization or hollow storytelling, it could live on as one of the few successful horror reboots to date. As the thirteenth Friday the 13th film, which is looking for a Friday the 13th release date, the film is already putting a lot of pressure on itself, and we’re eager to see if this production can rise to the occasion.
The new Friday the 13th film is still in the early stages of production, but is tentatively slated to hit theaters on October 13, 2017.