One of the arguably good things about Warner Bros. handing the film rights to the Friday the 13th franchise over to Paramount Pictures is the associated deadline that means Paramount has to do something with the rights within the next couple of years, or risk seeing Friday the 13th return to Warner Bros. Rushing a movie out too quickly rarely leads to the best finished product, but for Jason Voorhees fans who just want to see the man in the mask back again, even a hurriedly-made movie would probably be worth a watch.
The next installment in this major horror franchise will be produced by Michael Bay’s company Platinum Dunes, as was the 2009 reboot of the series for which Bay was also on the writing team. Paramount ideally needs to release a movie by 2015 in order to retain the rights, and according to the latest talk, it may be a very different movie from what you might expect.
STYD says that the producers are currently seeking screeenwriters for the project, and in particular are looking for someone who would be able to apply the franchise’s villain and slasher setup to a found-footage movie. Apparently, such talk has been circulating for a while now, but recently resurfaced again, though of course it should only be treated as rumor for now.
Horror fans have reason to be wary of changing things up in this way – especially so soon after the dismal Hellraiser: Revelations, which also tried to revolutionize a classic horror series by adding a found-footage twist, and unintentionally also managed to change things up by being the first Hellraiser movie that Doug Bradley, who played Pinhead in all eight of the previous entries, refused to be a part of.
There are a few reasons why a found-footage Friday the 13th movie could actually work, however, so long as the right screenwriter and director were around to handle it. Since the characters might not always be looking at the screen during filming (whether on a camcorder or, like the most recent Paranormal Activity movie, on a laptop webcam), there could be opportunities to show the audience glimpses of Jason while the characters themselves remain painfully oblivious. It would also be interesting – and possible even more frightening – to keep sightings of Jason limited and fleeting, in contrast to the previous movies where he and his hockey mask get a lot of screen time.
A good screenwriter could also play around with the medium of found footage within the context of a slasher movie – either by constantly shifting the narrative from one victim to the next, like the structure of Ju-On: The Grudge, or by having each new character in a chain of machete fodder finding the footage recorded by the previous victim and unlocking another secret about who Jason is and how to stop him, until the final person in the chain figures out a way to fight back.
Those are just two ideas of debatable merit, but after twelve movies within the Friday the 13th franchise there’s probably room for a little bit of experimentation. Some hardcore fans might argue that the thirteenth movie within the Friday the 13th series needs to be something special, but perhaps a found-footage version could be just that. Then again, perhaps all the rumors will come to nothing and the next Friday the 13th movie won’t be found footage at all.
Horror fans, do you like the sound of Jason being captured on camera by documentary filmmakers/silly teenagers with too many iPhones/a TV crew following around a team of firefighters?
We’ll keep you updates on this latest Friday the 13th movie as the story develops.