You can slice him, you can dice him, you can drown him, and you can douse him with toxic sludge, but you just can’t keep Jason Voorhees down. From one decade to the next, the iconic masked maniac of slasher yore always manages to meander back onto the big screen. (Occasionally he even shows up as a DLC character in certain popular, super violent fighting video game franchises.) No matter the year, no matter the time, Jason never dies.
Case in point: V/H/S co-conspirator David Bruckner’s slowly gestating Friday the 13th reboot/remake/prequel – the subject of not one but two delays since first springing to life under the Platinum Dunes appellation. Despite being announced ages ago, to date we know very little about the shape the film will ultimately take. Frankly, we know more about what it won’t be than what it will be, which is fine – at least we can say with confidence that Bruckner isn’t taking the found-footage route.
There’s more good news following that recently dodged bullet, too. In rejecting that niche genre lens, producer Brad Fuller sought out a scribe to pen a fresh draft for Friday the 13th. THR reports that he and Paramount have found a good one, too: Nick Antosca, a screenwriter and novelist whose latest claim to fame is his 13-episode co-producer credit on NBC’s sublimely gruesome (and thoroughly great) Hannibal.
Before everyone gets too excited, it’s worth clarifying a couple matters of interest. One, Antosca doesn’t have any actual writing credits on Hannibal; two, even if he did, he only began working on the show in its third season, so there’s very little context in which to judge his contributions to the cat-and-mouse game between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. His TV show writing credits thus far include Teen Wolf and Last Resort, which doesn’t inspire excitement as much as his connection to Hannibal does.
In light of his experience on Hannibal and his dark proclivities as an author, though, Antosca’s involvement with Friday the 13th makes sense. Combined with Bruckner’s presence on the project, we can start sketching an outline for the film’s tone and aesthetic. In consideration of “Amateur Night”, Bruckner’s contribution to V/H/S, it’ll likely lack the rich, artful hyper-stylization of Bryan Fuller’s TV series – but a meat and potatoes, no-frills approach to Jason’s mythos sounds much more appealing than the studio-backed equivalent of home video shaky-cam.
Remember that we haven’t seen a lot from Bruckner yet, either, and that could be part of the point. Bruckner and Antosca are both on the rise. It could well be that Platinum Dunes wants a director/writer team that’s less visible among mainstream audiences – all the better to take those audiences off-guard (and besides, new blood means new ideas). If you’re going to keep going back to the well on something as well-established in popular consciousness as Friday the 13th, it helps to turn to hungry young talent to invigorate the material.
Now we’ve just got to wait and see what Antosca comes up with on the page, and what Brucker does with it.
Friday the 13th is expected to open in US theaters on May 13th, 2016.
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