It’s fitting (and not entirely coincidental) that today of all days, details about the new Friday the 13th movie have arrived. We’ve been promised a new installment in the franchise a few times now, as a follow-up to the 2009 reboot was first given an August 13, 2010 release date before being pushed back and re-assessed a number of times. Most recently, Paramount pushed the new Friday the 13th movie to May 2016, where it will now (hopefully) land.
So why the delay? And what happened to the initial 2010-set sequel to Marcus Nispel’s successful reboot? In a new interview with Esquire, producer Brad Fuller shed some light on the Friday the 13th franchise and its future, revealing that there’s one big reason why the sequel didn’t move forward as planned: Paranormal Activity. Despite the box office success of the 2009 reboot, the low-budget horror hit Paranormal Activity spurred studios to rethink their approach to genre material, and the allure of a $1-$2 million budget against a potential gross of $100 million was impossible for them to pass up. As a result, the Friday the 13th sequel was put on the backburner.
But now, after teaming up with Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum on two very successful The Purge films, learning how to execute a horror film on a budget less than $20 million, Fuller is determined to get the cameras rolling on the new Friday the 13th movie this year. The plan is to start production at the end of the summer, when the weather is nice and it’s easy for the team to take over a camp to set up production.
Oh yes, the next Friday the 13th movie is going back to camp. Fuller says the core values of the franchise will remain intact, as the next film will involve Jason Voorhees, kids having sex and smoking weed, and will take place at camp. Moreover, just because the current trend is to make horror films for tiny budgets, Fuller intends to find a middle ground for the new Friday the 13th, somewhere between the 2009 reboot’s $20 million and The Purge films’ $2-3 million:
“You can’t do a great kill quickly. It takes time and the blood levels. You know, every time there’s a drop of blood you have to change their wardrobe and shower people off. You can’t rush that to get it right.”
While the writers of the 2009 film penned a script for a sequel that reportedly returned to a fully functional Camp Crystal Lake (more details on that take here), Fuller says the new film will depart from those ideas. They haven’t yet decided whether the new Friday the 13th movie will tie back into the 2009 version, but he’s settling on a final direction now and narrowing it down to “two or three different” writers that they hope to hire in the next few weeks.
While the story isn’t pinned down just yet, Fuller and director David Bruckner—who helmed The Signal and a segment of V/H/S and is onboard to direct this new Friday the 13th—are toying with a major question central to the franchise: why does Jason not die?
“There’s always been this supernatural aspect to these movies. It defies logic that, you see Jason get killed in every movie, including ours, the 2009 one. And then he comes back and no one’s ever really investigated what that is. So that’s something that I think about a little bit. Like it is supernatural, but what is he? Those are the things that we’re toying with. Nothing has been decided. But those type of things: How does he always come back?”
That’s a fascinating angle that hasn’t yet been explored in this extensive franchise, and one that will hopefully lead to a fresh and exciting film. While we’ve now been waiting 6 years for a new Friday the 13th movie, it feels like things are finally crystallizing. Maybe we will, in fact, be revisiting Jason next May after all. Or, rather, Jason will be revisiting us.