Friday the 13th‘s Remake” width=”560″/>
If ever a movie was designed to provoke the wrath of the anti-remake brigade — and studios beware, anti-remake sentiment seems to be growing by leaps and bounds — that movie would seem to be the upcoming relaunch of the Friday the 13th franchise. Not only is it a return to one of the most iconic slasher films ever made, and not only does it feature one of the most iconic film figures of all time… but it has Michael Bay sitting in the producer’s chair and let’s just say Bay is not exactly beloved amongst horror fans.
Oh, heck, let’s say more than that, or at least let the fans do so. I present Bill Hicks on the IMDB message boards as the ultimate — though far from only — Michael Bay basher online. Says Bill, “We live in a world where John Lennon was murdered, and yet Michael Bay CONTINUES to make movies. If you’re going to murder somebody, have some f—ing taste. I’ll drive you to Michael Bay’s house.”
So, yes. Having Bay direct your movie is generally considered a license to print money but having Bay produce your movie is a sure fire way to inspire immense hatred. But something strange happened here. Not only have the fans generally not been hating on this one, there has actually been a growing wave of support for it — and it’s actually become one of the more anticipated of 2009. What happened?
First, and most importantly, fans are treating this as a return to the roots of a once proud franchise that has been beaten into the ground by a non-stop succession of Very Bad Sequels. How bad were they? Quoth fan Michael on the Coming Soon message boards: “Friday the 13th 7-10 blew dogs for quarters.” With that as a backdrop is it hard to imagine that anything that treats the character with respect and is remotely competently made would generate some excitement?
Second, and probably just as important, this film is less a straight movie than it is a re-imagining, blending the strongest elements of the early — and best — entries in the franchise. Says J. Kerr at Slashfilm, “The film is a combination of the first three Friday films, meshing together the “best” elements … this looks pretty good, for a Jason movie. After all, at their core, the Friday films aren’t very good to begin with, as much as I love them … thank god they got rid of all of Jason’s zombie elements, he might actually have a chance to be kind of scary again.” It’s a common sentiment. Though fans love the originals, they recognize there are all sorts of weaknesses and chances for improvement and signs are that this one will actually make those fixes.
Third, director Marcus Nispel. Name the last Friday the 13th movie that looked good on screen — it’s pretty hard to do. But whatever people may think of Nispel and his earlier Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, they all seem to agree that the man shoots good film. Peter Sciretta, lord and master of Slashfilm, puts it like this: “Marcus Nispel … knows how to make a film look good. He especially knows how to play with light, which is evident in [the] trailer.”
And, finally, there’s that trailer itself. While some clearly missed the point that the trailer kill reel was an homage to the original trailer of the original film, the response to the look and feel of the new trailer was overwhelmingly positive. First Showing declared it a “Must Watch,” “Brutal” and “Ridiculously fun!” Mr Profit says in the AICN talkback that the “trailer looks way better than any of the sequels from the original series. This is a remake I can get behind,” while Bloody Disgusting commenter Fustigator simply declares it “f—ing fantastic“. Yeah, there are some naysayers, but the overall response is incredibly strong.
So, there you have it. Want to do a remake that people will actually look forward to? Pick a property that was badly mistreated in its first go ’round, then try to fix the obvious problems while respecting what drew people to it in the first place. Commenter Darren at Coming Soon puts it best: “Jason Vorhees is a pop culture icon, because we pretty much all grew up watching him. But the movies he starred in (including part one, even though he wasn’t in it) are far from American classics. Let them do a remake with a little edge, it will definitely be better than the later movies and will most likely improve the original(s).”Read More