How Will They Make the New Friday the 13th Woke?

Rebooting an exploitative franchise in more sensitive times poses a unique challenge


The new Halloween sequel is such an astonishing success, grossing $76.2 million its opening weekend against a $10 million budget, that more of its ilk is inevitable. (Good thing they left the door open for a sequel even though much of the vibe of the movie and chatter surrounding it suggested that this was the final showdown of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers.) After Halloween’s box office numbers came in, news of a planned Friday the 13th reboot were announced—Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment are in early talks to bring Jason back to the big screen, according to Deadline.

How they will translate Friday to speak to contemporary mores is the biggest challenge at hand. Screenwriters David Gordon Green and Danny McBride focused on the PTSD of Laurie Strode in their script for the latest Halloween. While its treatment of Laurie struck me as shallow, their compassion-gesturing seemed to resonate with audiences and critics, who highlighted it in their largely positive reviews (the flick currently has an 80 percent at Rotten Tomatoes—an extremely high number for a slasher).

The original Halloween was effective in part because it made you care about the well-being of Laurie Strode; the Friday series has no iconic counterpart protagonist, just a series of semi-anonymous teenagers who are ultimately just target practice for Jason.

What to do? What to do? How to make this really sing in a compassionate but brutal, socially conscious and completely misanthropic 2018 kind of way? The killing spree of the original Friday (SPOILERS) was an act of vengeance on the part of Jason Voorhees’s mother, who still wasn’t over the drowning of her son at the hands of negligent camp counselors. So they could play up the bullying angle (you know, depending on where this thing picks up and what it focuses on). Some other suggestions:

  • The counselors are all volunteers at a camp for kids who are struggling with social media addiction and/or nut allergies.
  • Jason does gentler eye-gougings, uses a softer hand to slice with machetes, crushes heads with a more passionate grip.
  • Mrs. Voorhees talks at length about her mental illness in a series of monologues. Yes, she’s a serial killer, but she is also a survivor! There’s also a Munchausen syndrome by proxy thing going on, but that’s just implied (she’s not going to admit to that one!).
  • Camp Crystal Lake is full of plastic, or toxic waste, or drying up. Something something something environmental collapse.
  • Jason pops out of the lake at the end but instead of wrestling the final girl down into the water with him, he asks if he can talk about when she made him uncomfortable when she killed his mother.

What else???

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