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Finally, Something No One Wants: Found Footage in Next "Friday the 13th"

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 2, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 2, 2013 |

Found footage films work very occasionally and under very specific circumstances. They work when characters can be reasonably expected to be filming events, and when the events that will occur are freaky in the margins, on the edges of the screen. They exist in order to let the audience see things that the characters don’t at the moment. Having a rationalization for keeping filming is also important. Something in the vein of “we’re doomed if we don’t capture this on film to convince people it’s real, so we keep rolling even at the worst” is the typical excuse.

That’s about the opposite experience of a “Friday the 13th” movie. There’s a dude in a hockey mask killing the teenagers in the woods. Oh, I know! Let me just hold this camcorder with the recording button taped down. That seems like a perfectly rational survival strategy. Why don’t you put the camera down and run, dear victim #4? Well how else will the police believe me when I tell them there’s a psycho with a machete up here? Everyone knows that 9-11 calls are not responded to without shaky cam evidence.

I can appreciate them trying to find a new spin for the inevitable next movie, but this is not it. The response to “we ran out of ideas eight movies ago” really shouldn’t be “ok, so what gimmicks are on the table.”

If you’re going to make another one of these, allow me to make an outline of things to avoid:

1. Don’t throw gimmicks at it.
2. Don’t just throw ten times as much fake blood into it and pretend you’re being dark and edgy.
3. Don’t make it ironic or self-aware.

Those are the cardinal sins of movie makers drowning in trying to revive horror franchises with more films than characters with last names. Bring some creativity to the table.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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