This week brought talk of new life for two dormant horror franchises. First, Ryan Turek of ShockTillYouDrop tweeted that producers of the new “Friday the 13th” are taking pitches from writers for a found footage version of Jason Voorhees. Concurrently, Harvey Weinstein is talking about a potential fifth entry in the “Scream” series to finally end the story.
The problem is — while we can’t fully support any classic horror series making the leap to overplayed style — “Scream” would make a much more compelling found footage movie.
While a found footage “Friday the 13th” reads “cash-in,” an installment in the “Scream” series that embraced the format would be a way for the filmmakers and the studio get their cake and eat it too. From a purely financial standpoint, any studio holding the rights to a classic horror franchise would jump at the opportunity to make a new entry on a lower budget in a style that is still viable at the box office. That’s just good business. This is where the case for a found footage “Friday the 13th” ends, but that’s only half of the picture for a theoretical “Scream” sequel.
“Scream” started as a pure parody, one that embraced the very conventions that it spoofed. Moving over to the found footage format, a style that many horror fans will tell you has been ridden into the ground, would allow for Wes Craven or some smart, young horror director to subvert the rules of the genre just like the original film played with the slasher. Is there a better modern horror meta joke than pointing out how the person holding a camera in a found footage movie never stops filming, thus making the entire genre unbelievable?
It wouldn’t be enough to point out such absurdities while Ghostface runs around. There have been enough terrible parodies to do that. Like the brilliant original, the second part of the trick is to do found footage better than its contemporaries.
Adapting Jason Voorhees to found footage would do little besides slightly shifting the perspective from which he kills the latest crop of camp counselors. Doing the same to “Scream,” if done correctly, would create an opportunity for something to be said, a quality of the original that became diluted over the course of three sequels. “Scream 4” toyed with the conventions of horror remakes, but that target for parody didn’t provide enough fodder for a strong satire.
Found footage could be the key to bringing “Scream” back into the realm of relevance, instead of letting it become the very thing that it openly mocked in the first place, one of the innumerable, mindless horror sequels. A found footage “Friday the 13th” wouldn’t add anything to horror, except an extra crack in our shakey tolerance for the format. “Scream” could do something with it in a way that renewed interest in the style, the series and horror in general.
What do you think? Would “Scream” make a better found footage movie than “Friday the 13th”? Should we quit found footage all together? Let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter!