A number of slasher reboots have annoyed franchise fans by killing off or underusing iconic Final Girls, but a Friday the 13th reboot is perfectly positioned to pull this emerging genre trend off successfully. The Friday the 13th franchise is not the straightforward series of slasher movies that critics sometimes depict it as. Despite frequent comparisons to the Halloween franchise, Friday the 13th has a weirder, more complicated, and less consistent history as a series.
Where the Halloween sequels all took themselves as seriously as John Carpenter’s influential 1978 original, the Friday the 13th movies vacillated widely in terms of tone. The earliest sequels were self-serious (if somewhat campy) slashers, while the likes of Jason X were broadly comedic self-parodies with few legitimate moments of suspense or horror. Meanwhile, when every Halloween movie saw the franchise’s villainous masked madman Michael Myers killing off interchangeable victims, Jason Voorhees didn’t even appear in the original Friday the 13th until a post-finale dream sequence, was replaced by a copycat in one sequel, and became a body-hopping demon in a later movie.Since the Friday the 13th franchise is no ordinary set of slasher movies (despite its ignominious reputation among reviewers), it stands to reason that a reboot of the slasher series could avoid, subvert, or deconstruct a lot of recent genre trends. For example, while most recent slasher franchise reboots such as Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween 2018 all brought back iconic Final Girls, this didn’t always work for a variety of reasons. However, unlike most of its competitors, a Friday the 13th reboot that wanted to re-establish the canon of the series could start right by killing off the original Friday the 13th movie’s iconic Final Girl Alice without annoying fans.
Why Returning Final Girls Don’t Always Work
Halloween 2018’s Jamie Lee Curtis return was an ideal Final Girl comeback, but Halloween Kills left Laurie Strode stranded in a hospital for most of the sequel’s runtime. This mistake, which was made by Halloween’s earliest sequel Halloween 2 back in 1980, disempowered the iconic heroine, held up the plot of the trilogy, and detracted from the tension of its story (since the real heroine of the series was far from Michael’s clutches for the entire runtime). Similarly, Sidney Prescott’s Scream comeback in 2022 was perfect but Scream 6’s failure to bring back Neve Campbell is all the more unforgivable since the slasher franchise had seemingly managed to put her back in the center of its meta-horror action. Finally, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 recast and quickly killed off Sally Hardesty. The inclusion was an outright flop since the belated Texas Chain Saw Massacre sequel failed to flesh out Sally’s thin character and treated her entire role as little more than a walking “gotcha” moment.
Why Friday the 13th Can Bring Back Alice
The original Friday the 13th’s heroine died in the opening of Friday the 13th Part 2, swiftly offed by Jason as revenge for killing his mother Pamela Voorhees in the original movie. However, if the franchise creators wanted Friday the 13th to borrow Halloween’s slasher reboot formula and retcon its sequels (which it should, since they are contradictory, confusing, and tonally inconsistent), then the Friday the 13th reboot can ignore this issue. Friday the 13th’s reboot could reintroduce Adrienne King’s Alice (a part that she already revived in the recent fan film Jason Rising) and kill off the character to establish the merciless nature of this new version of Jason, clarify his backstory, and clear up any lingering confusion about the canon of the series in one fell swoop.
Why Friday the 13th Can Kill Off Alice
A potential Friday the 13th reboot would be well positioned to kill off King’s Alice since the character never beat Jason before. She killed Ms. Voorhees and had a nightmare about Jason attacking her at the end of the original Friday the 13th, but she never faced the slasher villain until Friday the 13th Part 2. While movies like Halloween Ends may have problems with ending in a satisfying way (since no one wants a legendary Final Girl to die, but the monster is undermined if the heroine can’t be killed), a Friday the 13th reboot that retcons everything after the original movie could both bring back that movie’s Final Girl and kill her off to prove that the new version of Friday the 13th franchise means business.
Should Friday the 13th’s Reboot Bring Back Alice?
If Friday the 13th follows the Halloween reboot’s lead and picks up where the original movie left off, ignoring the franchise’s increasingly silly sequels, then the movie should also kill off original series heroine Alice. The Nightmare on Elm Street remake proved that a straightforward retread of an original movie is too familiar to revive a slasher franchise, meaning that the Friday the 13th reboot should steer clear from this storytelling strategy. Meanwhile, the success of the Halloween reboot proves that it is possible to retcon a franchise’s sequels and ignore any contradictory canon if the reboot itself is a taut, well-written horror. Viewers might not have been so forgiving of the decision to jettison all of the Halloween franchise’s sequel lore if it weren’t for Halloween 2018’s strong set-pieces and intense tone, both of which felt like a return to form for the series.
Ultimately, whether Friday the 13th’s reboot should bring back Alice comes down to whether the slasher should follow Halloween’s lead. Unlike Laurie in the rebooted Halloween trilogy, Friday the 13th’s reboot wouldn’t be using its original Final Girl as the movie’s main character. Instead, the Friday the 13th reboot would be killing her off to correct the history of the series and give Jason a new lease on life (or rather, un-death). This would be the clearest way of erasing the sequels from existence and starting anew, which makes it the best option for the Friday the 13th franchise going forward. Where some slasher reboots have struggled to find a role for their former heroines, the Friday the 13th reboot is uniquely well positioned to bring back a classic horror Final Girl and then kill her off, shocking viewers while simultaneously resetting the franchise as a whole.