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Franchise Original Sin / Friday the 13th

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  • A common criticism of Friday the 13th (2009) is its prologue, which can almost be described as a short film where a Friday movie plays out in miniature before viewers get to the main story and characters. Yet the same complaint could also be lodged at the older films. Friday the 13th Part 2 had a similarly lengthy prologue in which Alice, the last surviving character from the original, is suddenly killed offnote , while Part III has not one, but two prologues, one of which is literally the ending of the prior film replayed to serve as a recap. It was even worse in the older films, as while the prologue of the 2009 Friday serves to provide motivation for Clay (who is searching for his sister Whitney, the Final Girl from that prologue), the openings of Part 2 and Part 3 never come up again in the rest of their respective films except in passing, making the padding that much more noticeable. The difference was, the opening of the 2009 Friday was almost a complete Slasher Movie in its own right (albeit abbreviated), making it seem as if these characters will be far more important than they turn out to be.
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  • Another major problem that dogged the series during its original run was the fact that Paramount refused to spend all that much money on it, even as it became one of the biggest horror franchises of The '80s. Even in earlier films, this problem was apparent with the generally low production values, but the filmmakers were generally able to cover for this by shooting in the woods and packing the films with graphic violence. Two things happened, however, that brought this issue to a breaking point. First, the MPAA started cutting later films to ribbons, taking away the cheap gore effects. Second, the competing A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise actually did get real money and talent put behind it by New Line Cinema, meaning that there was now a far more lavish Slasher Movie franchise to compare it to. The nadir came with the franchise-killing eighth film, Jason Takes Manhattan, where budget cuts meant the production had no money to shoot in New York for more than a week, leading to some very obvious cases of California Doubling (Vancouver stood in for The Big Rotten Apple) and Never Trust a Trailer (most of the film wound up set on a cruise ship).
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  • There was also the series' overreliance on gimmicks rather than characters or story, which first became a problem with the sixth film, Jason Lives. The fifth film, A New Beginning, greatly upended the franchise status quo by having a Jack the Ripoff of Jason Voorhees as the killer and setting up Tommy Jarvis, the film's protagonist, to become the killer in the next one, and met a very negative reception from series fans as a result. When Jason Lives brought Jason back as a Revenant Zombie, it helped Win Back the Crowd and is still seen now as a return to form after A New Beginning, but it also set a precedent for the use of gimmicks to lure in audiences. The New Blood had Jason battling a Captain Ersatz of Carrie White, Jason Takes Manhattan had its gimmick right in the title, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday turned Jason into a body-surfing demon spirit, and Jason X was Friday IN SPACE! — and all met diminishing returns with critics, fans, and moviegoers alike.
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  • The biker gang in Part III were the first characters in the series who felt like they were written as Hate Sinks, acting like jerks just so audiences wouldn't feel bad about watching Jason slaughter them — a problem that would grow throughout the rest of the series. However, the films up through Jason Lives still made an effort to give at least some of them enough development that their deaths still left an impact on the viewers, demonstrating that they were good friends and had people who cared about them even if they were dicks. Furthermore, the bikers were outsiders to the main group, harassing them at the convenience store and then planning to burn down their barn before getting killed off early in the film, before they overstayed their welcome. By The New Blood, however, just about every character, even the one who we’re supposed to like (aside from Tina, Nick, Maddy, and Tina’s mom), was stupid, snarky, and mean-spirited to the point where it’s hard to care about anybody who dies.
  • Jason has always seemed to have powers of Offscreen Teleportation, to the point where fans sometimes jokingly call it the "Voorhees Unreality Engine", and Friday the 13th: The Game even lampshaded it by making it one of his abilities. Earlier films, however, took place in campgrounds and forests that were fairly large and spread out, so it was easier for either the teens to get lost or for Jason to circle around his victims. Jason Takes Manhattan, however, is set mostly on a cruise ship or in tight alleyways, where those explorations don't work nearly as well. Jason is never shown climbing a ladder to grab Miles, nor is he shown entering the building he throws McColloch out of. It almost makes one wonder if the filmmakers were trying to make him like Freddy Krueger in this film.
  • The fourth film, The Final Chapter, produced a minor one of these. The ending hinted that Tommy Jarvis, the adolescent boy who defeats Jason at the end, had undergone a Start of Darkness and would follow the same path as Jason into becoming a murderer. As a film meant to close out the series, this was a nice, ominous note to end it on, and The Final Chapter is still regarded as one of the better Friday films in no small part for it. However, the series did not end with its so-called final chapter, and the following film, A New Beginning, built on the ending of its predecessor by trying to make Jason a Legacy Character, the ending showing Tommy as having gone mad and taken up Jason's machete and hockey mask. This twist met such a negative reception that the producers hastily abandoned it when they made the next film, Jason Lives, which retconned the ending of A New Beginning as having been All Just a Dream.


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