Never Hike Alone

After the Friday the 13th reboot in 2009, the franchise entered a phase of legal squabbles that continue to this day. Since new entries in the series are nowhere in sight, some fans took up the machete and made a few chapters of their own. The concept of “fan films” don’t exactly have a great reputation, but these examples seem to be more professionally produced than most. While both are shorter than feature-length, they do make an interesting addition to the series, if not particularly necessary. But for die hard fans of the series, they’re probably worth checking out…

The Six Weeks of Halloween: Week 4.5 – Never Hike Alone Fan Films

Never Hike Alone (YouTube)- A guy goes hiking alone, even though the title of the movie says never to do so. Anyway, he stumbles on the old Crystal Lake campground and naturally runs afoul of Jason Vorhees. It looks pretty good for a fan film, with some nice overhead shots (presumably from drones) and some good wooded landscapes.

Writer and director Vincente DiSanti makes some interesting choices here. One is that there’s basically just one protagonist for the majority of the runtime. This keep things economical and straightforward, but since he has no one to talk to, they have to give him some sort of expository device instead. He’s basically making a sorta YouTube diary of his long hike (I think he mentions it’s something like 46 miles), complete with sponsors and botched ad reads. It’s easy to see why this choice was made, but it does feel a bit contrived and while the guy’s fine, he’s not as charismatic as some of the final girls from the series.

Never Hike Alone

You get most of what you’d expect out of a typical entry in the series. Some POV shots, some jump scares, some Jason teleportation action, a quick shot of Jason sans mask, and so on. It’s not doing anything we haven’t seen before, but that’s kinda the point.

There is some tension build up here and there, and DiSanti makes extensive use of the Ki Ki Ki, Ma Ma Ma soundtrack (something that was inexplicably missing from the 2009 entry), but this isn’t going to hold a candle to the greats. Of which, I have to say, most F13 films are not. I love them to death, but they’re not fine cinema. This is perhaps a bit of a step down from even that bar, but not as big as you’d expect. Some other characters show up towards the end and there’s a nice cameo to cap things off (I won’t spoil who it is, but it’s not just the character name, they got the actual actor to reprise the role.) Probably only worth it for F13 obsessives, but it’s better than I thought it would be…

Never Hike in the Snow (YouTube)- There’ve been rumors for years (probably over a decade at this point) that the next official Friday the 13th movie would have a snowbound setting, and it’s always seemed like a neat idea. Snow makes for great contrasts and cold weather is sorta isolating on its own. Naturally, the second fan film in the series tries to take advantage of this, perhaps giving us a sneak peak at what we can expect.

Never Hike in the Snow

Clocking in at just 31 minutes, this doesn’t feel as complete as the first film, but it does amp up the cast and the kills and so on, the way a sequel should. As with the first film, we start the film with a person who chose to do what the title told them not to being chased by Jason, who toys with him a bit before dispatching him in gruesome fashion. It’s not Savini-level gore, but it’s fine (and it’s practical, which is good). Then the police show up and the older of them is basically trying to cover up the murder. The cameo from the first film shows up again to stir things up, and the younger cop takes it upon himself to investigate further.

We get some more Jason lore (his mom shows up) and a couple of good sequences, but this ultimately feels less cohesive and more just an excuse to have Jason walking around in the snow. Which is cool and all, but it just sorta ends. I believe they’re making more entries in the series, so maybe in the end, it’ll all fit together better. Again, probably only worth it for F13 completists, of which I guess I’m one. I’ll totally watch more of these though, especially if the the lawsuits continue…

Stay tuned, we return to the world of extra-schlocky horror this weekend…

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