As a big Friday the 13th fan (Stan!), I’ve been looking forward to 13 Fanboy for quite some time. PopHorror writers, myself included, have covered the Deborah Voorhees helmed project since the very beginning. We cheered as the cast grew and as they looked for equity investors and even covered their first filming update from the set. Now, after 3 long years, the movie is here, and at last available on digital and video on demand. How did it turn out? I rented it this past weekend to find out.
I did my best to keep it spoiler-free, but there might be a few mildly spoiler-ish things here. Apologies in advance. Check out the trailer below, then read on for my thoughts on this all-new, Friday the 13th inspired slasher.
13 Fanboy Synopsis
An obsessed fan stalks his favorite actors from the Friday the 13th films and beyond. As a child, Kelsie Voorhees witnesses the murder of her grandmother, Friday the 13th actress Deborah Voorhees, at the hands of a crazed fanboy. As an adult, she discovers her grandmother isn’t the only victim and the killer is still out there searching for his favorite Friday the 13th cast members and iconic scream queens to slaughter, mirroring his idol Jason Voorhees, as he still can’t seem to separate the characters in the movies from their real-life personas.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning actress Deborah Voorhees directed the film from a screenplay she co-wrote with Joel Paul Reisig. The film stars horror icon Dee Wallace and Hayley Greenbauer, alongside Friday the 13th franchise alums Kane Hodder, Corey Feldman, Lar Park Lincoln, C.J. Graham, Ron Sloan, Tracie Savage, Judie Aronson, and Jennifer Banko.
Here’s a look at the official poster art!
Like the spoiler-y synopsis indicates, the movie opens with the murder of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning star (and 13 Fanboy director) Deborah Voorhees. The opening scene shows Deborah’s death in a flashback before the movie flashes forward to follow Dee Wallace (playing herself) and her family, as well as Deborah’s adult daughter Kelsie, who witnessed the murder as a child. Kelsie is portrayed ably here by relative newcomer Hayley Greenbauer.
Deborah’s killer is still on the loose and menaces Kelsie and Dee and several other Friday alum. Kelsie and Dee band together along with a few other familiar faces to try to solve the mystery and keep each other safe.
Can they find the killer and stop him before they all fall victim to fanboy obsession? You’ll have to watch for yourself and find out!
A Fun, Ensemble Cast
The first thing I can say about 13 Fanboy? I loved the cast. It was so cool to see all of these familiar faces working together as an ensemble cast. The film has cool on-screen intros for most of the actors to remind the audience who’s who. Writer/Director Deborah Voorhees was smart to cast Dee Wallace in the lead as her veteran presence and performance really serve to ground the film. Her choice of Hayley Greenbauer was also inspired, as she comes across as a sympathetic, believable character who can also kick a little ass.
The Friday the 13th actors have great chemistry on-screen and you really do get the feeling they know and care about each other. It’s perfectly believable they’d be friends from time spent on set, on the convention circuit, and what have you. This familiarity and chemistry are put to good use. 13 Fanboy is supremely self-referential and has a lot of fun with the fact that everyone here is having fun and are perfectly well aware they are part of Friday the 13th lore. Kane Hodder and Jennifer Banko, in particular, were enjoyable to watch on screen together.
The story has a few twists and turns that keep you guessing and some genuine eyebrow-raising moments. The story builds to a pretty satisfying finale, or what appears to be a finale, before taking a turn that really punches you in the gut. I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty wild. It might not please everyone, but I really dug it. Big points here, in my book, for taking a big risk.
It’s a little jarring to have all of these Friday actors playing themselves, but then watching Corey Feldman play a completely fictional character. Feldman is goofy and creepy in his role here, and I imagine part of luring him to the project meant giving him something “new” to do. Personally, I would have been interested in seeing Feldman pull a “Hey, I killed Jason, remember?” when talking to C.J. Graham and Kane Hodder. Followed by some heavy sighs and eye rolls, of course. That would have been hilarious. It’s all good, but it took me out of things a bit.
It was also interesting to see how they wrote Ron Sloan into the story as “himself.” Sloan played “Junior” in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. In 13 Fanboy he plays Dee Wallace’s husband! I know! I’m just as shocked as you. I guess we can look at 13 Fanboy as taking place in the Friday the 13th multiverse. What we have here is one of the presumably many alternate realities. Hey, I can roll with it. Hopefully, you can, too.
If you’re a Friday the 13th fan, I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy this movie. In a world where the film series we love so much is mired in endless legal battles and has been all but dead for 12 years, 13 Fanboy is a breath of fresh air. Jason Voorhees may be gone, but thankfully Deborah Voorhees is here to help fill the void. Yes, 13 Fanboy is a low-budget production, but it makes good use of its ensemble cast and was a highly enjoyable watch, for me, because of the obvious passion of all those involved.
Is it perfect? No. But it’s a good amount of fun for Friday the 13th fans looking to see some of their series favorite actors and actresses back in the saddle again. About the only other thing I could ask for would be a few Harry Manfredini musical cues! Oh well. Maybe in the sequel.
Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!