Due to legal battles between the writer and director of the original ‘Friday the 13th’, fans of Jason Voorhees have been left without a film for a decade. In 2017, director Vincente DiSanti filled this hole with ‘Never Hike Alone’, a fan film that defeated every notion that comes with the term with excellent production quality and exciting story telling.
DiSanti and team return this year with ‘Never Hike in the Snow’, a prequel to their 2017 effort. It follows Sheriff Rick Cologne, who fans may remember as a deputy from ‘Jason Lives’, as he investigates the disappearance of a hiker. Thom Mathews returns as well as Tommy Jarvis, yet again trying to warn Cologne of Jason’s return.
‘Never Hike in the Snow’ turns out to be a very worthy follow up and continues to prove that the franchise still has plenty of stories to tell. The winter time setting is exciting to see, with Jason only summering at Crystal Lake up until this point. It’s also great to see everyone’s favorite murder artist experiment with more weapons, like the use of a bow and arrow right off the top.
Where the Jason in ‘Never Hike Alone’ was a terrifying unrelenting physical presence, this Jason is almost spectral, clearly teleporting at times. DiSanti clearly knows how to use Jason in multiple ways and how to keep them all scary. There is a clear reverence to the original Friday movies, not just in the recasting of actors from them but in the creation of Jason himself, portrayed by DiSanti as well, complete with an altar topped off with the mummified head of one Pamela Voorhees.
Where ‘Never Hike in the Snow’ suffers is in the short film’s briefness, with an ending so abrupt the only way you can leave is with a slight feeling of disappointment. However, the ending also does seem to indicate this won’t be the last entry into the Never Hike series. Even if it is, fans can feel assured that if the official franchise is ever to leave legal limbo, there are very capable hands eager to get a chance to make a sanctioned entry into the world of Jason Voorhees.