I reviewed the "original" Jeff the Killer, but I didn't get to say much that hasn't already been said. Just about every knows it's a bad story, and that's why it was taken off the wiki. But, given that Jeff is a major figure in general Creepypasta lore, the admins realized they really did need him to have some kind of presence on the site. So, in 2015 they created a contest where users would write their own remakes of the story. Was the remake any good? Well, it's complicated. I'll explain my thoughts here.
Before we begin, however, I have to give full disclosure. I'm one of the people who entered the contest. My story did not make the finalists, but you can still read it on the Spinpasta wiki under the title "Jeff the Killer: One by One." I feel it's important to note this, but I don't hold any kind of ill-will towards the story or the author because of it. Far from it, I think Banning is one of the best authors on the wiki. He has a fantastic talent for dialogue and world-building and his stories are some of the most engaging and entertaining Creepypastas around.
But I don't think this story isn't very good. I'll explain the problems I have with the story, but I'll also talk about the things I like. There are several elements of this pasta that I like, but the "big picture" that the story presents just isn't very good.
Let's start off with the positives first, the strongest one being the dialogue. Banning writes fantastic banter, character development and is a master of making interactions between characters emotional and memorable. There are tons of great lines. From little quips and jokes to some emotionally painful lines that make your heart sink in your chest.
Characterization and world building are also clearly Banning's strong suits. Little moments like how Jeff and Liu are actually excited that a shitty video rental store still exists in their small town, and how Randy (the 'leader' of the bullies) is given a semi-sympathetic motivation and backstory really bring the story to a much higher level than the original. It becomes a real story, with characters and conflict, rather than a Mary Sue Slasher Revenge Fantasy (TM).
The 2011 version is very low concept, despite being almost the length of a short novel. It only has three important scenes that are very obvious and can be easily described in a single sentence. 2015 is much better in this regard. Every scene is complex and intimate. The part where Jeff goes to Randy's house (without spoiling anything) is a great example of this. It's an intimate scene with a lot going on, and is basically better than the 2011 version as a whole. Then there's the ending scene, which is a nice blend of disturbing and cathartic. But I'll talk more about that later.
Unfortunately, that's pretty much the end of anything complimentary I have to say about the story. From this point forward, While the story has tons and tons of stuff that's individually good, but the story, when taken as a whole, just doesn't work. It isn't a "horrible" story like Clockwork or the 2011 version of JtK, but it simply doesn't work.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that Banning's remake fixes many of the problems the original had, it still retains one of the biggest: it's still way too long. The 2015 remake is slightly longer than the "original" story. Even if the writing has been vastly improved, it's still exhausting to read a Creepypasta this long when it isn't broken up into chapters or anything similar.
I wouldn't mind the story's length if it weren't for the fact that NOTHING HAPPENS HALF THE TIME. Once again, we are forced to remember Big Willy's famous quote, "Brevity is the soul of wit." This story is severely lacking in brevity, as the reader is forced to endure pages upon pages of absolutely nothing happening. Now, when something does happen it's a welcome surprise, but
Remember how I mentioned that the ending was satisfying? Well, that's actually a big part of the problem. It's satisfying and a little disturbing, but it isn't scary. Jeff is far, far too justified in his actions. Throughout the entire story, Jeff's parents spend the entire story being abusive, cruel, neglectful and generally awful in every way. When Jeff finally kills them at the end, it feels cathartic, sure. It feels earned, yes, but does it actually feel scary? Does it actually feel terrifying? Is there any real point to it other than for Jeff to look like a hero?
This creates a huge problem: because Jeff is totally justified in his actions and he's portrayed so sympathetically, the story simply isn't scary. This is a major flaw considering this is supposed to be a horror story, on a site that exclusively hosts horror stories.
The reason people get annoyed with Jeff's fandom is they all treat him like he's this lovable, sweet kid who didn't do anything wrong. Why would you encourage those sort of fans by making him even more sympathetic?
But as annoying as the fandom can be, I can understand why many of them wouldn't like this story. "Jeff the Killer" isn't even "Jeff the Killer" in it. For being called a "killer" he only ever kills two people, and both of them very much deserve it. Jeff doesn't even look like his iconic form, and the story makes no attempt to have him even resemble it. By the end, Jeff looks more like Twoface than the famous picture.
It's better on a technical standpoint, certainly. The grammar is better, there are no typos, the storytelling is better, the dialogue is better - but all of these things are only technical aspects of what makes a story good. At its heart, it just doesn't work. It's a boring story that's way too long and isn't scary.
It's a story you might appreciate when you first read it than you would in retrospect. That is, if you even bothered to finish it.
Jeff the Killer 2015 gets a 5/10. Better than the original, but nothing worthy of a "Creepypasta Legend" like Jeff is supposed to be.