Freddy vs. Jason
Director: Ronny Yu
Written by: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Weapon of Choice: Machete
Based upon: none
Other movies in this series:
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
The tyranist's thoughts
So you happen to have bought up the rights to a longer-than-normal lived horror franchise. You also own a horror franchise that has held its own over the years. What better way to liven up the two than the good old-fashioned marketing gimmick: a crossover? I can't think of any better way.
So Freddy has lost power because the people (especially the children have forgotten him) and Jason is dead, sort of. As dead as Jason Voorhees ever is anyway. Freddy somehow finds the dreams of Jason and sends him to Elm Street to bring back the fear. Mayhem and petty bickering over who gets to kill whom ensues.
I find that the premise of this film is easy to mock, but while my butt was in that seat I was entertained as much as I have been by any movie this year. I'm not a big fan of the crossover since they are rarely done well. At the same time, Ronny Yu seems to be possessed of the blackest humor known to man and can nail this kind of thing pretty well. The script seemed decently thought out (they've been working on it for 10 years so it ought to be) and I really liked the cast, both human and maniac. Even Kelly Rowland.
The movie really was very creative and very well done. At times it seemed like they may have cut something, but the narrative rarely suffered from it. This ranks easily as the goriest entry in either series.
There's no reason for me to recommend this to you. You are either going to see it or you aren't. Fans of the two franchises obviously owe it to themselves to check it out and other horror fans should see it just so that they understand the pop culture references to it that are bound to ensue.
Rish Outfield's reviews
I'm afraid this is going to be one of those friendship-ruining disagreements between tyranist and me. Traditionally, he thinks everything is great and I think everything sucks. I'm sure this review will not change that. I did have the advantage, however, of seeing this flick with my Irish friend, who reacted with such unbridled, venomous cynicism, you'd think the movie sodomized him repeatedly as a child. I found myself wanting to defend Freddy versus Jason (and indeed, the country that produced it), even though I hated it too.
Good old reliable Robert Englund did what he does best, and looked darn good in the burn makeup, even if 80% of his lines absolutely blew and he added "bitch" to the end of 60% of those. It was also a mistake to have him narrate the film. Jason had no personality at all (I wonder if I should miss Kane Hodder or not), but hey, what else is new? The female lead, "Dawson's Creek"'s Monica Keena, who I had seen in other stuff and never been impressed with before, was actually pretty good (okay, she cries easily) and real attractive. As her hero boyfriend, John Ritter's kid . . . well, I suppose the guy's handsome. As the token trash-talking black best friend, Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland must be stopped from ever acting again at all costs. Jeez, I thought someone had farted every time she was on the screen. I know I've ranted and raved about rappers and R&B starts being implanted into these movies and how infuriating and insulting it is, but . . . there was a reason I did that. Katharine Isabel, the werewolf sister in Ginger Snaps, may have looked more like a normal girl in this, but I sure wanted her to die. There was a likable geek character in the film, but even that got heavy-handed.
The premise wasn't exactly horrible (I had heard it rumoured that they were going to claim Fred Krueger was the one who killed Jason as a child . . . shudder), and at least some of the ideas were alright. Of the two Horror icons, Freddy was clearly the more evil of the pair, delighting in torment and suffering, and not above molesting our poor, virginal-even-though-she's-got-a-tattoo heroine, while Jason is just a big, childish, lumbering ape.
Director Ronny Yu, who breathed new life into the Child's Play series with Bride of Chucky, provided a few fantastic images, but failed to create even one realistic character, let alone any likable ones. The dialogue was occasionally awful, and I loved how the characters made enormous leaps of plot intuition that stretched credibility like Mr. Fantastic's dong.
I suppose the whole concept of Jason Voorhees fighting Freddy Krueger was doomed from the beginning. After all, both characters are amoral, immortal psychopaths who had their series run into the ground until even the gorehounds started to avoid them. And the decade that spawned them, the greedy, yet naively optimistic Eighties is so far in the past people don't even make jokes about it anymore.
While my Irish friend raved that this was the worst thing ever committed to celluloid (and I would assume that includes snuff films), in preparing this review, I found more than a couple things I liked about it. So, I guess I'm still glad the medium of film was invented. And there was nudity, at least.
They replicated the look and feel of both the Elm Street house and Camp Crystal Lake impressively. At least they respected (or semi-respected) the character's backstories, recreating both their origins while remaining faithful to the first films in the series. I'll hand them that. And there were a couple of clever moments, such as when Freddy crawled inside the stoner to do something he needed a body to accomplish, or the use of Jason's mother as his motivator, or the idea of an experimental drug that prevents kids from dreaming, or the bravely-done moment when Jason becomes afraid in his own nightmare. Wait a minute, it's starting to sound like I didn't totally hate the flick all of a sudden.
Some of the visuals were really nice. In fact, one of the few arguments I dared utter when my mick pal called Ronny Yu a hack was to say that I thought it was much better directed than it was written. In fact, the last fifteen minutes or so were actually quite good, with an interesting, graphic battle that certainly satisfied my bloodlust.
But I didn't come for a World Wrestling Federation free-for-all, I came for a horror movie. And on that level, Freddy versus Jason fails completely.
Okay, so I wish it had been better. So I wish it had been scary. It wasn't, but I can't really let it ruin my day. I disliked the movie, and I don't recommend it, but there have been worse Horror sequels (the Alien and Halloween installments both subtitled "Resurrection" come to mind), including previous entries in both series (it was way better than Jason Goes To Hell or Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare). Heck, I can name some non-Horror sequels that were worse (Batman and Robin, anyone? How about Highlander 2?). It doesn't really matter what I say, however, as it looks like this flick, in its first three days of release, made more than the last several entries of either series combined. As one of my Film teachers used to always say, "You bastards vote with your dollar."
Best Scare: Hey kids, there were virtually no scares. Oh wait, I thought of one. There was a nice dream moment when a little girl had no eyes. That was disturbing.
Total Skulls: 47
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|