For years, splatter film fans have been waiting for the showdown between
Hollywood's two most prolific serial killers. With 17 films between them
(10 for Jason's Friday the 13th series and 7 for Freddy's A
Nightmare on Elm Street series), the killers each have their own dedicated fan base.
Pairing the two of them against one another is like seeing Muhammad Ali
fight Mike Tyson or Bruno Sammartino wrestle Hulk Hogan -- each in their
respective prime, of course.
vs. Jason (2003)
Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger,
and Monica Keena
this film was supposed to happen a while ago. The final shot of Jason
Goes to Hell, the 9th installment of the Friday
the 13th series,
shows Jason's hockey mask being grabbed by Freddy's clawed hand. Unfortunately,
for whatever reason, these two slasher icons did not meet for 11 more
years. Jason and Freddy each appeared in one more film following that
teasing image. Jason X took the machete-wielding killer into
the future and A New Nightmare rewrote the rules of the Freddy
series in a vein similar to the then yet-to-be-released Scream films.
In any case, Freddy
vs. Jason ignores the two newer films and picks up where Jason
Goes to Hell and
Freddy's Dead, each supposedly the last film
in their respective series, left off. Sort of. Freddy is in Hell moping
about how he's been forgotten. He needs to get the folks in Springwood
talking about him again so they can dream about him which, of course,
will enable him to kill again. To do this, he tricks Jason into "waking
up" by posing as his mother in a dream. (I guess Jason sleeps between
films and, apparently, dreams.) Under Freddy's control, Jason begins hacking
up the town and, sure enough, the suriviors begin blaming the deaths on
Freddy. However, as Freddy regains his strength, Jason keeps on killing
people. Freddy's not too happy about the loss of potential victims and
decides to stop Jason from stealing his thunder. Hence, Freddy vs. Jason.
That's a very rudimentary version of the plot. Fans of the genre will
enjoy a few laughs as well as a few jumps from the machinations of setting
up the final showdown between the two killing machines.
Robert Englund, who's played
Freddy Krueger in all of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, is his dependably "charming" self
as the sweater and fedora-wearing killer. Kane Hodder, who has played
Jason in the last
few Friday the 13th films, is noticeably absent. In his place is Ken Kirzinger,
making for a slightly thinner and shorter Jason. I think this substitution
actually works to make Jason a bit less lethargic and stiff-looking onscreen
and that makes the showdown look more evenly matched.
As a fan of the 80s slasher
genre that spawned both Freddy and Jason, I was not disappointed with
the film at all. There were some things that
made me scratch my head like Jason's sudden fondness for his machete and
the sudden relocation of Camp Crystal Lake to a close proximity to Springwood.
Other than those minor quibbles, though, I had an excellent time watching
Freddy vs. Jason. Director Ronny Yu keeps enough of the standard slasher
clichés intact so as not to jar anyone into thinking too much while
still offering a decent pace and a lot of reminders why we keep going
to the theater to see these types of films in the first place.
vs. Jason is not, in any way, shape or form, a revolutionary
motion picture. It's not supposed to be. What it provides is a really
good time for those who've enjoyed either (or both) of these characters'
previous films. It does a relatively good job at remaining true to the
timelines of both series and manages to work in some cheap scares and
a few good-natured chuckles. It's a horror movie and it's also a good
summer movie. It's great popcorn entertainment for those willing to stomach
buckets of blood and over-the-top decapitation. Anyone who didn't know
they'd get both of those elements in this film probably deserves to get
call letters of the news station shown on the TV in the hospital are
KRGR, obviously a reference to Freddy Krueger. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)