Freddy vs. Jason - 2003
Director(s): Ronny Yu
Writer(s): Damian Shannon and Victor Swift (screenplay) / Wes Craven and Victor Miller (characters)
Cinematography by: Fred Murphy
Editor(s): Mark Stevens
Cast: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland and Brendan Fletcher
Freddy and Jason are so iconic and deeply embedded in the Horror zeitgeist that they can safely go by there first name without any fear of confusing the audience. Before 2003, the duo's combined filmography boasted seventeen blood-filled slashers (Jason 10 and Freddy 7), and in 1993's Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, their encounter was teased. It would take ten full years, and a couple of horrible outings for Jason, for their battle to come to fruition. And while one cannot describe this film without using the words dumb, gratuitous, and over the top, you cannot deny that it is a blast for fans of both icons. Let's talk about it.
The story takes place in Springwood, Ohio - the site of many killing sprees at the gloved hand of Freddy Krueger (Englund). Freddy is rendered powerless, thanks to the towns efforts to forget him - he draws his powers from fear. Freddy decides that the only way to force them to remember is by setting the Jason Voorhees (Kirzinger) loose on the town. Jason recreates Freddy's greatest hits, slowly giving him his powers back - making the town fear both going to sleep and staying awake. The disposable teenagers conceive a plan to pit them against eachother and then kill whoever survives the battle, leading to an epic showdown between an immovable object and the unstoppable force (that have been moved and stopped many times before).
There is a lot to like about Shannon and Swift's script, and you can tell they are fans (or at least studied) of the franchises. Using Jason to recreate Freddy's killings, while still bringing his style of gore was fun to watch, and if you are a fan of the series, it adds to your viewing experience. If you aren't a fan, you may still draw some entertainment from the pure slasher tone they went for, even though sometimes it tip-toes the line of parodying the slasher genre. The film does lose a lot of momentum whenever we focus on the teenagers Freddy is hunting, as they have little to no personalities and their lines are beyond generic, so whenever the film jumps back to Freddy's banter, it is almost as if a jolt of electricity runs through your body.
Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky and Fearless) adheres to the visual cues of the genre while adding his flair for action with a satisfying final battle. I do knock the film a bit for not building any tension in between the murders, with little to no scares for a horror film. This film is also the return of Robert Englund (New Nightmare came out in 1994), and it is as if there was no time in between as he is perfectly comfortable in the sweater and gloves - with his trademark quips and wicked sense of humor. The rest of the cast is either strapped by a bland character or is not a great actor, but Freddy and the gore are enough to carry the deadweight.
Freddy vs. Jason is a fun film that finally gives fans of the two icons the answer they have had for over a decade - what would happen if they went head to head? While it never dares to commit to either one, both get their moment in the spotlight, it has enough jokes and gore to justify spending the night watching them duke it out.
Freddy vs. Jason is a Streamer!
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