Title: Freddy vs. Jason
Director: Ronny Yu
Writer: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Release Date: August 15, 2003
Cast: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Lochlyn Murno, Katherine Isabelle
Freddy vs. Jason Cliff’s Notes
In order to make the teens of Elm Street remember him, Freddy Kruger sends Jason Voorhees to Springwood to slice and dice. Unfortunately for old Fred, Jason isn’t a fan of slowing down, meaning that Fred’s not going to be revenging anything any time soon. Solution? Slasher-movie throw down. Ch-ch-ch/nightmares follow, leaving a group of teens – actors in their twenties – in the middle.
Oh, my god, yes! This puppy manages to be not only the best of the Friday the 13ths since Part VII – and it might even be better – but it’s also the strongest of the NOES flicks since The Dream Warriors. We get a story that embraces both of the series while creating the perfect set up to have these two knock the tar out of each other. On the way, we get a slew of groovy kills, a number of great throwbacks, and enough disposable teens to slaughter.
Of course, none of it would matter if the showdown isn’t up to snuff. Luckily for us, the battle between Freddy and Jason is epic! They’re just as vicious as you’d expect and really step it up in terms of the violence. By the time we get to the end of the third act, they’ve caused so much mayhem and violence that it’s hard for either to continue. If the flick was only the last thirty minutes, it would still be a winner!
Sure, it’s not all coming up roses. Whoever crafted the teens angle of this flick left a lot to be desired. While they’re mostly likeable, the entire process of them finding out what’s going on, accepting it, and making plans to overcome the situation at hand seems to happen very quickly. There are also a bunch of stupid, one-dimensional adult characters that are doing nothing but making the situation worse. Plus, the teens in this house are super dull and only pass as teens because we’re told over and over again that they’re not adults. Come on!
Englund is, as always, an amazing addition to the NOES series. He’s at his very best here, balancing both comedy and terror like a pro. Kirzinger is a solid Jason – his casting over Hodder was a note of concern for some fans – but his work here is a-OK. The teens – none of whom look like teens – are hit or miss. Ritter and Rowland have a number of weak moments while Keena and Isabelle have been better in other flicks. Murno deserves better than this – the guy is easily the strongest of the humans – so it’s weird to see him wasted.
Yu gives the fight scenes and scares their due, making for a mucho engaging flick. It looks like a million bucks and has a features a number of great horror bits. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, the second act is a little weird pacing-wise and there are a few moments that don’t stand up to the rest of the flick, but there’s enough good here to over shadow the flaws.
The real success is bringing both sides of this flick together in a way that creates horror harmony. It really shines as both a NOES flick and a F13th joint. The structure is solid and there are a bunch of crafty bits – loved the corn field slaughter – that really rock. That plus the last act really lift this puppy up. On the flip side, the characters here are thinner than slender man, which really hurt the first half of the flick. Plus, and I might be the only one who feels this, but the first couple of acts seem a touch rushed. I get that we’re building up to the title fight, but I really wish we had a touch more before the party gets started. That, plus a slew of awful lines, brings this puppy down.
Mostly right on! We get peeps broken in half, a number of fun stab wounds, an impaling, and the best fight scene of the year! The red stuff flows and really makes the flick stand out. On the duller side of the blade, the CGI isn’t always at the same level as the practical effects. A few moments look really nice, but several don’t hold up.
The third act of this puppy is, hands down, some of the most fun you can have with the series. The showdown between the horror icons makes up for everything that has come before it in the flick.
There are a few plot holes in this puppy, one you can literally drive a van through, that took me out of the flick. Apparently, you can drive from Ohio to New Jersey in a couple of hours. Yep. That plus the – often unnecessarily – difficult “adult characters” really piss me off.
Friday the 13th-iness
This puppy manages to both scream Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. We get Jason stalking through the woods, Freddy and a bunch of fun-horror dream bits, and an army of dead teens. Somehow, still more Friday the 13th-y than Jason Goes to Hell.
Sure, it took them 10 years to get this puppy released, but it was so worth it! The flick looks great, has a ton of fun bits, and really combines both franchises in a great way! What few knocks this puppy has against it can’t compete with the last act. Nice job!
Grade: B+ (A for the last thirty minutes, B- for the first hour)