Horror
Freddy Vs Jason
.
Dir: Ronny Yu
Star: Robert Englund, Monica Keena, Ken Kirzinger, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 2003
Format: DVD R1
'

Freddy Kreuger has been languishing in hell since the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street 6: Freddy's Dead. The residents of Springwood have for had several years of uninterupted sleep and no more teenagers mysteriously dying in their sleep. This is due to the fact than anyone who has had previous "contamination" by Freddy has been packed off to the local sanitarium of Westin Hills and dosed up with Hypnocil to prevent them dreaming. In addition to which, every record pertaining to his name or his works has been doctored or removed completely, and not even his name can be said out loud. For Springwood, this has worked and life has gone on as if nothing had ever happened. This means that there is no reason to fear Freddy anymore and without fear, he is powerless to affect any of his deadly dreamweaving.
Enraged by his virtual emasculation and a general lack of fear, Freddy formulates a plan and utilises the skills of another of hells denizens. He wakes up the hockey masked killer of Camp Crystal Lake, Jason Vorhees and sends him off to Springwood to dish out some of his own particular brand of death dealing in order to instill fear back in the townsfolk. Once they start finding dead bodies again they will naturally think of their favourite "bastard son of a thousand maniacs".... Freddy Kreuger.
Things go well to begin with and as Freddy starts to feel a little more like his old self, the bodies begin to mount up but, it soon becomes apparent that Jason is unwilling to just step aside.....

At last! After 10 years of rumour, conjecture, phantom scripts and studio wrangling, not to mention the patient waiting by the fans... it ... is... here! The most eagerly awaited duel, face off and battle by two of the most prominent horror icons of the genre, the biggest hitters and meanest bad guys with literally thousands of kills to their names.
In one corner you have the "Springwood Slasher", the "bastard son of a thousand maniacs" the evil, razor clawed dream demon himself... Freddy Kreuger.
In the other corner, the lumbering, hockey masked, machete wielding "mothers boy", the indestructible mute and holiday camp unfriendly slasher .... Jason Vorhees.

Fans of both film series have whispered and dare I say, dreamt of this project for years and it has been a long time coming. The teaser ending to Jason Goes to Hell way back in 1993 showed Freddy's razor clawed glove come out of the ground and claim Jason's hockey mask which further fuelled the rumours and led everyone to believe that the battle was imminent, but the impending fight was not forthcoming. Robert Englund has always maintained his enthusisam for the project and has been waiting for the script for years and "regular" Jason Vorhees actor Kane Hodder had also expressed his interest and now finally it is here, albeit without the excellent Kane Hodder. I am pleased to be able to report that it doesn't disappoint and it has been worth the wait. The audience of Freddy Vs Jason is no doubt going to remain divided however, with the Elm Street fans on one side and the Jason fans on the other. No doubt the latter will be dissappointed by fact that this film is set in the Nightmare on Elm Street stylee.

The story is very much in the A Nightmare on Elm Street vain and predominantly Freddy orientated (Which isn't a particularly bad thing!) so the Freddy fans are going to love it. This is bound to be a point of contention for the Jason fans though, but they had to get these two characters together somehow and this is possibly the best way to do it, and does work rather well. Freddy is more along the lines of the Wes Craven incarnation and less like the later films' characterizations. Here he is his fabulously manipulative, inventive, wicked and viciously witty self. Exactly what you want, and he also indulges his love to toy with his victims in a suitably demeaning and cruel manner. Jason is typically Jason in his patented stomping around hacking, stabbing and slashing manner as he dispenses numerous "naughty teenagers" whilst surviving the various attempts they employ to dispatch him. Admittedly, I was never a fan of the Friday the 13th movies and felt the later Jason movies were seriously lacking any ingenuity or creativity. The character never spoke and was always portrayed in the same manner, a lumbering, mute, indestructible, mindless hockey mask wearing killing machine out for the blood of teenagers. This drastically limited the range for the character and certainly meant he was never going to really develop, at least until Jason X .... kind of. The stories were always the same, just told in different surroundings usually and soon became a victim of their own formulaic success. Elm Street on the other hand offered more possibilities with which to indulge the murderous mayhem and psychological slaughter instigated by Freddy in the dream realm. They tried a couple of new things but not always successfully and after the third instalment the audience were firmly rooting for Freddy and loving this villainous rogue with a penchant for James Bond like glib / witty one liners as he dispatched his victims. It is no wonder that Freddy Kreuger rapidly became one of the most prominent horror icons of the genre. This is a welcome return for Freddy to his good form and his darkly humorous quips.

Ok, so on the whole this isn't particularly scary to be honest, but it does have some very good moments which are bound to make you jump but for fans of the Elm Street movies there are few surprises. There is some good atmosphere throughout and the direction by Ronny Yu is excellent. After his sterling work with Bride of Chucky there could have been little real doubt that he is the right man for the job, although I for one would have liked to see Wes Craven return to the directors seat for this as he would undoubtibly have brought a more taut horror aspect to the proceedings and not relied upon the dark humour. I did like the style wrought by Yu as it is similar to Wes Craven and compliments some of the earlier Elm Street movies with a slick and stylish approach. Visually this is very well arranged and there are some good effects on display, nothing too excessive or over the top so nothing likely to really detract from the main focus of the film as it stylishly weaves its way from death to death and fight to fight. My main real crtiticism though is that the actual battle between these two horror behemoths could have been slowly built up. Perhaps several small spats or quick running battles which pave the way for a major all out melee for a real finale.

Robert Englund, as always delivers a deliciously vicious and evocative performance as Freddy Kreuger. The new Freddy make up looks pretty good but I still prefer the excellent Kevin Yagher design for Elm Street 3. Freddy Kreuger is undoubtedly Englund's signature character and it just wouldn't be Freddy without him, although for such an accomplished actor it is a pity that this is the only role he is most widely remembered for. Unfortunately, Kane Hodder does not reprise his role here as Jason Vorhees and is now replaced by Ken Kirzinger who lacks the pure presence of Hodder who seemed to ooze malevolence in an otherwise limited and purely physical role. In terms of Jason himself, there is precious little to get excited about, he is typical Jason, lumbering around in an intimidating manner, machete in hand looking for misbehaving teens to kill in his simple mindless agenda. We have seen this all before and Jason is now a true stereotype, I'm sure that all the Jason fans were hoping for something a little more than this, especially after the excellent Jason X.

The cast is pretty good and there are some good performances, but nothing really special. Katherine Isabelle wasn't especially impressive in Ginger Snaps, but an early display of flesh here (thanks to a body double) and a camp swaggering, alcoholic, chain smoking teen performance and she seems more "appealing". She does quite well here in spite of being a little silly and over the top at times and it would be nice to see what this young lass will do next. Monica Keena makes an almost impressive debut here but is just like all the other bleached blonde bimbo scream queens that we already have. Unfortunately she has nothing new to offer and lacks any real ability, which shows through in this role. She obviously isn't good enough for such a prominent role, nice try but she should have stayed in Dawsons Creek! American singer and one third of Destinys Child, Kelly Rowland is dreadfully wooden and terribly cheesy. Whether this is due to her character or just her general performance I don't know but she becomes increasingly annoying throughout the film. You can't help but wish that one of the "bad guys" would just kill her quickly and horribly to get her off the screen. She can't act and there was altogether far too much pretty posturing and utterances of "Y'all" for my liking. The male cast are an assembled bunch of whiney, wimps and possess little talent but are watchable on the whole. Although for some reason one of the characters bears more than a passing resemblence to "Jay" Jason Mewes from the Kevin Smith movies.

Overall Freddy Vs Jason rocks! Admittedly, this isn't quite as good as I had hoped but my expectations may have been a little optimistic. It is a very impressive and darkly amusing film, The kids get in the way a bit and it would have been better if they had just let these characters slog it out without the teen interference. A very cool dream world ass whupping is delivered by Mr Kreuger and is later followed by a frenetic real world battle courtesy of Mr Vorhees. This is of course, just what we as fans wanted and were expecting. Although, I did feel that the battle is left a little unresolved, despite being for the most part a one horse race this could have ended much better. Don't get me wrong, the ending itself is not all bad but I personally would have preferred a slightly less cheesy version of the "alternate ending" (available on the disc) or the much speculated upon Pinhead ending. I hate to admit that I hope this is the start of a new franchise, because I for one would like to see this battle progress further..... and a higher body count worthy of such accomplished killers.

Quote

Freddy: Welcome to My Nightmare!

Kelly Rowland Oh, God, y'all, two killers? We're not safe awake or asleep.

Freddy: "How sweet, dark meat" (to Kelly Rowland).

Dude, that goalie was mad about something.

Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen Good quality crisp image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 THX Surround EX Excellent. Sounds superb
DISC 1
Features Cool animated menus
Widescreen and Fullscreen versions of the film
"Jump to a death" option like you get on all the other Elm Street movies
Commentary track by director Ronny Yu and stars Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger
DISC 2
Features Cool menu
20 Deleted scenes and the Alternate ending and an alternate opening sequence.
Behind the scenes footage of the film's development
"Visual Effects exploration" - featurette
Original theatrical trailer and TV spots
Easter eggs, DVD ROM content and more goodies than you can shake a stick at!
Ill Nino: How can I live - music video
Verdict A brilliant two disc box set. Loads of good extras and some fun Easter eggs too. A good presentation for a good film and comes in a shiny cover - unlike the UK one :)

Rating: 5 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home