Freddy vs. Jason takes place after Jason Goes to Hell and Freddy's Dead. In case you were wondering, the current status quo for both characters is deceased; of course, that's normal for both characters, so it should be no surprise that they can come back. Now, if you are unfamiliar with either Jason Voorhies and/or Freddy Kreuger, I'll give you a quick series catch-up. Jason, a mass murderer in the Crystal Lake area, has been dead and buried several times over the years; for his last five films, he has been a nigh-unstoppable murder-zombie with skin of varying Naugahyde-type textures. He kills in a variety of ways, but he loves stabbing best of all, especially when he can do it to naughty teens. Freddy was a child murderer in life, but he became a dream demon in death; he loves to kill teens --- it's never explained why he graduated from children to teens --- but needs them to fear him to gain access to their dreams, where he makes his attacks. Clearly, these two could probably bond over coffee and murder tales, but the title requires a fight, so let's find out how they get there.
|Stabbing a dude with his own weapon is always awesome|
This opus begins in Hell, which apparently isn't as full of flames as you may have been led to believe. Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund) gives the camera a quick recap of his history, concluding that the parents on Elm Street (his old haunt) have found a way to keep him forgotten in the minds of their children. That means Freddy is stuck in Hell, which gives Freddy a frowny face emoticon. I'm not exactly sure why he's upset, since he's a freaking dream demon, but maybe he just wants some more sweet, sweet dream murdering. How will Freddy remind the kids of his evil-osity? Obviously, he won't infest the dreams of the dozens of adults who remember him. That just wouldn't make any sense. Instead, he tracks down the soul of Jason Voorhies in Hell and (disguised as his Momma Voorhies) convinces Jason to return to life and do some killing on Elm Street. Interestingly, Jason's Hell consists of him murdering promiscuous teens. Is this film taking the daring stance that murderers go to Hell and get their own twisted eternal reward? Of course not; the director and screenwriters are just hacks. Another interesting point: apparently, Elm Street and Crystal Lake must be located fairly close together, because Jason seems to walk there rather quickly. Unless, of course, he hitchhiked in-between scenes; if so, I wish that was included in the extras, because it could have been fabulous. Anyways, Jason starts stalking Elm Street, finds some naughty kids, and starts a-stabbin'. The local cops try to keep mum on their suspicions, but word gets to the kids that some dude named Freddy is the suspect. And so it begins...!
As always, it appears that a small group of teens is the center for all the trouble. As always, the "teens" are actually twentysomethings, but that's an issue for another day. This time around, it happens to be Lori (Monica Keena) and her friends, Kia (Kelly Rowland) and Big Dumb Tits (Katharine Isabelle).
|What the Hell is going on behind her?|
|Impressive. That's not a hide-a-way bed, either.|
|"It makes sense, in a way" - actual hilarious quote from this scene|
How's the acting? **pause for several minutes of uncontrollable laughter** It's "special." Robert Englund is Freddy once again, and he is obviously loving every minute on camera. He hams it up quite a bit --- this is definitely Vegas Freddy at his best --- but is still the main attraction, as far as acting goes. Jason was played in this film by stuntman Ken Kirzinger, and he stabbed things in a satisfactory manner. The rest of the cast is pretty wretched. Monica Keena, while pretty and busty, has trouble conveying sadness, anger, fright, frustration, and happiness; she does do a pretty good Grover impression during the last few minutes of the film.
|Actual line: "Got yer nose!"|
How's the direction? Well, Ronny Yu had success revitalizing the Child's Play series, so it makes sense that he was hired to make Freddy vs. Jason. Yu is a terrible director, but he knows how to make bad movies enjoyable. Freddy vs. Jason, while not campy or terribly self-aware, is not too serious. Instead, it is a fun slasher romp that does its best to give the audience what it wants, the stuff that was promised by the title. Yu's talents are not of the technical variety, though. There is a lot of bad editing and Yu clearly doesn't have a solid grasp on how to use POV camera shots, much less the imagination and talent to provide subtle hints when characters have started to dream. If you pretend that Yu is a master director, the film is even more entertaining. I was a Teacher's Aide for a film studies class that I had never taken, so I was asked to write a paper on a scene of my choice, explaining the meaning through the cinematography and direction. It was the funniest thing I have ever written.
|I seriously wrote a 13-page paper on this three-minute scene|
Since this is a slasher flick, I should probably mention the special effects. The practical effects are all pretty solid. Limbs are lost, arterial blood mist covers many a scene, and the kills are almost all pretty awesome-looking. Since this is a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, that also means that there are many opportunities to use effects to get surreal and creepy. Some of these are handled very well, like the faces on the missing child posters or the eyeless child.
|Thank goodness it has facial burns. I wouldn't know it was evil without them.|
So the plot is incomprehensible, the acting sucks, and the directing is inept. How good is Freddy vs Jason? It is, quite possibly, the most perfect movie ever made.In his book, Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, the co-creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000 argues that Road House is the best film of all time, because it knew exactly what it was. Similarly, Freddy vs. Jason has no misconceptions; this is a stupid slasher movie designed to entertain through a collection of on-screen murders that are stitched together with a flimsy excuse for a plot.
|Bottom left: my personal favorite "death face" in the movie|
The plot point that I have the most fun with is definitely Lori's comment: "Freddy died by fire and Jason died by water. How can we use that?" The quick answer should be "Um, you can't," but the film likes the idea and decides that Jason is afraid of water --- even though he spends a hell of a lot of time in Camp Crystal Lake --- and Freddy is
|So afraid of water that it makes him kill?|
|Shouldn't this protect Jason from Freddy, then?|
On the other hand, this movie gets a lot of things legitimately right. I absolutely love Robert Englund's facial expressions when he realizes that he has been brought into the real world and is going to fight Jason. That mix of confusion and fear was perfect. I also liked that Freddy combats Jason with his cleverness, which is well within his normal character range. I'm okay with Freddy taking advantage of his smaller size and speed against the lumbering giant that is Jason, but he was almost ninja-like in this movie. It makes sense, even if it isn't based on his established character at all. Being a Jason fan, I was also pleased that he had nineteen kills to Freddy's one in this movie.
Of course, you can argue that Freddy and Jason have no real reason to fight. If Jason keeps killing, it's not going to prevent people from talking about Freddy, right? Quiet, you. The excuse for this premise is necessarily stupid, but that was never in question. Freddy vs. Jason works so well because it lives up to its premise without sweating the details. I thought this was a lot of fun the first time I saw it, but in the last thirty or forty times I have viewed it, I have noticed more and more "idiosyncrasies" in the plot. That might devalue it for some --- and I totally understand that --- but it just adds to the charm for me. I can't possibly be objective when reviewing this piece of art, but I will concede that it is a piece of Lefty Gold. Does it deserve the love I give it? Absolutely not, but love isn't always rational.
I came very close to not watching this movie in time for my month of horror reviews. I consolidated my DVD collection into binders a few years ago, and when I turned to the "F" section, I had an empty spot where Freddy vs. Jason should have been. Who would I have lent it to? Who wouldn't have returned it? Who needs to die?!? Luckily, I remembered that I got my FvJ copy as part of my four-disc Nightmare on Elm Street collection, so it was on the flip side of New Nightmare. That wasn't very interesting, but I shared anyway. Speaking of sharing, here's a list of ridiculously stupid moments that I love in Freddy vs. Jason:
- Teens on Elm Street have absolutely no problem scoring alcohol below the legal drinking age
- Big Dumb Tits, after a few drinks, is going to drive to the liquor store for more beer, claiming she is "totally below the limit." Except that every state has some sort of Zero Tolerance law for underage kids drinking and driving.
- Big Dumb Tits has sex with the bedroom door open in Lori's house, with other people in the house. Afterwards, her boyfriend refuses to cuddle because he "hates being touched after." So...much...awesome...badness...!!!
- Lori's friends want her to have sex because she hasn't had a boyfriend since she was fourteen. Sure, her boyfriend mysteriously disappeared and her mother died in a tragic accident at the time, but the obvious cure for emotional distress is a hot meat injection. By the way, she can't be older than eighteen in this movie.
- Sometimes, editing in post-production leaves in special effects without explaining them. Case in point: the snakes on the bathroom floor. Deleted scenes show how they got there, but the theatrical version just cuts to the floor and, whoa, snakes.
- The stabbing and crushing of one body, beheading of another and stab wound-caused death is called a sort of "Columbine thing"? I don't even know where to start with that one.
- While trying to research Freddy Kreuger at the library, the records appear heavily edited. The researching character's response: "January 18th. That's the day my brother committed suicide [in a Freddy-related way]. Why isn't that in here?" Probably because it would have been reported in the January 19th paper.
- The teens motor around in a van with a wizard on the side and black lights in the back. While that's awesome, the owner of the van has been dead for years and his little brother has been committed to the psych ward. What kind of parents keep that thing in pristine shape?
- They have a rave in a cornfield. They all deserve to die.
- My favorite raver is Powerman 5000-looking punk rock dude. Punk
rockers love glow sticks. And rape. I learn everything from movies.
- After the rave massacre, the surviving kids agree to go home instead of the police. Because, you know, one of their friends was murdered and they all need sleep.
- The legend of Jason Voorhies has him returning from the grave to kill anyone at Camp Crystal Lake. Except...he was alive when he did that in Part II...and then he visited the camp in Part VI, but didn't kill any children...so...I'm going to call that legend incorrect.
- The police officer explains the legend of Jason dying and coming back to kill again. Obviously, we're dealing with a copycat killer. The nerd says, "no, I saw what he can do, this is the real thing." Because he knows his undead murderers.
- Hypnocil bottles call for a 1000:1 dilution. That's practical.
- Freddy asks Jason, "Why won't you die?!?" Maybe because he's an unkillable zombie murder machine?
- The nerd charges at Jason, wielding an American flag as a weapon. Sadly, the "Star-Spangled Banner" is not playing in the background.
- Apparently, blood loss is supposed to be a problem for Freddy and Jason, based on how much attention it gets from the camera. Never mind that they are undead killers, back from beyond the grave.
a stoner, trying to stay awake as you break-and-enter into a secure
facility with a police officer. What do you say? "Time for a 'J'
break"? Really? Really?!?
- "'One, two, Freddy's coming for you.' You know why they say that? Because that's when he comes for you." Um...at "one, two"?