Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Like it or not folks, this movie was The Phantom Menace for horror fans. Put in the works in 1994, most horror fans gave up hope that this would ever be made. Here we are, 9 years later, with one question:
Did Freddy fry marshmallows on his face or something?
Well, that was MY question. But, you might be asking, “Did it live up to his hype?” And I would answer, “The best it could.”
I am a standard prejudiced horror fan with a space in my dark heart for Freddy and a deep abyss of loathing for Jason. Therefore, I was naturally torn at the prospect of this movie, and wondering how much suspension of disbelief will the filmmaker require of me while watching this film. In actuality, the premise was borderline “reasonable”. Freddy was in hell, and could not get back to earth. Apparently, the only way he can stay on earth is if people in Springwood fear him (this was news to me, but sounded decent, so I turned my burnt cheek at it). 10 years have passed and every trace of Freddy has been erased. So, Freddy decides that if he could not go to earth, he was going to summon Jason in his place (It was not very clear how they met, so I just assumed they shared bunk beds in hell.) When Jason sparked enough fear in Springwood, Freddy would grow strong enough to return to earth. This premise stays for about the first half of the film, and the last half turns into a Battle Royale of Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot proportions between the two monsters.
Make no qualms about it, this film has no cinematic merit at all, and the plot (if you could call it that) was a mess. There was entirely to much jumping around between scenes, and even I had my face scrunched up in a Homer-like “Doh?“ several times. While they tweaked Freddy’s origin a little bit (they have to do that every 2 sequels or so to confuse the viewing audience), it was nothing compared to what they did with Jason. Apparently, Jason is now afraid of water. I thought this was interesting as almost every damn movie he comes out of a f**king lake! Even more interesting, Freddy is afraid of fire. However, I can overlook that. You see, Freddy vs. Jason was not made just to be enjoyed by the diehard fans. It was made for the casual observer who doesn’t really care about them one way or another, but would love to see what would happen if they battled it out.
While choppy and inconsistent, Freddy vs. Jason gives enough background history on the two characters that one does not need to have ever seen a Freddy or Jason movie in their life to see this film. Somewhat of a bummer for the loyal fans, but this technique is what made it No. 1 at the box office this week.
With all it’s flaws, it was still fun to watch, and not in a Jason X “this is so bad, it’s good way”. The best thing the director did was not take himself too seriously. There are many, MANY opportunities for comic relief (intentional and unintentional), and the film has the feeling of a good ol’ Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man movie, instead of an ominousmodern day horror film. The Battle Royale was a very nice touch, even if it was slightly preposterous. Two monsters (who can’t die, mind you) are battling it out to the death with a knife-covered glove and a big ass machete only to go back to hell anyway. Stupid, but very fun. I happened to go to the first evening show Friday night. People were dressed up like their favorite monster, and everyone was cheering and booing as the two heavyweights battled it out like a Pay Per View Title Match. The ending, which I will not reveal, was predictable, yet not disappointing. A sequel will be made, and I will be there opening day.
In general, the special effects were very good, with the exception being Freddy’s makeup. It seemed very “burnt quiche” like to me. It was probably done to make him look more threatening, but it didn’t do anything for me. Bring back the old school makeup.
Freddy vs. Jason shocked the hell out of me. Like most horror buffs, I was setting myself up for a huge letdown. And it did let me down in certain technical aspects of the film. Yet, with heavy faults in the plotline, it still managed to be one hell of a ride. 5, 6 grab your crucifix. 7, 8 stay up late and see it. Best enjoyed after a couple beers with a bunch of loudmouth friends, this is the best “guilty pleasure” a horror buff can indulge in this week.