The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

FREDDY VS. JASON (2003) ****

Ever since 1993 when Freddy’s glove dragged Jason’s hockey mask down to Hell at the end of Jason Goes to Hell:  The Final Friday, dedicated Fred-Heads and die hard Jason fans had been clamoring for this movie.  When it arrived in theaters ten years later, it didn’t disappoint.  Freddy vs. Jason was well worth the wait.

 

The Elm Street kids are now on drugs that take away their fear.  With nothing to fear, there are no nightmares.  Since there are no nightmares, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) can’t kill anyone.  Freddy “searches the bowels of Hell” to find someone that can start scaring the shit out of the kids until he finds Jason Vorhees (Ken Kirzinger).  Freddy impersonates Jason’s dead mom and convinces him to travel to Elm Street to start hacking up teens.  Once Freddy has enough strength to start murdering kids on his own again, he tries to kill Jason.  Freddy underestimates him though and soon discovers that stopping Jason is a lot tougher than he thought.

 

You know right off the bat that this movie is going to rock because the music in the opening titles cleverly incorporates Jason’s Chi-Chi-Chi-Ha-Ha-Ha music into Freddy’s theme.  Likewise, the film is a perfect balance of an Elm Street movie and a Friday movie.  It delivers everything a Freddy fan would want and enough excellent Jason action to keep Friday purists entertained. 

 

Throughout the course of the movie Jason kills teens via machete impaling, decapitation, spearing, 180 degree head twist, flaming machete through the chest, multiple machete slashings, squashing a guy under a door, electrocution, and cutting a dude in half.  His best kill comes when he folds up a bed while a teen is still in it.  J-Man also has an awesome scene where he gets set on fire and walks through a cornfield slashing the shit out of stoners.

 

Freddy only kills one person in the flick but he did enough crazy cool nightmare chicanery to make up for it.  The most random and bizarre thing he does in this one is appear to a stoner as a hookah smoking caterpillar.  His one-liners are kept nicely in check (the “Got your nose!” scene is the only groaner in the bunch) and Englund yet again essays the role with his usual gusto.

 

Most importantly, director Ronny Yu does something I didn’t think was possible:  He actually made Freddy scary again.  During the opening sequence, we see a pre-burned Freddy suggestively smoking a cigarette and licking a photo of the child he just killed.  That shit was raw.  This says to the audience that this Freddy isn’t the punster you remember.  He isn’t the Bastard Son of 1000 Maniacs.  He is a fucking child molesting sonofabitch.

 

Jason is given the underdog/Frankenstein treatment.  He really is just avenging his mother’s death after all.  Freddy only tricks him into killing the Elm Street kids in her name, so we should probably root for old Hockey Face when it comes time for The Main Event.

 

And what an event it is.  The final brawl between the two titans of terror goes off better than anyone could’ve expected.  There are actually two main battles.  One takes place in the Dream World (Freddy dopes Jason up on tranquilizers so he can take a nap), the other at Crystal Lake.  Both of them are doozies.  What really makes them work is that the screenwriters have a semi-plausible scenario to get them fighting.  It’s not Shakespearian by any means but it’s just reasonable enough that you buy into it.

 

Freddy vs. Jason was made for the fans and Yu puts in a lot of geek-gasm moments that are worth their weight in gold and compensate for any petty qualms you may have with the movie.  I mean how cool is it when you first see Jason strolling down Elm Street?  Or how about Freddy’s “Oh Shit” face when he realizes that he’s in the Real World and has to fight Jason?  My favorite geeky moment came during Jason’s nightmare where he was a little boy and some cruel kids put the potato sack over his face.  I also dug the part when Freddy tormented Young Jason with his mother’s decapitated head too.

 

I have to give Yu a lot of credit, he sure knows how to film fight scenes, gore, and titties; three very vital elements to a movie called Freddy vs. Jason.  He brings a lot of kinetic energy to the fight sequences.  These are some of the best scenes of monsters kicking the shit out of each other since King Kong vs. Godzilla.  Yu also has an admirable approach to the bloodshed which is:  The more the merrier.  Seriously, every little cut results in a gushing geyser of plasma.  Plus, the man puts in a good half dozen titties in the flick.  Yu is a guy who really knows how to cover all the bases.

 

I also have to give a shout out to screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift.  These guys seamlessly blended the two character’s mythologies and found a nice balance of traditional Jason victims (stoners and fornicators) and Freddy fodder (outcasts and weirdoes) too.  They also struck the right tone, combining equal parts of “creepy” scary (like when all the coma patients wake up from their slumber) with “fun” scary (like when one of the chicks has to save Jason by giving him mouth to mouth). 

 

People’s biggest complaint with the movie was that Kane (Jason 7-10) Hodder didn’t reprise his role as everyone’s favorite hockey masked killer.  Sure, I wish Kane had been Jason but Kirzinger does a smashing job behind the mask and didn’t make me miss Hodder one bit.  Besides, Kane’s built like a Mac truck and could’ve easily snapped Englund over his knee like a twig.  Kirzinger’s svelte frame is a much better match-up for Englund.

 

Freddy’s best line in this one comes when he sees that chick from Destiny’s Child and says, “How sweet; dark meat!”

 

The stoner gets the best non-Freddy line of the film:  “Dude that goalie was pissed about something!”

 

Both Freddy and Jason’s next cinematic outings were Michael Bay perpetrated remakes.

 

Freddy vs. Jason is on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of the Year for 2003 at the Number 6 spot, sandwiched in between House of 1000 Corpses and Final Destination 2.

 

<Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie:  A Nightmare on Elm Street 2:  Freddy’s Revenge>

Tags: f, friday the 13th series, horror, nightmare on elm street series, sequel
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