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Published: 2005-04-29 - 21:29:00
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Freddy vs. Jason Review

By Joe Lozito

Satanic "Versus"

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I tend to use the phrase "long-awaited" with reckless abandon on my website, but make no mistake that horror fans have been eager to see a match-up between the unstoppable nemeses from "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" for quite some time. At long last, New Line Cinema, after having snapped up the rights to the "Friday" series, presents us with "Freddy vs. Jason", which promises a knock-down, drag-out grudge-match between hockey-masked Jason Voorhees and razor-fingered Freddy Krueger.

Well, "Freddy vs. Jason" delivers. Eventually.

First, it spends an hour with some of the blandest characters ever to grace either series. And that's saying a lot. Well, maybe it's saying too much. The characters are about as bland as they always are. After all, you can't have the audience caring about characters that are moments away from some gruesome and absurd death. I'll say this much for the movie: I like the way they brought the characters together. They start by throwing out the last two entries of both series, which found Jason in space and Freddy in a movie-within-a-movie. Even series purist won't fret too much over this decision.

It seems the kids on Elm Street have been drugged into forgetting about Freddy's past transgressions (those must be some hard drugs), which makes Freddy weak because he needs fear to live. So, Freddy finds Jason in hell and sends him to create a few token victims on Freddy's stomping grounds to revive some old school dread. Freddy's plan works like a charm until Jason won't stop killing and, in one of the more clever sequences, begins stealing victims right out from under Freddy.

The film needs to play with the Freddy and Jason characters a bit to get this all to work. Why does Jason dream while he's dead…or at all for that matter? But thinking any further about that would be as fruitless as betting on the outcome of this forecasted duel. While Jason has always been a masked cipher, Freddy - sprung from the fertile mind of Wes Craven lo those many years ago - has the virtue of being more of a character. And reliable Robert Englund brings his usual homicidal nastiness to the role.

The most interesting thing about the film is that it's not scary in the least. I'm not sure the makers are even trying anymore. Ounce for ounce, though, this must be one of the bloodiest horror movies in a while, especially when Freddy and Jason really start going at it. Hong Kong director Ronny Yu does his best to keep the pace going, and the three credited writers pay more respect to the series than it probably deserves, but, really, since New Line obviously put some money behind this movie, couldn't they have sprung for some good actors and decent dialogue. If they really wanted to revive these franchises in a world accustomed to the meta-thrills of the "Scream" series, they should really have taken the time to come up with more than the one gem delivered by stoner, and Jason Mewes clone, Freeburg ("That goalie was really pissed about something!"). Ironically, and not unlike the "Bond" franchise, Freddy and Jason could use some new blood.

What did you think?

Movie title Freddy vs. Jason
Release year 2003
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary The psychos from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" movies come together to figure out what happens when an irresistible force meets and unkillable object. Pretty much exactly what you think.
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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