Freddy vs. Jason Review
By Shawn McKenzie 08/15/2003
In 1993, New Line Cinema bought the rights to the Friday the 13th horror franchise from Paramount. Later that same year, New Line teased us with the meeting of the two titans of horror: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. In 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the daughter of Jason’s half-sister sent Jason to Hell, and his hockey mask was brought down with him by Freddy (having already been sent to Hell himself by his daughter in Freddy’s Dead: the Final Nightmare.) Ever since then, fanboys (including me) have been waiting for the ultimate showdown between Freddy and Jason. Boys and girls, our long wait is over, and it was worth it!
It’s been ten years since Freddy (Robert Englund) pulled Jason (Ken Kirzinger) down into Hell. He kinda wants to get out of Hell, but he has a problem. His usual way of being resurrected isn’t working. Normally he would enter the dreams of the latest crop of teenagers and start his killing spree. The problem this time is that all of the kids in his hometown of Springwood, Ohio, are secretly being slipped Hypnocil, a drug that suppresses dreams (for you continuity geeks, the drug was first introduced in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.) This is causing the kids not to have nightmares, and the parents further the process by not mentioning the name Freddy Krueger ever. This has caused the kids of Springwood to forget he ever existed, so they have nothing to fear. Fear is what makes Freddy strong, and he is powerless to stir it up. He decides to send the mongoloid Jason to Springwood to stir up some fear, figuring that everyone would assume it was Freddy and the fear would start back up. Freddy thinks Jason is some easily controlled lunkhead who will go away once he is at full strength. Jason heads right for 1428 Elm Street (otherwise known by Freddy fans as “that house.”) Lori Campbell (Monica Keena) currently inhabits it, and her friends Kia (Kelly Rowland), Gibb (Katharine Isabelle), Gibb’s boyfriend Trey (Jesse Hutch), and Trey’s friend Blake (David Kopp) are visiting her when Jason visits. Trey bites it, and the others are traumatized (even Gibb, even though Trey was an incredible jerk.) They have no idea who did the murder, but Lori somehow hears the name of Freddy, which starts the strengthening of Freddy. A couple more murders, including Blake and his dad (Brent Chapman), stir up the media coverage on news station KRGR, and Will Rollins (Jason Ritter) sees the story. Will is Lori’s former boyfriend, but he was put in the nuthouse when he started claiming that Lori’s dad (Tom Butler) killed her mom. Dr. Campbell conveniently works at the nuthouse, so it looks like he is covering up his possible crime by keeping Will there. Will decides to break out with his friend Mark Davis (Brendan Fletcher.) Mark had been put in the nuthouse because his brother (Zack Ward) had been a victim of Freddy, so his knowledge of Freddy was thought to be dangerous. They were right, because as soon as Mark unleashes the name of Freddy to the other kids, Freddy grows to full strength. Freddy is ready to start killing again, but he has one more problem: Jason himself won’t stop killing. Freddy tends to be a more stylish killer, killing his victims one-by-one, but Jason just hacks away, so he is chopping the kids up before Freddy can get to them. This ticks him off, which Lori figures might be an advantage to get rid of both of them. After realizing that she has the ability to drag Freddy out of the dream world into reality, Lori, Will, Mark, and Kia decide to pull him out and battle Jason, thereby getting rid of them both. They are joined by Charlie Linderman (Christopher George Marquette), a nerdy guy who has a crush on Lori; Deputy Scott Stubbs (Lochlyn Munro), an officer who is sympathetic with their mission; and Freeburg (Kyle Labine), a stoner who just wants to survive. They inject Jason with a serum that has the opposite effect of Hypnocil; it makes you dream. Freddy is able to enter Jason’s dreams now, and he battles the hulking killer in the dream world. The plan by the kids in the real world is to inject Lori with the same dream serum so she can drag Freddy out into the real world, which will conveniently be at Camp Crystal Lake, Jason’s old stomping ground. What results is the ultimate showdown between the son of a hundred maniacs and the son of Pamela Voorhees (Paula Shaw.)
Who wins? Sorry, I’m not going to tell you, and not because the studio asked me not to. I believe part of the fun of seeing this flick is to bring all of your buddies with you and cheer for the showdown. I hope that you will have friends in different camps (I’m a Freddy fan myself) that can cheer for both sides.
Will it please the hardcore geeks? Yes, I believe it will, since I’m one of them. At first, I was wondering why it ignored the last films from each of the franchises. After doing a little research, I found my answer. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was a stand alone Freddy movie that was meant to explore how the character has affected the lives of its creators. It doesn’t fit into the ongoing storyline of the other movies, though it is an extremely creative movie. The events of last year’s Jason X occur after Freddy vs. Jason, including the opening “present day,” I believe. Timeline-wise, the movie makes sense. I also think Freddy and Jason fans will appreciate the references to both characters’ pasts, including the Hypnocil and a cameo appearance by Jason’s mother.
I did have two small quibbles. First, it appeared that Springwood and Camp Crystal Lake were within driving distance of each other. Unless they drove really fast, that would be impossible. Springwood is in Ohio and Camp Crystal Lake is in New Jersey. I could be underestimating how long the drive is, because out here in Colorado, it takes forever to get anywhere due to the mountains. The other problem I had was with the character of Freeburg. It was a little too similar to the Jay character in Kevin Smith’s View Askew movies. I almost expected him to say “smoochy bootchies!”
Ten years is a long wait, but Freddy vs. Jason was worth it. Some Jason fans might complain that Kane Hodder, the man who has played Jason since Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, is not Jason this time around (I heard it is because the filmmakers wanted Jason to be a closer physical match to Freddy, and Hodder didn’t fit the bill.) Kirzinger did a fine job (I’d be more upset if they had replaced Englund.) Director Ronny Yu did a great job helming the ultimate horror battle. The critics are going to complain about the clichés and the bad acting (Rowland, please, don’t quit your day job with Destiny’s Child), but they don’t understand. This is not a movie made for critics, it was made for fans, and they will all want to see who wins. Even my brother, a Freddy fan himself, knows who won the showdown (since I brought him to the screening), and he wants to see it again!
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