a critiQal film review Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Plot: Lori (Keena) and her friends are hanging out at her house one night when one of them dies violently. The local cops fear it may be the work of famed dream killer Freddy Krueger (Englund). This time, they're wrong: it’s the work of mass murderer Jason Voorhees (Kirzinger). A battle royal between Freddy and Jason soon ensues.

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  • ...deaths by the truckload, nudity for no good reason. and a battle royale between Freddy and Jason - what more could a fan ask for?

When you think horror of the past few decades, two names come immediately to mind: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, so Freddy vs. Jason seems like a must-see.

The A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) series has already briefed us a little on Freddy’s past: he was a child murderer who was burned alive by the parents of Springwood; he now kills people through their dreams; he wears a brown hat, a red and green striped sweater and a glove with four knives on his right hand.

The Friday the 13th (1980) series told us what we needed to know about Jason: he drowned when he was 11 at Camp Crystal Lake; his mother wreaked havoc on the camp before bringing Jason back to life, and then died; he wears a hockey mask and carries a machete.

While liking A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) better, I, just like the other multitudes of Freddy and/or Jason fans, have always wanted to see them fight each other in a movie, but never thought I’d get a chance.

About two years ago, rumors started circulating that the match up would actually happen. At first, I didn’t take these rumors seriously, thinking it was nothing but avid fan talk.

Then I saw the preview for Freddy vs. Jason, and it instantly became a must see film. Would this film live up to its fans expectations, or should Freddy and Jason have stayed dead?

Unfortunately, Kane Hodder (who played Jason in a majority of the Friday the 13th (1980) movies), wasn’t around for this chapter but Robert Englund (who has played Freddy in all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) films), was.

Robert has the Freddy character down to a T by this point, and is able to give his character an eerie presence. Ken Kirzinger takes over the role of Jason in this film and portrays him as relentless as ever, but also kind of stupid.

The other characters are all just back drop for the Freddy and Jason fights, and don’t really need to do much in the way of acting. Sure, they throw tantrums, and get to have death scenes, but that’s pretty much it. Kia, played by Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland (yes, there are more people in that group than just Beyoncé Knowles – not that you could really tell), and Kelly’s lack of acting experience isn’t even noticed since she can scream.

The plot of Freddy vs Jason slides together somewhat awkwardly, as would be expected in a marriage of two such popular film series. It’s a shame they weren’t able to tie old Freddy nemesis Heather Logencamp into the storyline somehow, since she really helped to bring that recognizable good persona back, time and time again.

The new characters’ story doesn’t really tie-in to any of the previous A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) or Friday the 13th (1980) films. They have an entirely new set of characters for this film, even though they rely heavily on how these characters tie together because of past events. This reliance on issues of the past among the characters leads to an awfully lot of screen time being spent on flashbacks, unfortunately. But you didn’t really come to see Freddy vs Jason for the plot, did you? Naw…you came to see the death sequences.

While the death scenes are nicely varied, they pale in comparison to recent films such as Final Destination (2000) (and it’s sequel, Final Destination 2 (2003)). Films like those have upped the bar on great death sequences so much that these deaths seem pretty pitiful by comparison.

Still, they do manage to fit them together rather nicely, and they look decently believable. The blood spurts do look a bit like they did back in Friday the 13th (1980), but other than that everything looks just the way it should.

And boy do they get gory. We’re talking dismemberment and tons of hacking and slashing folks. Nothing really inspired, except Freddy’s dream sequences, but still worthy of watching. And what fan would ever think of missing the final battle between Freddy and Jason?

All in all, Freddy vs. Jason seems a decent cap on the illustrious film careers of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. It’s got deaths by the truckload, nudity for no good reason. and a battle royale between Freddy and Jason – what more could a fan ask for? It’s a nice way to tie the two series together, and it will be interesting to see if this leads into a whole new Freddy and Jason movie series.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

If you liked any of the films in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) or Friday the 13th (1980) series, you won’t want to miss Freddy vs. Jason. And it’s even on a 2-Disc DVD Edition!

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