Freddy vs. Jason

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"Welcome to my world, bitch "

Oct 11th, 2011

Who hasn't had a debate with their friends about icon vs. icon? Everyone has a fantasy team up (I've had conversations about Bruce Lee vs. Batman go figure) and reasons for why each could win but unlike most (Mike Tyson VS. Muhammad Ali is bit of a piss take) when it comes to fictional characters there always the possibility that one day it could happen.

The question on all horror fans lips had always been who would win in a fight between Freddy and Jason. Both stood tall at the box office (at the same time no less), both had hard-core fans and both movie universes were quite similar. After years in development hell both icons clashed on the big screen.

Aside from classroom debates about our favourite villains producers of both franchises had long considered a team up between both characters. After many failed attempts to get a team up off the ground (Friday the 13th Part 7 was created from a potential crossover script) the Jason Voorhees character was sold to New Line cinema (but not the Friday the 13th title).

As a kid the mere thought of my two of my favourite movie franchises together got me so pumped and every time Robert Englund mentioned it in interviews I'd jump for joy. Only it never happened. The best I got was seeing Freddy's gloved had pulling Jason's mask into the pits of hell in a post credit sequence of Jason goes to Hell, following this I got 10 years of nothing.

To be honest I'd forgotten about the franchises and never expected to see another on the big screen. Then it happened a trailer hit the web and I was a kid again. All the excitement returned despite not being in action for years I was looking forward to the showdown. It was also being directed by Ronny Yu who made the brilliant Bride of Chucky so I had high hopes. I came away from the experience somewhat bemused.

Set after Freddy's Dead (or just prior depending on how deep you want to create believable logic) and Jason goes to Hell, Krueger is annoyed that the Elm street kids have forgotten him so he resurrects Jason to kill children on his behalf. As Freddy regains his power he loses control of Jason who continues to steal the lives of all those around him. If Freddy is going to regain his place at the top of the slasher pile he's going to have to be the one to finally put Jason down for good.

When I sat in the theatre the opening logo was a moment of joy as both characters theme tunes played over the New Line Logo. I can't tell you how amazing it was to see Jason stomp down Elm street and to see Freddy on the prowl at Camp Crystal Lake. This was all I could have wanted and the stuff of Dreams only something was missing.

First up I was well prepared for the inconsistencies between the franchises. I expected it from not only the fact that it took 10 years to agree on a script but to seamlessly mash two different universes together they were going to be a couple of continuity problems. I can forgive it because both franchises have already been pretty liberal with their own histories and timelines as long as the spirit of both characters remained true I'd be happy. Freddy's dead seems to have been ignored and Jason's not quite in hell and I'm fine with that.

The problem with the film boils down to the same thing that hurt the original franchises. The cast are terrible with some truly awful dialogue. The storyline gets a pass as its only there to allow for our two icons to go head to head and kick the stuffing out of each other but the performances on the other had our a lot to be desired.

It's clear that there are some good actresses with in the pack (Katherine Isabel for one) and Kelly Rowland isn't as bad as you'd expect from a singer but the delivery from the entire cast is far too wooden. Most of the old franchises are not great movies in fact some are downright terrible but they get a pass for being so bad there good. Watching this I get the feeling that all the cast are grinning and winking at every line trying to create moments of cheese. That's not how so bad its good works if you are trying to make something intentionally bad it comes off as false and stilted witch unfortunately happens here.

As of this the moments with the non-supernatural cast (i.e. not Freddy and Jason) are extremely dull and leave you shifting in your seats waiting impatiently for our next movie monster fix. I can't deny in a movie of this sort that the characters are insignificant and only act as fodder for our "heroes" but in a film that clearly has only been made as fan service there are not enough moments with Freddy and Jason. As a fan of the horror icons I (and many fans) love to revisit the different movies frequently (normally around Halloween) but unfortunately after one viewing it really is a struggle to sit through this film more than once. Consisting of about 60 minutes of drab dialogue and only 30 minutes of fun I usually fast forward to the better scenes.

With Robert Englund returning to the character after such a long time you'd be forgiven for doubting his ability to reprise the role. Fortunately not only does he slide straight back into the character this is the best incarnation of Kruger since the original and Dream Warriors. While retaining the comic quips they take on a far meaner edge which allows him to remain a truly terrifying entity. In fact I believe this has one of his darker moments when he attempts to rape our main heroine with the razor blades of his gloved hand.

Jason although recast from Kane Hodder (once again a recasting with no good reason) remains what he always was a walking killing machine. What fascinates me is the more sympathetic approach to his character as he is exploited by Freddy and comes off as the hero of the piece. Over multiple viewings I still can't understand the logic as Jason actually does all of the killing in the film (Freddy only manages 1 kill). I think this works more down to Englund's fantastic turn as Freddy and return to form as a bad guy.

When all is said and done this movie was in place only for the showdown and boy do they deliver. For the last 30 minutes we get to see the characters tear into each other in a way that justifies the slop that came before it. The fight takes place across the dreamscape and the real world allowing both characters a home advantage and moments to shine. The way the entire sequence is filmed is commendable to Ronny Yu as he allows the action to take place before our eyes rather than using quick cuts and shaky cam that most action scenes nowadays seem to employ.

Freddy vs. Jason managed to deliver its main purpose which was an epic smack down between two horror icons. While the nostalgia to see the characters within each other's worlds is fantastic there is a heap of time filler that can be a struggle to sit through. It's not the best from either franchise but it's a fun ride that deserves at least one viewing if you were ever a fan of either franchise. It's also great to have Freddy returned to top form for Englund's final outing as old pizza face.

Other reviews in the series

Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 3
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Friday The 13th Part VII The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes To Hell
Jason X
Friday the 13th (2009)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director: Ronny Yu
Screenplay: Damian Shannon
Mark Swift
Rating: 18
Starring: Robert Englund
Ken Kirzinger
Monica Keena