As a fan of campy horror, and a huge fan of Freddy and Jason, I was excited to watch this installment in their franchises. Sure, I knew it’d probably suck, but I relished at the thought of watching Krueger and Voorhees in the same film. Freddy vs. Jason was released in 2003, nine years after New Nightmare and only two years after Jason X. Perhaps the extreme length of time elapsed since the big screen last saw Freddy is the reason this film is from his perspective, either way, I enjoyed it. This film actually started out with a pretty sweet premise - a believable (what?!?) - premise. It started great and had some great points throughout, but the greatness falls apart after the initial setup. I’m not sure if it was the lackluster cast of teens or the horrible graphics or the fact that nothing in this film is scary, but the movie fell way, way short. It’s too bad really, because it had so much potential.
Freddy vs. Jason kicks off with Freddy narrating his story, presumably to catch readers up on who he is and what his deal is. Turns out, since his last round, everyone in Springwood has now forgotten about Freddy. No one remembers his legacy or the terrible things he’s done, so he can’t haunt their nightmares anymore. Freddy needs the teens of Springwood to remember him, so he resurrects Jason from hell and sends him to Elm Street to terrorize the teens. The initial plan is for Jason to kill some teens, reminding the elders of Springwood of Freddy, and then for the teens to fear Freddy. Once they fear Freddy, that fear will give him the power to return from the depths of hell. Freddy’s plans go awry when he discovers he can’t control Jason and that Jason is a killing machine. Eventually, when Freddy becomes strong enough, he is able to fight Jason. I thought this premise was pretty kickass. I believed it. It made sense to me and I felt like it could lead to great things. It was fun to see Jason on Elm Street, still enforcing good morals by killing off the sluts and drinkers. It was equally as fun to watch Freddy in Crystal Lake, like a fish out of water (ha, ha.) Seeing these two worlds collide was fun and exciting for a horror fan, but the film simply didn’t do enough with it. Which leads me to the bad...
The cast of teens in this film simply didn’t hold their own. There were a number of silly and slightly confusing subplots involving the teens that I found distracting and not worth my time. None of the characters were particularly likable and I found myself rooting for none of them, not even the awkward love story couple. Another issue I had was that after such a great setup, the actual interactions between Freddy and Jason were disappointing. The graphics were horrible during their duel in Freddy’s boiler room and their fights, overall, seemed silly. I mean, it’s a fun matchup, but honestly. Freddy is a 5’10” dream master and Jason is a 6’5” beast. Sure, Freddy can use the power of the dream to his advantage, but in my opinion, he would always be the loser of this fight. Jason is simply too strong. With this working against the filmmakers, they needed to put a lot of work into the Jason/Freddy scenes, and I didn’t think they did. I wanted more.
To top it off, there was simply nothing scary about this film. While many people think there’s nothing scary about the campy horror genre in its entirety, I disagree. There were many Freddy and Jason films along the way that scared me. This was an ideal setup to bring the ultimate scare, and the film failed. To make matters worse, this film lacked the fun of the campy horror genre, too. So it wasn’t scary and it wasn’t fun. What a failure.
For horror fans, this film was a dream come true. The ultimate matchup of villains. With a premise that actually didn’t suck, I had high hopes for this film. Unfortunately, it fell off from there and dissolved into a mess of random story lines, bad graphics and zero scares. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees matchup, but I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon. With a score of 4, the other creatures on horror island aren’t really sure who the clear winner of this film was, but it’s obvious it wasn’t the horror genre.
If you liked Freddy vs. Jason, you might also like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th.