Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

It’s got Freddy Krueger. It’s got Jason Voorhees. It’s got teens getting slashed. It’s got . . . a stoner nightmare CG goo-worm that cracks wise and slithers under a door? Yep. It’s got that too. It’s Freddy vs. Jason, and we’re reviewing it below. With spoilers. Be warned about those. If those don’t scare you, then check out the trailer below and continue on down to the review!

Reviewed by: Jack

 
 

Plot Synopsis

Not too much going on here. It’s all right there on the tin. Freddy’s stuck in Hell (I think?) and needs to instill more fear in the youths to regain his power to escape. To do that, he disguises himself as Jason’s mom, Mrs. Voorhees, and appears to Jason, commanding him to go shank some promiscuous teens. With me so far?

And yay! It works! Jason starts a killin’. And killin’ . . . aaaaaannnnnddd killin’. He crashes a rave in a cornfield (it was the early 2000’s, and cornfield raves were the law) and just absolutely lays waste to the people there. To the point where Freddy  starts to get worried that there won’t be any kids left on Earth for him to torment. Again, I think. None of it is very clear.

 
 


In any case, Freddy now has enough power to come back and decides Jason needs to be stopped. He possesses some teens and turns himself into a bad trip nightmare worm, and tries to put Jason to sleep with chemicals. Which works . . . for some reason.

Freddy beats up on Jason in the dream world, and learns he’s afraid of fire. Meanwhile the kids have decided that they need Jason to kill Freddy for . . . reasons. The take the slumbering Jason and the teen they’ve chosen to collect Freddy to Camp Crystal Lake. Then they pull Freddy into the real world (it’s surprisingly easy), Freddy does a remarkably good job holding his own as a regular man with knives against the invulnerable and giant Jason, but eventually Jason stabs Freddy with his own glove and then decapitates him before they’re both dunked back into the lake for good. Except not because obviously not because Jason walks out the next morning holding Freddy’s laughing head.


What the Movie Does Right

This is a pretty decent Freddy Krueger movie, and it gets Freddy Krueger right. Both the makeup on Freddy and Robert Englund’s performance are right where they need to be, and it leaves you with te Freddy you want. A quippy dickhead. It’s great. Also worth noting that this is Englund’s last full performance as Freddy.

The practical effects are also good where they’re used, and it’s pretty frequently. There’s really only one scene I can think of in which the effects fail on a practical level, and that’s in a hallway in the psych ward, where they clearly replace a person with a dummy before tossing. The rest of the practical is good.

I also think they do a good job of making Freddy’s scenes look like a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, and then cutting to Jason scenes and making those look and feel like a Friday the 13th movie. From the tone to the music to the cinematography, they really did get the elements of both franchises in here, and that’s cool. 


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What the Movie Does Wrong

Too much. This movie does too much. I said that I liked that they made the Freddy scenes feel Freddy-y and the Jason ones Jason-y, but that doesn’t save them from having tried to cram wayyyyyy too much into this thing. There’s the whole Freddy vs. Jason thing, but then there’s also a conspiracy plot where the main girl’s dad is somehow corrupt at running the psych ward that another main character escaped from; and then there’s an anti-authority thing but twist, one of the deputies ends up siding with the kids; plus a few more plot points. It’s a lot, and it feels crammed in and woefully underdeveloped.

Also, I mentioned that I liked the practical and there was a lot of it, but there was also a lot of regrettable CGI. And beyond that (it is, after, all, of an era), there are weird choices in the cinematography that just don’t work. For example, they chose to shoot the cornfield rave in a shaky blurry cam that doesn’t fit the tone of the movie or even what they’re trying to accomplish in the scene.

Finally, for a movie combining two franchises that each come with a hefty suspension of disbelief, this one takes the cake. Why does Freddy have enough power to disguise himself as Jason’s mom but still need Jason’s help? Don’t worry about it. Why does Jason not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but can still be put to sleep by chemicals? Don’t worry about it. How can real world skinny-ass Freddy stand up to Jason at full form? Just don’t worry about it because hey! They’re fighting. That’s what you wanted right?


Ratings (1-10)

Story: 4 - This may seem a little high, but like I said I think they did get the essential aspects of both franchises in here, and that alone seems like a herculean effort. Is it great? No, but it’s fine. 

World-Building / Immersion: 2 - It’s bad. There’s so much going on that you’re whipped back and forth from too much different stuff.

Scare-Factor: 3 - There are some halfway decent scares in here, but this movie is unable to deliver what’s scariest about either franchise alone. 

Effects (or Judicious Lack Thereof): 6 - The practical effects and the look of Freddy are laudable, the rest is not.

Overall: 5 - This isn’t a great movie, but it is fun and watchable.