Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland
Director: Ronny Yu
There’s nothing like a good slasher movie. And indeed, not to put too fine a point on it, this is nothing like a good slasher movie.
Ok, I’ve jumped ahead of myself here. I don’t normally get in to the opinion part of my diatribe until the last few paragraphs. But at least we’ve been honest with each other. This is just not very good.
I’m not a watcher of either movie series – “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Friday the 13th”. The Freddy and Jason in “Freddy Vs Jason” (incase you don’t know) are the central characters from those respective movie franchises. Freddy Kreuger is the child-killer who began a reign of terror in 1984 and despite suggesting in 1991 that he was finished slashing the hell out of terrified victims in their nightmares (“Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare”), he returned one more time in 1994 (“Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”).
Jason Voorhees made his name in the latter series as a hockey-mask wearing, one-man slaughter machine. After drowning at a kids summer camp in 1957, Jason returns 23 years later to murder loads of people. Like the “Nightmare” series, Jason seemed to wave goodbye to his celluloid existence in 1993 with “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” before returning once again in 2001 in “Jason X” (set in space, of course).
So with both characters seemingly returning from the grave once, the stage was set for a showdown between the two. And in “Freddy Vs Jason”, this is accomplished through Elm Street’s least-favourite resident’s seemingly ingenious ressurection of The Crystal Lake Killer, Jason. Why? Well Freddy is in a sort of purgatory at the moment. The residents of Elm Street have managed to keep him out of their nightmares by simply forgetting about him. Freddy sends Jason back to Elm Street to commit some murders in his name, refresh the memory of the inhabitants, subsequently resurrecting himself and making him all powerful again.
So it’s a great idea, yeah? Unfortunately not. Jason starts to enjoy himself way too much and quickly begins a path of destruction that leaves Freddy without anyone to kill. He’s created a monster and now he must put an end to it in a “final” showdown between the two. Sorry, I used quotes around the world final there because the chances of this being a final outing for either character are as slim as a supermodel on the Atkins.
The problem with doing sequel after sequel like this is that originality becomes hard to maintain. While the initial movies are entertaining, the formula starts to wear thin pretty quick and the only reason for watching the follow-ups is if you are bored on a Friday night and you’ve got a six pack in the fridge. “Childs Play”, “Children of the Corn”, “The Amityville Horror” – they’ve also spurned multiple sequels. They’ve all ended up clouding the legacy of the original movies.
And “Freddy Vs Jason” is about as tired a movie as these things can get. It’s a shame that there is not as much energy on show as there is in the typically furious and venomous music of Type O Negative whom open and close the feature.
Special effects are the order of the day, of course. While mildly impressive in parts (the way in which a victim in Jason’s dream transforms into the face and body of numerous other people is decent enough), there’s nothing groundbreaking. Even the deaths are no great shakes, as morbid as that sounds. One bed-ridden victim meets a rather gruesome end, but other than that it’s all quite bland.
Director Ronny Yu has done this sort of thing before. He took the reins of 1998’s “Childs Play 4: Bride of Chucky”. You’d think he would have developed some semblance of a flair for shocking in that time. Where’s the tension? Where’s the excitement? It’s deadly predictable fair, and relies far too heavily on the slashing antics of Jason and his trusty sword to stimulate you much.
The limited talents of the largely disposable teen cast ensure that our hopes are not set too high. The beautiful Monica Keena (“Orange County”, TVs “Dawsons Creek”), Kelly Rowland (from Destiny’s Child) and Jason Ritter (interestingly, Yu directed Jason Ritter’s much loved, and sadly now-deceased father, John, in “Bride of Chucky”), are the feisty students who get to take on the murderous tag team of Freddy and Jason.
Really, I can’t be bothered any more.
News just in – coming soon – “Jason vs Freddy 2”. I’m not joking.
I’ll probably still watch a sequel, but if Yu (rumoured to be making a return behind the camera) doesn’t come up with something a bit more intriguing, humourous and involving, it’ll be another waste of 90 minutes.
But can you blame the studio? A jaded franchise rakes in three times its budget. It’s a no-brainer. If only life could be that easy for all of us.