You ever go out with friends and see a movie that just seemed awesome in the theater only later to see it on TV and wonder why you liked it so much? Well to a point that is the case with Freddy Vs. Jason for me. We had such a good time with it in the theater that we were all blown away. Now that I look at it alone in the comfort of my home on DVD I still like the movie but not quite as much.
Finally after over a decade of preproduction New Line and Ronny Yu finally bring forth the highly anticipated Freddy Vs. Jason. I imagine the hardest part of bringing these two horror icons together story wise was literally “bringing them together” in one movie. This part of the story worked fine if you enjoy the “Freddy” movies.
Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) the child killer from Nightmare on Elm Street and it sequels, has been forgotten by the kids of Elm Street. The fear of the kids is what brings him to their dreams and eventually into reality. But since he has been forgotten he is stuck in the bowels of hell. While in hell he searched for a conduit that he could use to get back to the dreams and reality of Elm Street.
In his search he found Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger), the mass murderer from Friday the 13th and its sequels, who has the uncanny ability to keep coming back to life after being killed numerous times by camp counselors. Freddy finds a way to bring Jason back to life and manipulates him, convinces him to go to Freddy’s stomping grounds and start killing teenagers in an attempt to resurrect himself.
The plan works almost perfectly. Townspeople and kids begin believing that Freddy has found a way back and sure enough he creeps back into their dreams and eventually back into reality. The only problem is that he has lost control of Jason. Jason won’t stop killing Freddy’s victims. So Freddy takes it upon himself to kill Jason and get him out of the way. Well as you might expect this is easier said than done. Thus the battle begins.
There’s much more story than I have told here but I don’t want to give the movie away completely. Things that bothered me more this go around with Freddy Vs. Jason than when I saw it in theaters mostly have to do with plot details that I haven’t given away. The problem is that the young people in this movie are way to brilliant. They figure out exactly what is happening and what they must do. It’s a huge stretch, to big of a stretch actually. Also most of the actors in this movie are horrible! And finally, there is a lot of really bad dialogue in Freddy Vs. Jason.
Now a lot can be forgiven in my above complaints if we look at Freddy Vs. Jason as a homage to its predecessors. If we consider that the plot points and overly smart characters for the sake of plot progression are in the movies as a tribute to all the bad characters in past Freddy and Jason movies. It just seems like the “homage” could have been executed in a more interesting way. When you look at Cabin Fever you can see the clichéd characters put in the film and then toyed with in a fresh way. These characters feel the same as they were 15 years ago in these movies.
But lets face it what are these characters for? I’ll tell you what they’re for. They’re cannon fodder! Simply put they are in the movie to be killed in gruesome ways and to keep the plot stitched together (no matter how weakly) until Freddy and Jason can kick the hell out of each other. That my friends is where the movie gets fun.
As funny as it sounds Freddy and Jason play off of each other perfectly. Freddy brings in his usual wise cracking charisma against Jason’s stone cold unstoppable force. Freddy is obviously smarter but Jason can’t be stopped. Anytime the two characters are on screen the movie s a joy to watch. Robert Englund loves playing this character and it comes through on screen. It’s obvious that Freddy loves being who he is. After watching Freddy Vs. Jason I am more convinced that ever that a Nightmare on Elm Street prequel is a great idea. The prequel would feature Englund as a serial killer before the fine folks of Elm Street burned him alive. There is a scene in Freddy Vs. Jason with him out his makeup that is downright creepy.
Also one other thing I really liked in this movie was that Yu successfully establishes Jason as a sympathetic character just as he makes hamburger out of anyone in his reach. I won’t go into detail about this plot point other than to simply say that I really liked it.
While none of the character other than Freddy or Jason are very good they do perform their jobs as victims. Even though the story isn’t all that good it does manage to bring these horror icons together and gives a battle that does not disappoint. Even with my complaints I still love this movie. It’s a roller coaster of a ride and an epic battle of evil versus evil!
This is a fantastic anamorphic transfer. Colors are vibrant, skin tones are near perfect, black levels are spot on, detail is high, and there’s almost no grain to speak of. One of the best we’ve seen. New Line is really learning how to do DVD transfers from those Lord of the Rings discs.
As with the video the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio mix is excellent. Freddy Vs. Jason makes extensive use of the surrounds making the movie feel immersive and that much terrifying. The dialogue, special effects, and score are mixed clean with no distortion. I only really have two complaints. The first is the lack of subwoofer usage, especially during the final battle. That battle would have been so much more epic with more booming bass. The other is the somewhat low level the music kicks in during the final battle. The battle begins and a heavy metal tune kicks in but it feels anticlimactic because it doesn’t really kick in very loud in the mix. But other than these minor complaints, a very nice mix.
The Bonus Features
There is a commentary with Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, and Ronny Yu. Not surprisingly Englund is the most entertaining and he tends to lead the commentary as Kirzinger talks very little and Yu chimes in to discuss certain scenes or actors. As always Englund is a lot of fun.
Also on disc one is feature becoming more and more popular on horror DVD’s. This jump to a kill feature allows you to jump directly to a kill in the movie.
There is an extensive set of featurettes on the second disc covering everything to early work on the script to making the movie. The first segment titled Genesis: Development Hell is the best of the featurettes. It covers the work of finding a Producer and the numerous revisions the script underwent before it was green lit. The rest of the featurettes are more like behind the scenes videos showing the filmmakers on location and featuring various crew members making jokes into the camera. There are small sound bites throughout but these are mostly behind the scenes on location videos. there’s good stuff here but we really needed to hear more from the cast.
There’s another series of featurettes covering the visual effects. These featurettes cover nearly every major effects sequence in the film and feature discussion by members of the effects team.
There is a section featuring Promotional campaigns for the movie that features a professional boxing style weigh-in at Bally’s Casino with the man, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” himself hosting. This weigh-in is hilarious. There’s also a short video covering the Camp Hack n’ Slash event held in Austin Texas and sponsored by New Line. This event was a summer camp featuring arts and crafts, sports, and even 70’s style tubes socks for each attendee! It culminated with a premiere of the movie. Just made me wish I could have went!
There are also several deleted scenes that can be viewed with or without commentary. The most interesting of which is the original beginning and the original ending. The original beginning is funny but overly long. The original ending is horrible in every way possible.
There’s also galleries of storyboards and behind the scenes pictures, two Fangoria magazine articles, TV spots, trailers, a music video and more. There are some mildly interesting DVD-ROM features including a feature where you can make your own fight scene.
Overall (Not an average) 9/10
The Movie 8/10
The Video 10/10
The Audio 9/10
The Bonus Features 9/10
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10