Worth A Look: 21.84%
Pretty Bad: 6.31%
Total Crap: 16.02%
5 reviews, 176 user ratings
|Freddy vs. Jason
by Scott Weinberg
Slasher Fan Disclaimer: As a lifelong fan of all things horrific and slasher-related, it's important for me to know that a particular movie critic can appreciate the blood-soaked sub-genre before I read their review of Masked Stalker Part 9. The Slasher Flick creates a divisive rift among movie fans and critics, mainly because 97% of the movies are awash in shoddy filmmaking. But it's important to me that I make this distinction early on: Jason, Freddy, Michael, Pinhead and Leatherface were my babysitters. I love the damn guys. So before you dismiss my mild complaints regarding the long-awaited "Freddy vs. Jason" - rest assured, bloodthirsty horror freaks, that I am one of your own.And Holy Hatchet in the Head was I really looking forward to this movie! I've no predisposition whatsoever to knock a Slasher Flick for being silly or stupid or formulaic or derivative. Those components come part and parcel with the entirely squishy sub-genre. No, the complaints I have regarding Freddy vs. Jason are the kinds that I'd level at any movie - from a Family Farce to a Merchant/Ivory production.
"Freddy & Jason vs. One Confused Screenplay"
I expected a certain goofiness; a vague misshapenness (if that's even a word) that invariably comes when a movie studio attempts to fuse two popular series into one; a string of flimsy acting performances; and (despite all the film's publicity ordering me to do otherwise) an impartiality between the two anti-heroes that must exist in order to appease fans from both camps.
As a horror freak, I was psyched. As a movie reviewer, I was skeptical.
But the last thing I expected was to be bored.
And for big, long, pregnant moments of Freddy vs. Jason I was helplessly and hopelessly bored. The bulk of the problem lies in the Icon meets Icon conceit; the screenwriters are saddled with the unenviable task of combining two horror legends into one cohesive new film. But in an effort to 'explain everything logically' the movie gets stuck in a seemingly endless loop of meandering plot exposition and the frustrating presence of about three subplots too many.
There are a handful of cool kills, some very enjoyable interplay between the two anti-heroes, and a WHOLE LOTTA chit-chat-chit-chat exposition explanation backstory recovery blah blah blah.
The plot, which needed only to be a somewhat sturdy framework on which to hang the killers' new exploits, is mercilessly sluggish. The main gist - that Freddy has been rendered impotent by the art of "intentional forgetfulness" before enlisting the undead hockey-face to scare him back into existence - works quite well in theory. And if this were the only plotline on which the filmmakers focused...we could have had something with a bit more focused intensity.
Unfortunately the relationship between Fred and Jay is often jammed into the background in favor of several unrewarding side plots. As you're subjected to the tedious scenes involving mental hospitals and police stations and our virginal heroine's dead mother - try to keep in mind what it was you were expecting from Freddy vs. Jason. I bet it wasn't a plot-heavy soap opera you were looking for.
When the two leading men are not onscreen, Freddy vs. Jason grinds to a dead, screeching halt.
After explaining my complaints to a fellow critic (and one clearly smarter than myself), I began to pick apart my own nitpicks. If I can recommend Friday the 13th Part 2, a film that's basically as plotless as a movie can ever be, then surely I'm being a bit too rough on Freddy vs. Jason by dismissing it as 'lurchy and plot-heavy'.
But there's good news too: what works in Freddy vs. Jason works quite well. There are the predictably horrific murders, each of which should find my fellow Gorehounds grinning in their seats. Each undead lunatic gets his share of time doling out the death & destruction. The flick gets better as things grow more chaotic. Up until the final Battle Royale between Mr. Krueger and Mr. Voorhees, the sloppy bits are inevitably punctuated by moments of extensive yap - but once the final 25 minutes kick in, there's a heaping helping of gore-soaked carnage. And I mean that in a good way. But even all that gooey goodness manages to disappoint in one small way:
Remember how several people had a problem with the "Burly Brawl" from The Matrix Reloaded because there's very little tension inherent in a battle between two wholly invincible entities? That's what F and J's final battle feels like. Lotsa splattery gore and stuff like that, but very little actual excitement. These scenes are directed crisply and with an apparently keen eye for strategically placed blood-squirts...but before too long it just feels a little tiresome.
Logically the acting is fairly atrocious and many of the technical aspects are subpar at best. (Freddy vs. Jason is one of the most sloppily edited films I've seen in a long time.) But considering how atrocious the film could have been, I feel a bit satisfied that it's merely "so-so, certainly watchable for the fans". And let's face it: there was very little chance of it being an excellent film.
I do offer my recommendation despite all my various misgivings. The best bits do eventually overshadow the interminable slow spots, and I'd certainly never be one to dissuade the faithful from seeing these two immortals duke it out on the big screen.Solid points for treating the adored anti-heroes with some semblance of respect, and the goopy bits make for a rousing good time. On the flip side, those rousing moments are a bit too few and far between to wholly satisfy this Horror Freak, so the experiment succeeds and fails at the same time. Clearly on a flick like this - your mileage may vary.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8072&reviewer=128
originally posted: 08/15/03 14:06:20