by Brian McKay
I suppose we'll have to wait until August, when ALIEN VS. PREDATOR comes out, in order to determine which film deserves the coveted "Pointless and Shameless Crossover to Milk Two Franchises That Are Well Past Their Prime" Award the most. But while FREDDY VS. JASON was obviously made as a cash grab to part zit-faced slasher fanboys from their allowances and prey on the nostalgia of old-school gorehounds, it can be moderately entertaining at times - in that most simple-minded brain-in-neutral kind of way. If they'd REALLY wanted to make things interesting, they would have brought in HALLOWEEN's Michael Meyers and HELLRAISER's Pinhead for an all-out tag-team Lucha Libre.Who knew that Elm Street and Camp Crystal Lake were just a short van ride's distance from each other? NOBODY did, because it's just one of the newly made-up contrivances introduced in this movie in order to give thin justification to the pairing of two of the slasher genre's most well-known figures. But what the hell, it's not like there was going to be any kind of sensible plot in this thing anyway, so here goes.
"Who wins? Honestly . . . who CARES?"
Freddy (Robert Englund), a child murderer who was burned alive by an angry mob, only to come back to life and murder teenagers by the dozens in a succession of increasingly lame movies, is trying yet again to come back from whatever netherworld he has been inhabiting. The only problem is, his power comes from the fear of his victims, and since the adult denizens of Elm Street have done everything in their power to erase all traces of Krueger's existence and make their children forget about him, he has no fear to draw strength from. So, he decides to ressurect fellow slasher Jason Vorhees (Ken Kirzinger) from his grave at nearby Camp Crystal Lake and have him start killing the local teens for him, until he can gather enough strength to return to the slayer's limelight.
Predictably enough, the first killing takes place where it all began, at the house from the first Nightmare on Elm Street Flick. With daddy out of town, Lori (Monica Keena), the busty virgin, is hanging out with her friends Kia (Kelly Rowland), the sassy-talking black chick, and Gib (Katharine Isabelle), the slutty stoner chick. Some guys come over, Gib takes one of them upstairs for a shag, leaves him in bed to go take a shower, and when she comes out - well, guess who's recieved a lovely machete acupuncture from Jason? Teens run screaming out into the rain, let the carnage begin.
Meanwhile, Lori's old boyfriend escapes from the Westin Hills Asylum where he's been locked up in isolation because he saw Freddy kill Lori's mom a few years earlier. Fearful that he might start spreading the tale of Krueger again. Lori's father and the cops have conspired to keep him locked away before he can "infect" the other teens. But by the time he gets out to warn Lori, Jason's already launched a campaign of slaughter, including the machete mangling of several teens at a cornfield rave. The survivors, which include Lori, Kia, Lori's boyfriend, a nerdy virgin guy, the new deputy on the force who isn't involved in the coverup, and a blatant "Jay from Clerks" stoner clone, plot to turn the two killers against each other. Most of them will be dead before the end credits. You won't miss any of them.
After temporarily sedating Jason and driving him to the derelict remains of Camp Crystal Lake, the promised big showdown between F and J takes place, complete with lots of hacking, slashing, smashing, crashing, and wire-fu. And while it's not exactly the greatest showdown on earth, it's rather entertaining in spots.
Alas, the gory money shots and the big brawl are the only real entertainment the movie has to offer. The rest is just your standard "Teens huddle together and try to figure out how to kill the monster while slowly getting picked off in a predictable and orderly fashion" slasher movie routine. And while the idea of the whole "Freddy-gate" cover up conspiracy on the part of the authority figures is an interesting twist (usually the incredulous adults are the least likely to believe in all of the "serial killer back from the dead" bugaboo nonsense), it's all just the typical filler to move things along from murder A to B to C. The acting is bad and the script is generally trite, although the effective one-liner occasional pops up to keep you laughing in between decapitations.As expected, there's no clear-cut winner at the end of FREDDY VS. JASON - but honestly, were you expecting one? How the hell are they going to make F VS. J 2, 3, 4, or 5 otherwise? But while it's not exactly required viewing for horror buffs, it's still better than either of the last installments of FRIDAY THE 13th or the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET were on their own.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8072&reviewer=258
originally posted: 05/07/04 04:01:59