Freddy Krueger is in hell – literally! And like an inmate with a life sentence, Freddy’s been plotting a fantastic revenge…all he needs is a little help. In comes Jason Voorhees, the equally iconic madman and perfect means for Freddy to once again instil fear on Elm Street. As the bodies begin to pile up, it becomes clear that Jason isn’t willing to step aside.
Now, with a terrified town in the middle, the two titans of terror enter into a horrifying and gruesome showdown. Winner kills all.
Freddy vs. Jason 5.75
eyelights: Robert Englund/Freddy Kruger.
eyesores: the characters’ inexplicable narcolepsy. the cast. the cgi.
“Oh, God, y’all, two killers? We’re not safe awake or asleep.”
Freddy Krueger versus Jason Voorhees. The mere thought is mind-blowing. The only way that they could have made this more exciting would have been to throw Michael Myers into the mix (not Austin Powers… I’m talking about that amusing ‘Halloween‘ feller).
Or they could have given us a truly engaging story.
And cast actors who can act.
And hired a better special effects team.
Because, as it is, ‘Freddy vs. Jason’ is a failed endeavour. The only mind-blowing taking place here are one’s neurons exploding at the carelessness of the writers, at the utter stupidity of their characters, and at how little respect they have for audiences everywhere.
Forget the fact that they brought in Robert Englund to reprise the role of Freddy, but brought in a new guy for the role of Jason – Jason was played by many people, whereas Englund is Freddy.
Forget the fact that Freddy sends Jason to Elm St. to scare up the neighbourhood and, consequently, give him power again – it’s a silly notion, but there are very few ways to do a cross-over between two utterly different cinematic realities anyway.
Forget the fact that there are no ties with the original films aside from the villains themselves (and, presumably, Elm Street – although one would be hard-pressed to recognize it), because it would have been virtually impossible to get all the cast back and tie everything together nicely.
What’s utterly mental is that they couldn’t even give proper explanations, if not even cheap excuses, for anything that was happening on-screen:
-a bunch of kids disappear and no one seems to know what happened to them – except for the doctors who institutionalized them, that is. Friends don’t bother to check up on them, parents are silenced or part of the conspiracy, no trace is ever left of them anywhere, …etc. And even the audience doesn’t know who these kids are – they’re new to the Elm Street story. No one knows anything about them.
-a rookie cop is kept out of the picture by his bosses and colleagues because they know what’s going on but don’t want him to ever find out. Weird. Dumb, even. Why not prevent his transfer if they won’t trust outsiders, then? This is not a sustainable way to run a police station. And how is it that he finds out anyway? No one ever explains how he found out and simply accepted the weirdness as fact, without any questions.
-how can kids sedate Jason with an experimental drug, not knowing its potency and effects, not knowing who Jason is, what his abilities are, and how much of the stuff they need to pump into him? And how do they know the exact time he’ll wake up and the exact time that they’ll be able to bring Freddy out of his dream world and somehow manage to overlap the two? How? How? How?
But, worst of all: how is it that all the kids are afflicted with narcolepsy?!!! ALL the kids keep falling asleep for no reason whatsoever, in circumstances where they couldn’t possibly fall asleep, at speeds that are mind-boggling, and always with no one around to notice and/or wake them up!!! AAAAAAARRRRRGH! How can this happen, and why are we supposed to be so stupid as to swallow it whole?
Of course, if the writers didn’t take shortcuts such as these, there would be no movie, because the only time that Freddy can come out is when someone dreams. Thus, the writers had to manufacture moments in which the characters sleep. Forget the fact that Gibb was walking around drinking and she suddenly fell asleep while walking! Forget the fact that Lori inexplicably zonked out in a police interrogation room and was forgotten there for the night. Forget the fact that the one guy who knows exactly how Freddy works, doesn’t protect himself and only has one pill to keep himself awake instead eating the stuff like candy.
Forget about all of that.
Because these teenagers are all intensely narcoleptic. All of them.
At least Robert Englund was in top form. I never liked Freddy Krueger that much – he was always my least favourite of the three modern horror icons. And I was never a big fan of the films either – in my mind, only two of them are truly excellent. But Robert Englund gave us the only beacon of light in this whole darned picture. He gave us a Freddy that was in character, throwing cheesy one-liners and doing mild wrestling moves on Jason, but it was toned down appropriately for a more realistic effect. I thought that he walked that fine line just right and he was a total blast.
The rest of the cast, however, were a bunch of useless nobodies. Monica Keena, in particular, had a glassy-eyed expression the whole way through and delivered her lines anaemically, like a fragile little doll who gets parts because her daddy has pull. It was so annoying that I spent most of the movie wanting to shake her out of her trance (being the lead, she was in most of the movie – it was impossible to escape her). The rest of the bunch were just plain crummy. There was nothing special about how terrible they were. They just sucked.
And then there was the small matter of the cgi. Being that the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ series is rooted in dreamscapes, it’s normal that parts of the pictures get fairly creative, otherworldly. In the olden days, they would make most of the special effects by hand, having very little budget for high-falutin’ matte work, …etc. But, for this modern take on the series, they succumbed to the temptation of cgi. Given how expressive one can be with computer graphics, it makes sense. Except that it doesn’t work well with cheap cgi because nothing looks realistic, thereby ruining the illusion.
So, all in all, ‘Freddy vs. Jason’ is a miserable failure. I don’t even want to imagine what the picture would have been without the able assistance of Robert Englund – if, let’s say, they had decided to cast someone else as Freddy in his place. Gosh, if they had short-changed fans to that degree, then this would have been a monstrously crappy film. As is, only Englund’s enthusiasm and complete devotion to his character has made this worth seeing. It has nothing else going for it.
On that topic, my deepest desire is that, if ever they decide to make a ‘Jason vs. Freddy’ (or a ‘Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael’), that they do it while Englund can still participate. I doubt that anyone could ever take his place (even though they tried with the remake of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’). Whether you’re a fan of the character/series or not, Englund’s Freddy owns the screen. There is absolutely no competition: even if Jason should win the battle, he loses.
Date of viewing: October 14, 2012