Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Freddy vs. Jason

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: R

Starring:
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Ken Kirzinger as Jason Voorhees
Monica Keena as Lori Campbell
Kelly Rowland as Kia Waterson
Jason Ritter as Will Rollins
Chris Marquette as Charlie Linderman
Katharine Isabelle as Gibb
Brendan Fletcher as Mark Davis
Lochlyn Munro as Deputy Scott Stubbs
Tom Butler as Dr. Campbell (Lori's Father)
Kyle Labine as Freeburg
Zack Ward as Bobby Davis (Mark's Brother)
Paula Shaw as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees (Jason's Mother)
David Kopp as Blake
Jesse Hutch as Trey

Special Features:
Audio Commentary with Ronny Yu, Robert Englund, and Ken Kirzinger

Deleted and Alternate scenes with commentary

Behind the Scenes Coverage

Visual Effects Exploration

Storyboards and Galleries

Ill Nino "How Can I Live" Music Video

Script-to-Screen Feature

Promotions and Publicity

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1) & Fullscreen
Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes

Synopsis:
Freddy Krueger has been languishing between the real world and hell. He has been forgotten by the residents of Elm Street and without their fear to feed him, he's powerless. Freddy comes up with a plan to resurrect his legend, thus restoring him to his infamous glory. He awakens Jason Voorhees to wreak havoc among the Elm Street teens. Once the town hears about Jason's murders, they'll believe it's the work of Freddy and he'll be back.

What Freddy doesn't take into account is that Jason will do his job too well. While the residents initially believe Freddy is responsible, Jason keeps on hacking and slashing and killing teens. This not only steals away Freddy' potential victims, but his glory as well. He realizes that he must rein Jason in if he's to fully return to power. Thus begins a battle between these horror icons.

Freddy vs. Jason is rated R for everything imaginable including pervasive strong horror violence/gore, gruesome images, sexuality, drug use and language.

The Movie:
Anybody that reads my reviews knows I'm no big fan of horror. I'm not into slasher flicks, gore, or any of that other stuff. Freddy vs. Jason is more of what you typically expect from the horror genre. You have bad acting, teens getting killed in creative ways, gallons of fake blood, gratuitous nudity, major plot holes, etc etc etc. All of the usual elements are here. The one unique thing about this movie is the fact that it features a team up between two horror icons Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. That element alone sets it apart from other horror flicks and makes it worth checking out.

In the tradition of films like Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, and King Kong vs. Godzilla, the meeting of two monster movie icons is always cause for interest. Freddy vs. Jason is no different. The movie remains faithful to the origins of the characters while bringing them together in a new story that makes the most of both of their maniac talents. They are initially teamed together as allies, then things heat up as they are turned against each other.

Robert Englund returns as Freddy Krueger. He has done this so many times that he could play the role in his sleep. Maybe I've just been desensitized to violence, but I didn't find him the least bit scary. Most of the time he makes bad jokes and throws out crude comments towards the female characters. At the beginning of the film they played up the fact that he was a child molester and a killer, and I found that more disturbing than anything else.

Ken Kirzinger takes over the role of Jason Voorhees from Kane Hodder. Apparently director Ronny Yu wanted someone proportional to Krueger and someone with "sympathetic eyes", but to be honest all the Jasons look the same to me. Jason lumbers around and slashes with his machete as usual. He gets a bit more fight stuntwork in this film, but it's not Oscar material any way you look at it. Oddly enough, they almost make audiences sympathetic to Jason as we see him bullied and eventually drowned by kids at the camp in a flashback. However, whatever little bit of sympathy he earns disappears when he starts hacking at the heroes again.

The rest of the cast plays their roles well. They are your typical stereotypes lined up for the slaughter and women cast according to their breast size. You have the jock, the nerd, the jerk, the stoner, the love interest, the snob, and the ultimate heroine. Jason Ritter (son of John Ritter) plays the hero while Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland also has a role. However, the stoner character Freeburg (think Jay without Silent Bob) ends up getting the best line of the movie after one of Jason's rampages "Dude, that goalie was pissed about something."

Overall, though, not even the battle between these terror titans can save the film. There are enough other problems to drag it down. For example, not even 12 hours after having 3 grisly murders happen to their friends, the main girl characters are back in school as if nothing happened. Not even 24 hours after that, they're laughing, partying, and drinking at a rave in a corn field. I guess maybe they weren't all that close. In the real world the girls would have been in counseling. The police also try to cover up the murders so people outside the town won't know. It's rather unrealistic. If there were three sensational murders in a town, CNN, Geraldo, and Entertainment Tonight would be all over it. Jason is also shown to be deathly afraid of water in any form. A sheet of water keeps him from attacking Freddy one point. However, he has no problem walking through the rain, through a shallow lake, out on a dock, etc. It didn't make sense. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Freddy vs. Jason is mainly for all the horror fans out there. Everyone else should approach it with the same caution they would with any other horror film.

The Extras:
This two disc set features a lot of DVD extras. Here are some of the highlights:

Audio Commentary with Ronny Yu, Robert Englund, and Ken Kirzinger While both Yu and Kirzinger initially hold back in the commentary, Englund takes the lead and does most of the talking. He kind of guides them along when they get quiet and offers up a lot of anecdotes on his own. They talk about the stunts, the performances of the other actors, and even a set visit by X-Men director Bryan Singer. Freddy fans should be happy with this commentary.

Deleted and Alternate scenes with commentary There are around 15 or so deleted scenes on this DVD. Most are extremely brief and barely 20 seconds long. A couple are extended. One of these is the alternate opening for the movie. It features the skinny dipping camp counselor putting the children to bed before her midnight rendezvous. When one kid says he's had a nightmare, she sends him back to bed. When she returns to the cabin with Jason in hot pursuit, she finds the door locked and the kid flipping her off. Another one of the longer scenes is the alternate ending. In this scene we see Lori and Will preparing to have sex for the first time. For some reason Lori finds this an appropriate time to bring up the fact that she felt sorry for Jason as a child. Will then starts to get a bit rough and when Lori complains, his hand pops out Freddy Krueger claws and attacks her. It's a rather weak ending and the final one proves to be better. All of these scenes can be watched with commentary.

Behind the Scenes Coverage These are your typical "making of" videos broken up into several parts. They include features focusing on the film development, the screenwriting, set design, makeup, and stunts. I was amazed to see just how many different scripts were made for this film. At one point they show them and you can see the names of the writers on the pages. A few of them you might recognize. While all the features are interesting, the one on stunts is particularly cool. You see them prepare and film the fire stunts, wire stunts, and more. It makes you appreciate the preparation for them. All total, these videos end up being around an hour long.

Visual Effects Exploration This feature takes a close look at the visual effects in the film. The two effects supervisors go into great detail about how each of the visual effects sequences was made. These include the "caterpillar Freddy", "pinball Jason", and other things. These effects include everything from drops of blood to morphs to slow motion effects. It's amazing to hear how many of these effects were figured out at the last minute and how many were shared between different effects houses.

Ill Nino "How Can I Live" Music Video This is your typical heavy metal music video with long haired band members shaking their heads incessantly as deafening music plays. The video features a girl running spooked around Elm Street. Strangely, there's no footage from the movie and Freddy and Jason don't even appear.

There are actually a number of other entertaining features on this DVD. Among them is an article on Freddy vs. Jason from Fangoria magazine. This discusses how the movie was made and, more interestingly, what was in the scrapped early drafts of the film. There's also a video from the premiere of the movie in Austin, Texas at "Camp HackNslash". This was a fun event where horror fans played camp and did crafts, dodgeball, a wet t-shirt contest (with a disturbing finale), and more. It's pretty funny. Also included in the extras is a look at a promotional press conference for the movie in Las Vegas. It's done like a boxing press conference where both fighters come out and are weighed, asked questions, and other stuff. It's funny to hear Freddy trash talk and Jason respond through his promoter. Watch the security guards try to keep a straight face in the background.

The Bottom Line:
Freddy vs. Jason should please horror fans and the extras are also fun. General movie audiences will want to approach with caution.

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