It’s Friday the 13th! For us at ScareTissue this is one of those “holidays” that we look forward to! This one has been on my plate for a while now and when I looked at the calendar and realized there was a Friday the 13th coming up I knew just when I’d post this review.
Freddy vs. Jason is the 2003 crossover film directed by Ronny Yu that brings together two of the most iconic horror franchises we’ve ever been given: A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th. It is the eighth and eleventh entries in their respective series and finally gives us the showdown we’d been waiting for for decades: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees face to mask.
SPOILER ALERT: This review WILL talk openly about the plot of the film. We’re a decade removed from its release so I’m hoping you’ve already seen this one, but if not go check it out first and come on back afterword.
THE PLOT: The film opens with a narrative from Freddy. We’re given a brief recap of his back story and he tells how he’s trapped in Hell because the folks in Springwood have forgotten about him robbing him of his power. He brings Jason back to life (remember, this follows the cannon of Jason Goes To Hell) by masquerading as Jason’s mother. He tells Jason that the Elm Street kids have been bad and that he needs to punish them. Freddy’s hope is that folks will start to remember Freddy based on Jason’s killing spree and revitalize his powers.
Jason starts his rampage at Lori’s house. She happens to be living in 1428 Elm Street which was Nancy’s house from the original Nightmare flick. Here we get one of the best kills in either franchise when Trey gets a machete through the back and the proceeds to be bent in half when Jason “closes” the bed. Absolutely epic. The kids go to the police and they start to think it was Freddy based on the house where it happened. The kids start to have nightmares but Freddy learns that he’s not strong enough yet, so he allows Jason to continue his rampage.
Meanwhile, Lori’s ex boyfriend Will is incapacitated at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital. We learn rather quickly that Westin Hills is how the town of Springwood has decided to deal with Krueger. They’ve essentially quarantined any kids that had any interaction with him. Will’s friend Mark had a brother who died at Krueger’s hand. Will sees Lori’s house on the news and escapes to make sure she’s OK. They return to Springwood and Mark promptly tells Lori and a slew of kids at school about Freddy. It isn’t until later that he realizes the town’s plan to erase Freddy from people’s memories (great job Mark).
The kids attend a rave in a cornfield and Jason is set loose killing a bunch of classmates. Gibb (one of Lori’s friends and Trey’s girlfriend) is stalked by Freddy but just as he’s about to kill her in her dreams, Jason kills her in real life robbing Freddy of his prey. This pisses Fred off something fierce and he realizes that he may have unleashed a killing machine with no way of shutting him down.
The kids come up with a plan to pull Freddy from a dream and lead him to Jason. They take an unconscious Jason (they captured and drugged him when they returned to Westin Hills to get Hypnocil which will make them not dream) to Crystal Lake to give him the home field advantage. Their thought is that if he should beat Freddy he’d already be “home” and would not come after them. Meanwhile, Freddy attempts to kill Jason in his dreams based on his fear of water. Lori enters the dream world to retrieve Freddy, saving Jason in the process. Freddy attacks Lori, revealing that he was the one who killed her mother, not her father.
Back at Crystal Lake (real world), Jason wakes up and starts to take out the teens. The cabin where Lori is sleeping is set on fire during the Jason onslaught and Lori’s hand is drug through fire, waking her while she’s got Freddy in her clutches. Freddy is brought to the real world and it’s ON!!! The epic battle we’ve been waiting for for decades is brutal, bloody and incredibly fun to watch. (Check out all the fights here) Jason rips Freddy’s arm off as Freddy gains control of Jason’s machete and severely wounds him in return, throwing him into the lake. He turns to Lori, intent on killing her, but is stabbed through his torso by his own bladed arm by Jason. Lori decapitates Freddy with the machete and both Freddy and Jason fall into the lake, seemingly dead. The next morning, Jason rises out of the lake, holding Freddy’s severed head. Freddy’s head winks at the audience and laughs as the screen goes black
THOUGHTS: I’m not going to bury the lead here… I LOVE this movie. I put it on my Top 10 Horror Films list for a reason. It’s awesome! As I said when I put that list together, I can’t think of many movies that have managed to cross over two franchises nearly as well as this one did. For NOES fans, there’s a great Freddy story line and for Friday fans you get plenty of Jason. I’m torn whether I consider this more of a Freddy or a Jason story. Freddy only gets one kill in here so I suppose if I had a gun to my head I’d say it’s a Jason flick.
The fight scene between these horror icons is simply amazing and absolutely did live up the hype. Robert Englund does an amazing job as always as Freddy. This marks his final appearance (to date) as Freddy Krueger and he’s gone on record saying he will most likely never again put on the glove. Ken Kirzinger brings the “heft” to Jason that needs to be there. I would have loved to have seen Kane Hodder return in this roll, but Ken was more than sufficient.
The “kids” here are way too old to be playing kids, but they do an admirable job. Monica Keena (Lori), Jason Ritter (Will), Katharine Isabelle (Gibb) and Brendan Fletcher (Mark) are your main players with Kelly Rowland (Kia), Chris Marquette (Linderman) and Kyle Labine (Freeburg) rounding out the cast nicely. The ladies are SMOKING hot which is always nice for a horror flick and we get some nice T&A action to boot. There are a couple of AWESOME one-liners here that make me laugh every time I see them:
- “Kia… he has ASTHMA!!!“
- “Dude… that goalie was PISSED.“
- “Aww… tilt.“
The gore factor here is great with some great kills from Jason. Freddy’s one kill in the movie is nice, but nothing we’ve not seen before from him. I love the fact that we get callbacks to stuff like Hypnocil from the Nightmare franchise and I really enjoyed Jason’s resurrection here as it seems plausible (at least for a horror flick). There are some plot holes here for sure and some stuff that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
- Since when is Jason afraid of water to the point that it turns him into a crying little boy? And if he’s so scared of water, why the hell does he live near a lake?
- Is it REALLY that easy to break out of a mental hospital?
- Could a town just delete all kinds of public records? And even if they did, would people honestly just “forget” about their dead kids?
Those few plot points aside, I have an absolute blast every time I watch this. It’s a fun horror movie with an above average story, great kills, blood and guts. The re-watchability of this one is off the charts in my opinion and because of that I come back to it often. And even though we’ve since had reboots of both franchises, I’m hopeful that with the ending we’re given in Freddy Vs. Jason that eventually, one or both of the franchises will return to this timeline. Strong recommend.
Have you seen Freddy Vs. Jason? Who do you think won this battle? Happy Friday The 13th!