Friday the 13th Week: Freddy vs Jason – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees return to terrorize the teenage population. Except this time, they’re out to get each other, too. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41% (Critics) / 50% (Audience)
MetaScore: 37 – Generally Unfavorable Reviews
Directed By: Ronny Yu
Written By: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift and David S. Goyer
Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter and Kelly Rowland
Studio: New Line Cinema

The Good:
Sure the overly convoluted circumstances this movie comes up with to bring our two terrific terrors together may be contrived as hell but I loved it. The idea of Freddy using Jason to scare the teens of Elm Street into having nightmares strong enough to free him from his dreamscape prison is goofy as hell but it also showed a penchant for going over the top that the writers of this movie and its director embraced with reckless abandon. That balls to the wall, go for broke attitude does a lot to make this movie watchable.
Of course the best thing about FREDDY VS JASON is the battle between Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. From their battle in Freddy’s dream realm where he maintained the upper hand throughout since the fight was on his home turf to their donnybrook in the real world where even though Freddy was outmatched physically was able to keep things competitive thanks to his guile and intelligence. A lot of the interaction between Freddy and Jason works best because of how at ease Robert Englund is in Freddy’s skin. He can make almost any scene work regardless of his scene partner.

The Bad:
The teenage group of friends in this movie are the worst. They are horribly bland characters who drag this movie down every time the focus shifts from the titular two horror icons. And worst of all is Monica Keena as the film’s Final Girl. She is all jiggly boobs and blank stares and nothing about her being the one to combat Jason and Freddy came across as believable at all.
I also wasn’t a fan of the re-write of Jason’s weakness being water. I have watched more than enough FRIDAY THE 13TH movies to know that Jason spends an inordinate amount of time not only in water but submerged in it to pull off sneak attack murders so the idea of him having a phobia of water due to his drowning as a child is kinda ridiculous.
It probably makes no sense to most folks since the character never speaks and wears a full hockey goalie’s mask at all times but…my favorite Jason is Kane Hodder and it would have been a bit of geek wish fulfillment to have Hodder as the Jason to face-off against Robert Englund’s Freddy.
And I know this is one of those nitpicky “Everything Wrong With…” type criticisms but Springwood is a city in Ohio and Camp Crystal Lake is located in New Jersey so there is no way these kids could have driven from Springwood to Camp Crystal Lake in one night.

The Ugly:
Everything about the character of Kia was problematic. Casting Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child to be the sassy black friend to the white heroine was annoying enough but to then have her become a “Sacrificial Negro” was just insulting. So this teenage girl decides it is her duty to play the distraction for Freddy to keep him from going after her melanin deprived friends? Come on, son!

Final Verdict: Watching Freddy fight Jason is a horror geek’s dream come true and FREDDY VS JASON does a pretty good job on that front. Sadly every time the movie switches focus to the imperiled teenage victims of the two slasher movie heavyweights the movie becomes almost unbearable to watch. It makes for a very uneven movie but it does satisfy when it comes to getting the bad guys right.

Grade: C

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