Needless to say, as a fan of the previous solo movies, Freddy vs. Jason left much to be desired not only as horror movie, but also as a movie and as two hours. I hated the movie. I thought it was boring; the dialogue was as if a two-year old wrote it, and it shit on the things I loved growing up. So this week I decided to grab some popcorn and bring my nightmares to life by staying positive through 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason.
It’s here that I actually find my first positive. In concept, the movie is pretty cool and I’m with it. The “adults,” realizing they couldn’t stop Freddy directly, instead cut off anyone who remembers him, taking away his powers. To make people think he’s back, Freddy raises Jason from the dead to commit murders on Elm Street. Okay, I’m on board, and as a timeline of events this makes sense. In Jason Goes to Hell, the final image is of Freddy’s hand grabbing Jason’s mask, so we’ve established the two have some kind of relationship, no matter how farfetched.
If you are a true fan of either the Friday the 13th movies or Nightmare on Elm Street movies these things deliver. It does feel like two separate movies, each with their own feel to them. The beginning finds Jason being resurrected and then walking from what I’m assuming is Camp Crystal Lake to Elm Street. We are now hanging out with the teenagers we’ve seen in every Nightmare or Friday the 13th movie; teenagers who love to drink and have sex, and the one (Monica Keena) who isn’t into it. Oddly, there is a familiarity to it that is comforting. I kind of know who is going to die by the end of the movie. In true Jason fashion, the slaughters are brutal, but it's a nice change to see Jason stabbing people in a suburban home rather than a forest. Sure, the producers probably weren’t a fan of the extra set costs but fuck you, Jason’s getting his stab on.
This does lead to what I think is the most lasting and, upon re-watching it, the best sequence in the movie: the cornfield rave. I remember when I saw the movie the first time that this scene was the only thing that stuck with me, and upon a second viewing this is, in my opinion, one of the better scenes ever offered in a Friday the 13th movie. During the rave, Jason has killed a few victims and finally is discovered, sprayed with alcohol and set on fire. As Jason walks through the cornfield -- on fire -- he leaves a burning trail. There is a great shot of Jason surrounding the party stabbing people with a trail of inferno behind him that I enjoyed immensely. I enjoyed it so much that I wish they would have just let it play out instead of cutting in a Freddy sequence.
Freddy vs. Jason suffers from all of my original criticisms and definitely still has problems. Upon re-watching it, I found myself enjoying a bit more than I did originally. The cornfield rave scene is good. Portions of the end fight are good, and seeing Jason kick ass in the burbs was fun. During the re-watch, I began to ask the question "why did I hate this movie so much"? I’ve sat through 17 combined Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies and I can honestly say this movie is better than at least 60% of those, so why did I hate this movie so much more? The best answer I can give is hype and that it came out in 2003 instead of 1993. I don’t know what I was expecting, but whatever it was, Freddy vs. Jason did not live up to it.
Is Freddy vs. Jason a good movie? No, but neither are many of the other previous movies. For me to be a fan of those originals and somehow hold this to a different standard is simply a case of me hanging onto some twisted nostalgia. Freddy vs Jason is not a good movie, but it’s an above average Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movie.