Friday, 12 April 2013

Much Maligned: Freddy vs Jason (2003)

What is so wrong with this picture, people?

Why do you detest it so?

And before I start, I'm a Freddy man. Just so you know.




Freddy vs Jason (2003)
Starring: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger
Directed By: Ronny Yu







Okay, before I start banging on about acting and actors, don't be fooled: there is no one in this film that you need to be concerned with except the two leads - Freddy and Jason.

Honestly, the supporting cast of teenagers are fine. They do the job. Using the amazing power of Imdb I found one of them was Jason Ritter - son of the late (and one of my personal fav's), John Ritter. They do the job. Hey, it's even got Kelly Rowland in.

She's a singer, right?

Anyway. Maligned for not being the film everyone thought it should be, Freddy vs Jason has gone down in history as being awful. But I don't understand quite why.

Is it the story?

Freddy ain't scarin' no one no more. The whole dream thing is past and Freddy has no power over the residents of Elm Street anymore. He needs to scare up some business. So what better to do than goad Jason from the grave (of course) to bring a murderous rampage to the town and get the fear running again? It's a genius plan.

Except once you have let the dog out, how do you control it?

What is there not to like about the plot? Freddy goads Jason, the two hack up bewildered teenage girls, then go at each other. And it's for adults (*cough* AvP *cough*)

Is it that the characters - our great and true loves F and J - have been mishandled?

Well, no. There is no other way I can say it. Let's be honest (remember I'm a Fred Head) the Nightmare on Elm Street series is a bit of a joke, isn't it? The first was a classic, a couple in the middle were cool (notice I skipped over part 2) but the further it got, the sillier it got. It wasn't until Wes Craven's A New Nightmare (1994) came along, that the series even started to look like a horror show once again.

We all loved the character. But I feel it was with rose tinted glasses.

Freddy in FvJ is actually a horror character.

And Hell, Jason is Jason. He doesn't speak. He hacks. Limbs are strewn aloof. He is Jason - unlike, say part 5 - he's cruel, wielding, and murderous.


Are we not given an 80's/90's horror?

Both franchises are born from - and have their best work - in the eighties and nineties. Have we been given something less?

No. Jason is renowned for hacking the heads off of the campers a Crystal Lake: Generally teens, stoners, those that lose their virginity, wasters, the jock... yadda yadda yadda... and yes FvJ gives you that, boobs and all (very nineties). Freddy was all about the dragging of the character into familiar situations and making them suffer, build the fear. It's all there.

Director Ronny Yu (51st State, Fearless) puts together a wild ride. There are fights and gore, the teens get cut up, the leads hack away at each other. The fight scenes are well choreographed, the special effects good.

There is nothing wrong with this picture.

The thing is, given enough time and speculation, fan fiction and fan desire, no film will ever be what you want it to be.

And that is why Freddy vs Jason is much maligned... and why it'll never get a sequel.

See you in the lobby, film fans...


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