Ever wondered what would happen if Freddy Krueger met Jason Vorhees? Well, spoiler alert, it doesn’t result in a romantic comedy. Of course you wondered what would happen when these two titans of horror clashed, everybody did. The road to that discovery was a long and arduous one.
Years of whispers and rumors of a Freddy vs. Jason movie were running around for years before New Line Cinema finally acquired the rights to FRIDAY THE 13th from Paramount Pictures, and it seemed that with the ending of JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY the stage was finally set. Well that was 1993, the next ten years FREDDY VS JASON would be stuck in development hell, with dozens and dozens of screenwriters taking their ‘stab’ at scripting the film, directors that were up for it one day would pull out the next, and budgetary concerns would all plague FREDDY VS JASON.
Really funny story, paints me as somewhat stupid, but whatever. I spent some time in California in 2000, and everyone in their dog was trying to break into filmmaking in one way or another. I moved back to my hometown after a while to go to college and some point later I got an email from a colleague back in California. He told me that he was asked to do a rewrite of a script for FREDDY VS JASON and he was seeing if I could help because he isn’t very well versed in horror. I gave it some serious thought and ended up declining the offer. Why? I couldn’t justify in my own head letting Freddy win over Jason, or vice versa (although I’m a Freddy guy through and through). I’m not sure what happened after my response, but I know that a year-ish later they had all the elements, including a script, that they needed to finally make FREDDY VS JASON. Now my colleague had nothing to do with the final product, and you also should understand that everyone in Hollywood had taken a crack at writing this script (or at least doing rewrites). I went to the film when it hit theaters and at the end of the movie, when (SPOILER ALERT) neither truly wins or loses, I just sat in my seat thinking “A draw? Why didn’t I think of that?” Quickly followed by a string of obscenities. So, there, I’m an idiot.
So now that we’ve talked about its rough road, lets finally talk about the movie. Freddy’s hometown has figured a way to make kids forget him, which has drained his power and keeps him from visiting their dreams. He finds Jason and thinks, “hey, if this guy starts killing people in my town, maybe all that fear will rub off towards me and I can start doing what I love to do again”, and it works…kind of. Only problem is that Jason is a killing machine without an off switch. Which leads to friction between he and Freddy as Freddy wants him gone so he can start killing kids on Elm Street again (in fact, out of 25 kills in the film, only 1 is due to Freddy, well…another in flashback, the rest belong to Jason). This leads towards the last 15 minutes being the most brutal and gory head to head this side of BATTLE ROYALE.
The script is good, between all that I just talked about there’s a group of kids trying to stay alive and hoping Jason will kill Freddy, as he’s the real threat to them, apparently. The town treats Freddy as a virus, never uttering his name because it’d start a plague that would spread like wildfire of kids dying in their nightmares. Which is an interesting way to think of it that I was rather impressed by. The film has some humor to it (thanks to the addition of Freddy), and that’s also really appreciated. It wasn’t just a mindless slaughter-fest, it had some story to it, which is almost previously unheard of in a FRIDAY THE 13th film. The execution by director Ronny Yu is pretty damn good as it is also the most polished FRIDAY THE 13th has ever looked…could have something to do with the budget that was larger than any FRIDAY THE 13th has had before. The A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET portions blend seamlessly and I think they really came up with a nice way to put the two franchises together. Most importantly, this movie is a lot of fun and highly entertaining.
Everyone has their favorite, Freddy for some, Jason for others. There are definitely moments where one would be awarded points over the other and that’s really fun for an audience. Regardless of your favorite, watch this movie and cheer for your side to win, it certainly will not bore you.