The whole is greater than the sum of Freddy and Jason’s crumbled limbs. That’s the thinking New Line is using to fuel the belated teaming of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, two horror monster icons who’ve been somewhat dulled in the past decade by lame sequels and tepid audience response. Separate, they’re tired, but put them together and you’ve got dynamite. Right? Sort of. You want to see Freddy and Jason rumble? The film delivers. More? Hey, is there anyone going to see “Freddy Vs. Jason” who hasn’t seen the other seventeen films in the two series?
“Freddy Vs. Jason” does a good job of just getting right down to its grisly business by almost instantaneously putting Freddy and Jason together. Freddy’s trapped in hell and he uses Jason to free him by impersonating the ghost of Jason’s mother. This is a bad idea since Jason is the most psychotic and sickest mama’s boy in screen history, although she was nothing to write home about herself, especially after she got her head cut off at the end of Friday the 13th. It’s all about a boy and his mother.
Director Ronny Yu deserves credit for trying to bring a mystical touch to “Freddy Vs. Jason” as Jason finds himself trapped in Freddy’s dreamworld, a visual nightmare that totally confuses the masked madman, although not enough to stop him from ripping Freddy some new ones. Not limbs actually; I’m not sure what they are, but Freddy gets some new somethings. There are also lots of sick flashbacks from Jason’s childhood and Freddy’s child murdering past, which is cool because it shows that Yu is actually trying to explain the motivations of these characters and further the plot. We don’t ask for explanations, but the effort is appreciated.
The teenage characters are complete dullards, but in an enjoyably familiar, ‘80s retro way. The best idea in the film comes from the fact that Yu takes us inside Jason’s head, literally, as we see his sick nightmares. I also liked the idea of how Freddy, having gotten his figurative claws inside Jason, sends the hockey-mask wearing psychopath back to his hometown of Springwood to force the teenagers to start having nightmares. Seems like Freddy has a hard time scaring people anymore so he uses Jason as a sort of psychotic viagra pill to make the kids vulnerable to Freddy’s nightmares again.
The only problem with “Freddy Vs. Jason” is that nothing’s really resolved, but that’s part of the fun too. What, are you expecting either of these monsters to be killed off for good? However, “Freddy Vs. Jason” is a visually imaginative and energetic film, not sequel, that benefits from its “Matrix”-like packaging. Yeah, after years of waiting, Freddy and Jason have finally rumbled, and it’s a lot of fun. That doesn’t mean I want to see seventeen more of them.