Freddy vs Jason (2003) … Remembered
I saw Freddy vs Jason opening night and it was like being at a packed football game. The showing was completely sold out and the crowd was really into it. The laughed at the stupid jokes and “Ooohed” at the gruesome effects, because the hype was real. This movie was a long time coming.
After the release of Jason Goes to Hell (1993), I think everybody expected Freddy vs Jason to be right around the corner. This wasn’t exactly the case and the project spent around ten years in development hell. The stories about script rewrites and revisions are legendary. If you google these, you’ll find that the scripts were terrible, and all the ideas to bring Freddy and Jason together on screen were mostly forced. The most famous idea is having Freddy portrayed as the camp counselor who drowned Jason as a kid, which causes all kinds of chronology problems.
I think the hype was as big as Cloverfield, and the lines for tickets were real. I wasn’t late to the showing but it took a while to actually buy a ticket. I don’t know if they had online ticket purchases at the time but I should have used it if they did. I squeezed into the packed theatre.
When the showing started, it grabbed your attention with the logos and the famous “Ki ki ki…ka ka ka…”. It worked. The opening was entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I can complement this movie and be entertained, but this isn’t Spartacus or Gone with the Wind. It only succeeds if you think it’s entertaining, which means it has to meet your expectations and the action set pieces have to work. Also, the acting can’t be too terrible to overshadow everything else, and the atmosphere has to fit your expectations. I think the movie accomplishes all these things.
I guess the studio did their homework, because everybody gets what they want in this film. There’s dream sequences, there’s Jason hulking around and slashing people, and there’s plenty of blood. The rave sequence is notable for it’s production value and most of the Freddy dream sequences are fun.
The acting isn’t too bad as I’ve said, but it’s still pretty bad. Monica Keena as Lori is probably the most annoying part of the cast, and her dialogue delivery is just really terrible. Kelly Rowland as Kia is just as bad, but Jason Ritter does a way better job as Will, because he’s not as over-the-top as the ladies. Since he’s the leading man, his performance helps the movie.
Lastly, the plot is simple but it’s also repetitious and feels contrived. Many of the characters repeat plot points over and over, leading to a LOT of dialogue and exposition, but not a lot of action or drama. Fortunately, the direction makes up for the script weaknesses, especially in the end fight, which is decent. Ronny Yu knows how to direct, because he makes this crap movie look decent from a cinematic point of view. The ending is also classic and makes you smile. Jason wins, carrying Freddy’s head from the lake, but the decapitated head winks at us knowingly.
Knowing all this, I bought this movie a long time ago when it came out on DVD. I don’t watch it much anymore because I’ve outgrown the stupid pothead humor, but it’s still entertaining in a lot of places. I think the problem originally was that the script-writers were overthinking things. You don’t need an elaborate plot to bring these two horror icons together, because a simple one works just fine. I can look past some of the movie’s flaws because I can remember the entertaining time I had at the movies.