Friday, June 04, 2004

Movie Review: Freddy vs. Jason

United States, 2003
U.S. Release Date: 8/15/03 (wide)
Running Time: 1:35
Rated: R (Violence, gore, sex, nudity, profanity, drug use)
Cast: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Christopher George Marquette

Director: Ronny Yu
Producer: Sean S. Cunningham
Screenplay: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Music: Graeme Revell
Studio: New Line Cinema

Honestly, I have never been a die-hard fan of either the Nightmare on Elm Street series or the Friday the 13th series, and frankly who really is anymore? Most of the original fans from the 70’s and 80’s (the decades when these horror films dominated) have grown up and established families, occupations, and lifestyles where this type of picture is not really of interest anymore; now this type of entertainment is only oriented towards the extreme horror enthusiasts and the rebellious immature teens who are just out to possibly sneak into an R-rated gore-fest and get their expected fair share of cheap scares and T & A.

After Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) has been intentionally forgotten on Elm Street, he awakens Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) and sends him to Elm Street to wreak havoc on Freddy’s old hunting grounds. Once the ghoulish goalie-masked menace commits numerous murders, Freddy’s name naturally comes up--being that he is the expected assassin, considering the name of the street. Naturally, fear spreads as fast as high-school gossip--causing the knife-fingered, feared, and freaky Freddy to regain enough power to, yet again, return to his old neighborhood for yet another killing spree. It then becomes a killing competition, and jealousy comes into play between the two villains when Jason keeps hacking away at Freddy’s fresh stock of victims. As one would expect, it ends in a bloody battle between the badass hockey-faced hacker and the badly-dressed, bloody-faced slasher.

Let us now pause and recollect the vast majority of the unsuccessful movies that have contained the word, “vs.” in them. There is the more recent flops of Alien vs. Predator and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, the highlight of Tom Hanks’s career Joe Versus the Volcano (Can you sense the sarcasm there?), and quite possibly one of the worst films ever committed to film Zombie! vs. Mardi Gras. Oh, and of course we cannot forget all of the classic Godzilla pictures (i.e. Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, Godzilla vs. Destroyer, etc). And now, Freddy vs. Jason can be added to this list of poor, pathetic, and pitiable pictures.

In this horror battle, oddly enough, the big-breasted bimbos and their moronic boyfriends get more screen time than the title characters of Mr. Kruger and Mr. Voorhees. And speaking of the cast of characters, why is Kelly Rowland in this movie? The former member of the three girl singing squad "Destiny’s Child" and girlfriend of rapper Nelly, only serves as a mere prop for the “dark meat” quote and nothing else—she possesses absolutely no acting skills whatsoever. And the two main characters of Will (Jason Ritter, who happens to be the son of the now departed John Ritter, R.I.P.) and Lori (Monica Keena, who has the same Calista Flockhart-looking lip thing going on that Rachel Dratch so accurately depicts on NBC’s "S.N.L."), are played by two actors who have definite future film potential even though they chose to be in a poor picture that obnoxiously and sadly features a computer-generated caterpillar smoking marijuana. But hey, Josh Harnett got his start in the mediocrely-made “scary” movie, The Faculty, and the absolutely horrendous horror film, Halloween: H20, and look at him now.

If this movie continues to collect revenue through DVD sales, after its decent, yet undeserving, gain at the box-office, New Line Cinema will further flood the cesspool of horror film sludge in the form of sequels with a Freddy prequel and possibly (if New Line can purchase the rights to the Halloween series) a three-way brawl of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael.

The bottom line is: if or when you are indecisive at the rental store and are given a choice between Freddy vs. Jason in your right hand or pretty much any other film that you have the slightest bit of interest in seeing in your left hand, I say go with whatever your left hand holds. (** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2004