For the past few years now, horror films have been retaking the popular position they held at the box-office in the early 80's. It's started off innocently enough with smart thrillers like The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch and most recently The Ring. Movies like Jeepers Creeper sought to revive the creature feature and with film's like Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and Wrong Turn, 70's exploitation was back as well. Given that fact, what better time to revive two of the most popular, over-the-top horror icons of the 80's and bring them crashing together head on. Freddy vs. Jason brings the two characters screaming into the new millennia and fares better than many of the sequels that precede it from both franchises.
It's been four years since Freddy last terrorized the teens of Elm Street. With the help of a dream-suppressing drug, the parents in Springwood have declared all things Kruger to be unspeakable. With the survivors of Freddy's reign of terror safely locked away, no one but the adults even remember Kruger and that's what really chaps Freddy's ass.
With no one to fear him, he's remained trapped in Hell, virtually powerless and unable to return to Springwood. But Freddy thinks he's found the perfect pawn for his return in the form of unstoppable serial killer Jason Voorhees, whom he resurrects and points in the direction of Elm Street.
Jason returns to Springwood just in time to find a couple doing something he hates—three guesses as to what it is—and immediately dispatches with the boyfriend in a violent and bloody method that stands out as one of the most inventive kills in the film. Seeing the story on the news, committed teen Will Rollins decides it's time to escape the asylum where he's being held against his will and check on past girlfriend Lori Campbell (Monica Keena of the TV show Undeclared).
When he and his friend arrive in town, their presence and stories of Freddy Kruger only add to the fear that is slowly spreading, as the town tries to contain what they believe to be another appearance of dream killer Freddy Kruger. After Jason's appearance at a cornfield rave, the small group of teens that have gathered around Lori and Will, which include Kia (Kelly Roland from Destiny's Child), figure out that Freddy is using Jason to spread fear throughout the town.
Unfortunately for Freddy, Jason is enjoying his time in Springwood and doesn't particularly want to go home when Freddy wants him to. The teens figure this out and decide to use Jason against Freddy. What follows is a showdown between the two horror icons as Jason meets Freddy in the dream world and later; Freddy takes on Jason in the real world.
Freddy vs. Jason works on so many levels. First of all, it has a respect for the previous films. It never attempts to change the "rules" established in the separate franchises, nor does it attempt to retrofit continuity from either film to tie the characters together. Freddy merely see Jason as a means to an end and only becomes upset when Jason begins stealing his victims. Through Freddy's invasion of Jason's psyche, fans are treated to a look at his days spent at Camp Crystal Lake and what fuels his hatred for all teenagers.
With a story that brings the characters together perfectly, each gets their moments to shine. Jason has some of the most inventive and bloody kills he's had in quite some time. He even shows a little bit of attitude when two high school students mistake him for a local joker when he interrupts their rave in the middle of the cornfield. What follows was easily a crowd favorite scene as Jason unleashes on a group of teens, en masse.
Likewise, Freddy is returned to his more menacing roots seen in the first film as he has to toy with his victims until he regains his strength. His sense of humor and use of one-liners is present, but toned way down when compared to previous installments. The victims he dispatches on his own are done in a spectacular Freddy fashion, with odes to the 3rd film in the franchise and a character from Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland.
When the two characters finally meet, the battle begins to look a little one sided, as Freddy dominates in the dream world. It becomes more evenly matched once they make it to the real world and Jason's unstoppable nature is truly put to the test. This is no Frankenstein vs. Wolf Man battle, as they go at each other with every weapon at their grasp, whether it's knife, machete, or construction equipment and the blood and body parts fly.
The film is truly hitting on all cylinders and perfectly combines the two franchises. Even the person in our group that had never seen a Freddy or Jason film (yes, they are out there) had a blast and enjoyed the film. The audience reacted at all the right times with all the right emotions and there is no better place to see this film than in the theater with a group of friends. It's easily the most fun, ear-to-ear grin-inducing movie I've seen in a while. The ten-year wait for this historic cinematic match-up was worth it and let's hope we don't have to wait another ten to see them together again.