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Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Directed by Ronny Yu Written by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift

  Was there ever any indication of this movie being something to be taken serious? As though any of the films in either Jason nor Freddy’s franchise could be commended for the same; just always saw this film as simply a movie for the fans. Though, I tend to discredit the mere idea of it being taken seriously as a whole just completely silly. (In a film where body counts matter as least) Jason goes to Hell was surly to tease at the notion first of a duel and while the script saw as many as (at least) 17 drafts and 10 years to find its end, was it worth the wait? Before even going into the film, I was rooting for Freddy and believe it or not, hearing some of the other ideas had for the remake makes the final product seem like a masterpiece. While a set of rules were put down for the script that would be followed, all other bets were off. Having the movie take place directly after the 4th Friday installment and forgetting everything after, enduring as many as 60 meetings with Directors, first having gone to Ronny Yu in 1993 who initially declined.

What changed his mind was being told he could choose who won in the end; what turned out a fantastic choice after seeing what was done with Bride of Chucky. Being adamant about going back to the basics with Freddy vs. Jason, the script was originally 2½ hours, wanting to cut it down as short as possible. The way they described the script being to make fun of themselves in a way that you didn’t think they were. Which if I choose to view in that manner makes sense of where they decided to take the final story-line/dialogue. Possible situations for the script prior seemed so outrageous, including Jason driving a Camero and the two ending up back in Hell with Pinhead as the referee for the final battle. Ultimately deciding against due to having to buy the other character. Another possible outcome being going inside of Freddy’s nose; Boogerman, get it? Yea, not that funny but better than an alternate ending in which the entire thing turned out to be a dream. (I’ll bet one of ’em was a Dallas fan) One of the ways they tried to connect the two Slashers being that the camp counselor to blame for Jason’s death was Freddy he had molested the boy as a child down on Elm. But the most entertaining ideas tossed around had to be the events that occurred during the process of writing the script. The movie Scream and O.J. Simpson’s trial was two potential ways of going about the movie. Freddy would have been written as a real serial killer that Jason was copying and would have been captured and put on trial, which would be the remainder of the film; certainly not something I would expect.

Ronny Yu wanted to use deep colors for both worlds while going back to the basics so Freddy’s dream sequences and Jason’s gory kills/idiotic teens running around could both be showcased. Either way I greatly enjoyed the intro. Freddy’s demon make-up and close up of his mouth made him look so much more wicked you. There is a longer version of the beginning that I would’ve rather they kept in; I always wonder what would happen if they just stayed in the water. Wouldn’t they survive if water turns out to be his achilles heel? Plus I liked the Krueger sweater on Jason’s mother. The three girls are an obvious nod to the Halloween trio; we have a differently spelled Lori (Monica Keena), one with a red hat (Katharine Isabelle) and then just…one more so no one gets too bored (Kelly Rowland). The special features on the DVD were great at outlining how they did each visual effect stating the most expensive was the 9 frame shot used in Lori’s dream at the police station.

Things at school take a turn after Mark (Brendan Fletcher) and Will (Jason Ritter) surprise Lori and end up frightening most of the other students; ensuring a return from Kreguer of which they figure out immediately after riling up the students. So everyone’s solution is to attend a rave out in the middle of nowhere (makes sense right?) and are overcome with fear after, SURPRISE! Jason shows, to do what he does best. The conflict between the two being that Freddy only intended to use Jason to make others think it had been him all along. Once they do start remembering the past on Elm Street, Jason gets a bit zealous with the kills and won’t stop, not going over well with the KruegStuntman Glenn Ennis had to walk 75 feet when on fire, needing instructions past a certain point due to being blind after walking a certain amount of feet* The “Scooby gang” then takes over for the second half of the movie as they investigate the truth behind Elm Street and how Lori’s father was involved in the same psychiatric hospital Lori’s ex (Will) had been sent to. The battle ensuing after devising a plan of bringing Freddy back into the real world (been there, done that) to battle Jason for the ultimate slasher showdown.

The reason for me not going in too deep about the film being to try to discuss more of it. So did the story end up satisfying fans? I would like to think a film wouldn’t just make over a hundred million due to curiosity. The did do a great job of representing each killer, it was the cast that I didn’t like all around. I had seen Keena in some of her earlier work but definitely recall when this first came out and thinking “What did she do to her face?!” I really don’t intend for that to sound as it may but she was a perfectly cute girl before, she just didn’t need the work, they rarely do. The relationship between her and her father in the film was a bit weird as well. The breakfast scene between the two was rather annoying because her face seemed at a constant pout. It felt at times that she was trying too hard to walk the line between being sexy and a bad ass and sort of flip-flopped in between. Plus she gives the machete back at the end…wth was that about? Isabelle and Rowland were not anything too notable either, though Kelly was there as a female comedic relief and those are hard to cast. Brendan Fletcher certainly had a familiar face though I have yet to see him in anything else. He did have a funny delivery on a line that I think should have been rewritten but had a great death scene (spoiler!) and otherwise seemed to be the only one that knew what was going on. Which was due to his brother having been a victim of Freddy’s and having divulged little information prior. Wasn’t a fan of Ritter either, nothing seemed natural, like he was trying too hard. They did have a Jay (minus silent Bob) character who had an interesting scene with a Freddy pillar in a small nod to Alice in Wonderland. Though with a small part, I rather enjoyed Chris Marquette (as per usual) and his small quips directed to those around. Leaving us the last time Robert Englund played his most infamous character in a film, how do you not love that? Ken Kirzinger being good as Jason but nothing Derek Mears and Kane Hodder couldn’t do just the same.

What was a shame was the exterior and work put into the film that may not get taken into account upon first viewing. When Freddy tries to dig a little deeper into Jason’s past and we’re taken back to Camp Crystal Lake, the exterior for his house had impeccable detail that you couldn’t even notice if not for the special features. There are bodies all over the house as though plants and throughout the lake are heads as though stepping-stones. As well when Freddy jumps out of the water (later point) and the entire screen is red, going in slow motion; what a beautiful shot! Much like the first installment of Nightmare of Elm Street, the news station was called KRGR, for some useless trivia. =) The demon face created for England was beautifully made and was a great way to see Robert go out with the character. The fight was ridicules in a manner that fans should almost expect. Having seen the different antics that each persona has given fans through their series, we needed to see something that was equally entertaining yet crass, the direction Yu wanted the film to be seen for ultimately. Which was great in that aspect; the end sequence used 25,000 gallons of propane. So what about the ending? What does it all mean, will there be a second? I’ll probably take this one from Ronny Yu; “You can interpret anyone you want.” I will say that it is certainly something that I seem to enjoy a bit more, the more I view.