Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 31, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0. English (FHI) Subtitles. 93 minutes
The Movie
Director: Ronny Yu
Starring: Robert Englund,
Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Chris Marquette, Brendan Fletcher, Katharine Isabelle
Screenplay: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Country: USA
Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven have a lot to answer for. Between the two of them, they're probably responsible for many of us being horror fans. Either through their collaboration on Last House on the Left in the seventies or, the Friday the 13th series, Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream movies, these guys are responsible for one HELL of a lot of nightmares.

The Friday the 13th and the Nightmare on Elm Street series are the fast food franchises of the cinema. Freddy, the stand up comic of serial killers and Jason, the ultimate killing machine, destroying everything in their path are not just icons, they are horror. They are the way the horror genre is defined. The idea of a Freddy Vs Jason film first came about before the production of Friday the 13th Part VII, but seeing as how Paramount was the rights holders of Jason, and New Line Freddy, the collaboration never came off. After the disastrous flop that was Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Paramount decided that after years of being harangued by the horror hating general public for it's decision to keep this series going, it let the rights return to Sean Cunningham, who along with Robert Shaye of New Line, saw an opportunity to inject new life into the series. So came Jason Goes to Hell, with its teasing ending of Freddy's hand dragging Jason's mask down into the depths of hell. This incensed the imaginations of the fans until finally in 2003; we finally get to see the battle of the ages: Freddy Vs Jason.

Freddy (Robert Englund) hasn't been around Elm Street for a long time. All the children have forgotten he ever existed, and so with out the fear of him, he cannot return to their dreams to continue his murderous rampage. So Freddy searches Hell to look for a weapon to bring the terror back to the kids, and he finally finds the perfect candidate: Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger). Freddy revives Jason and sends him to Elm Street to kill a new batch of kids (including Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland, Brendan Fletcher and Katherine Isabelle), but when Freddy wants Jason to stop killing his children, he won't, and so the battle begins.

Freddy Vs Jason could have easily become one of those multi-character monstrosities like House of Dracula or House of Frankenstein, or even Van Helsing, that has the expectation that the viewer cares more about seeing the monsters than an actual storyline. This movie does NOT treat the fan like an idiot who will watch anything. The story to this movie is completely feasible within their respective movie universes, and all the histories of the characters (except Jason X) are paid service to. There are many horror homage's outside the franchises in the movie, which add to the enjoyment of the horror aficionado. See if you can spot some…
A spectacular 2.35:1 transfer that really shows off some incredible contrasts and lighting.
This has Dolby 2.0. DTS 5.1, and quite possibly one of the best Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtracks I have ever heard. Every flesh tear, every machete clang, every blood drop is so clear it is amazing.
Extra Features
There are special features on Freddy VS Jason on both discs.

Disc 1: The Director's Commentary – The director's commentary is with director Ronny Yu, Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger, respectively Fred Krueger and the new Jason Voorhees. This is a really animated commentary with great information and really interesting points. There is also an obvious affection for this film and horror in general.

Jump to a Death – This feature allows you to pick any death and watch it, or view one death at a time, or a random selection.

Disc 2: Deleted Scenes – These are the scenes that were edited from Freddy VS Jason. You can choose whether or not to watch these scenes with a commentary from Director Ronny Yu and Executive Producer Douglas Curtis.

The Production is a series of documentaries and text features about the making of Freddy Vs Jason and include:

Fangoria Articles. These are two articles (Freddy and Jason Go to Development Hell and Slicing Towards Completion) taken from Fangoria about the production and problems with the making of this film.

Production Featurettes: There are five of these: Genesis: Development Hell, On Location: Springwood Revisited, Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips, Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove and Make Up Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets. Their titles are fairly self explanatory and they feature interviews with all aspects of the production: Sean Cunningham, Robert Shaye, Robert Englund and many, many more. These docos are all very well produced and are extremely informative on all levels, from production to make up.

Visual Effects Featurettes: A series of effects documentaries, they include: Mommy Krueger/ Counselor Morph, Blood Drops, Dead Eyed Girl, Wall Morph, Jump Rope, Shadow Morph, Nose Job, Dead Trey Walking, Freddypillar, Pinball Jason, Jason's World and Epilogue. Those who enjoy SPFX featurettes will get a real kick out of these as they show many different parts of the special effects production for both scenes in the movie and some that were eventually dumped.

Galleries: A selection of storyboards and pre-production artwork which display some of the original ideas that the movie came from. There are storyboards from the opening, Trey's death, Grain Silo/ Boiler Room, First Battle, Freddypillar and The Dock. The production galleries feature Behind the Scenes photos, Concept Art, Freddypillar Art, Location photos and Make Up Design and Models photos. All in all a great look into the foundations of filming a movie.

Publicity and Promotion is a series of bits and pieces used to get the hype going on Freddy Vs Jason.

Pre-Fight Press Conference: Bally's Casino Las Vegas, NV. July 15th 2003. This is an amusing set-up to have Jason and Freddy promoted like boxers in a Las Vegas fight extravaganza.

Original Theatrical Trailer is just that.

TV Spots. There are 8 TV spots used to advertise Freddy Vs Jason, each running for about 30 seconds

There is a music video by Ill Nino called "How Can I Live?"

My Summer Vacation: A Visit to Camp Hackenslash is a documentary about the premiere of Freddy Vs Jason which was shown at an actual 70's styled Summer Camp on a massive outdoor screen. This documentary runs for almost 4 minutes and looks like it was great fun!!
The Verdict
Like a total geek, I completely enjoyed both this movie and the extras laden discs. If you are a fan of either franchises, or just of the staples of eighties horror, you will get plenty of pleasure from this movie.
Movie Score
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