When I heard this long awaited film was finally out I suspected it would squeeze the remaining life out of both licenses. It sounds like a business whore's dream of cross license cash spinning. On top of that the recent Jason X film was one of the worst I´ve ever seen. Therefore I was surprised to find that this film is highly entertaining, really satisfying and has rekindled my love of 80´s horror.
The basic premise sees Freddy take on the guise of Jason´s mum in order to convince him to rise from the grave yet again. Freddy has been forgotten and so lost his power, he needs the kids to remember him before he can resume his gory mission. The trouble is he can´t get Jason to go away quietly when he no longer needs him and the battle to see who can claim more idiot teens lives begins.
Something which was vital for this film to work was that it should capture the essence of the original films and right from the opening amalgamation of both creepy signature tunes it does. Freddy is back to his best here, they have reasserted the darkness of the character, made him genuinely scary again and retained his trademark wisecracking. A quick run through the history of his murderous legacy introduces us to the action and we are reminded of his unimaginable sickness as he cheerily tortures young girls.
Jason on the other hand is the spirit of revenge, with a hint of Norman Bates thrown in. He is obviously cast here as the less evil of the two, after all he was only 11 when the other kids bullied him and chased him to his death in Crystal Lake. He doesn´t talk, he has no motive other than to kill everyone in the immediate area, he is a very straightforward character.
Freddy sends Jason to Elm Street and the limbs begin to fly. Jason causes mayhem and before long news about Freddy begins to spread too. It turns out the adults have defeated Freddy by ensuring that he is forgotten. Freshly remembered he wastes no time in getting back to business. As he tries to claim one of his first victims after his long period of powerlessness in hell Jason steps in and steals the fatality. This doesn´t wash too well with Krueger.
The effects they are capable of today make the action seamless and frighteningly realistic looking. Some of the action sequences are really impressive. In particular the first fight between Jason and Freddy is spectacular stuff, the wrath of Jason as he hacks off arms in a frenzy of fury and the slick slashing of Freddy as he sprouts new limbs and dives around like a martial artist. I was also blown away by the Jason machete action as he cuts one guy completely in half in the hospital.
Moronic teens make up the usual gaggle of victims. They seemed to try and amalgamate every type of kid from slasher horror films of the last few years. Naturally there is a large contingent of big plastic breasted skinny dippers, a couple of cheesy tough guys, a stoner, a drunk, a smart nerdy kid, and borrowed from Scream a Dewy type cop character.
The smart nerdy kid figures it out and they decide that Jason is the lesser of two evils and so drive him to Camp Crystal Lake so that he will have home advantage against Krueger. The final showdown is spectacular and although the ending is kind of a cop out it is very well done and left me with a smile on my face.
The nod to Scream is slightly annoying, as is the mental hospital scene with all the coma kids (which reminded me of other duff modern horrors). Naturally the story line itself is a bit of a stretch but that was never the reason people watched these films in the first place. This is entertainment pure and simple and I think it succeeds in what it sets out to do.
This film is a long running argument between fans of Freddy and fans of Jason. Whichever you prefer there is something here you will enjoy. The forgettable and hopelessly derivative horror films which are still being churned out by Hollywood (eg Jeepers Creepers) borrow heavily from these two horror legends. A nostalgic trip to a time when horror was king, they just don´t make them like this anymore.