Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Freddy Vs. Jason

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Unanswerable questions come in many varieties. Some help shock the mind into new ways of thinking, like "If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?" Some simply point back to the foolishness of asking too many questions, such as "How many angels could fit on the head of a pin?" Others fuel heated arguments in playgrounds and dorm rooms: "Who's faster, Superman or The Flash?" "What was Achilles' name when he hid among the women?" Or: "Who would win in a fight between Jason from Friday The 13th and Freddy from A Nightmare On Elm Street?" Dusting off two franchises at once, Freddy Vs. Jason attempts to answer that last question, but from the titular psychopaths' first scene together, the grudge match proves more interesting in theory than execution. After opening with a greatest-hits montage, the film finds longtime Elm Street star Robert Englund moldering in hell, regretting that no one remembers the terror he wreaked long ago. As a corrective measure, he dispatches Jason, the terror of Crystal Lake (this time played by stuntman Ken Kirzinger), to sow terror through the Elm Street community, thus allowing Englund to return. Or something like that. Much of Freddy Vs. Jason doesn't make a lot of sense, which would be okay if it managed a few good scares or memorable sequences–or just plunged into lunacy, as veteran Hong Kong director Ronny Yu did with his previous slasher revival, Bride Of Chucky. Instead, aside from a promising scene involving a cornfield rave and the pyrotechnic potential for grain alcohol, it drags along, taking a small eternity to set up a final showdown that plays more like a bloody pro-wrestling event than the stuff of nightmares. It doesn't help that the two series don't fit together well. Even in its weaker entries, Elm Street's surrealism and Englund's gleeful malevolence outclassed the rote eliminations of the Friday series. The hockey-masked Jason looks sorely out of place on suburban streets, and the fan-fiction-level screenplay by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift doesn't even give Englund a memorable one-liner. Then again, it's hard to imagine how the film could have worked. It delivers on the promise of its title, but it would be nearly impossible for Freddy Vs. Jason to top the film that's been playing in horror fans' Fangoria-addled heads for the past two decades.