12 Days of Friday, Day 11: Freddy vs Jason

Editor Alex Vo watches a Friday the 13th movie daily until the reboot.

by | February 12, 2009 | Comments

Day Eleven:
Freddy vs Jason

Freddy Krueger — stuck in Hell, long forgotten and thus no
longer able to infiltrate dreams — resurrects Jason in the real world. Under
disguise as Mrs. Voorhees, he sends Jason to Elm Street where he chops up a few
residents. The town is convinced that Freddy has returned, and some teenagers to
investigate who Freddy is and how town residents were able to cover him up.
Meanwhile, as Freddy re-gains the power to enter dreams, Jason goes on a killing
rampage, setting up a turf war between the two horror icons.

It’s discovered that the adults have been administering a
dream suppressant to children and teens as a means to defeat Jason. But as fear
spreads and Freddy gets strong, the heroes devise a plan to bring Jason back to
Crystal Lake, and pull Freddy into the real world, where Jason can kill him for
good. While this isn’t the goriest of the Friday the 13th movies (Jason Goes to
takes that honor), it is the bloodiest, and Freddy and Jason shed gallons
of Karo during the climatic fight at Crystal Lake. I loved this fight: it’s
well-choreographed, integrates plenty of set pieces (the dock, a cabin, a
construction), and the way Jason and Freddy use their own iconic weapons (the
clawed hand and the machete) against each other is quite genius.[rtimage]MapID=1124799&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Director Ronny Yu keeps the plot moving while maintaining a consistent tone, a
real challenge considering he was combining the pensive moodiness of Elm Street
and the simple slasher tropes of Friday the 13th, while making sure it made
sense in a real-world setting. Yu is primarily an action director and his
sensibilities work well in keeping the movie in high tension.[rtimage]MapID=1124799&MapTypeID=2&photo=8&legacy=1[/rtimage]This has become my favorite Friday the 13th
movie after The Final Chapter, and it’s no coincidence that both have compelling
characters and stories inserted between the murders. While a lot of Final
‘s fun was watching the soapy teenage comedy/drama, Freddy vs Jason is
more about getting wrapped up in its mystery plot: What are the adults covering
up? How was the town able to keep Freddy Krueger out of people’s dreams? It’s
not exactly Hitchcock, but it gives the characters more than enough to work with
as Freddy plots his next move or until Jason’s next random appearance.[rtimage]MapID=1124799&MapTypeID=2&photo=7&legacy=1[/rtimage]People have noted this feels more like a Freddy movie than
a Jason movie, but I think it’s more that screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark
Swift (who also wrote the reboot) pinpoint the strengths and weakness of each series. The Friday the 13th
movies were always about bodies stealthily piling up, with nobody realizing it
until the final act. Fun stuff, but there’s not exactly much to keep the plot
going. Freddy vs Jason is structured like an Elm Street movie: the plot flows
from murder to murder, building the tension and fear of the characters as they
scramble to find a solution. Manipulated by Freddy, Jason is essentially a sad,
misguided fool. When he gets double-crossed by Freddy and comes to
his senses, it’s the only time I have ever felt like cheering for him.[rtimage]MapID=1124799&MapTypeID=2&photo=9&legacy=1[/rtimage]Freddy vs Jason made $80 million domestically, and far be it from me to use profit as an indicator of quality, but I think it does speak
well of what this movie ultimately is: an accessible action/horror flick that
appeals to people beyond Friday the 13th and Elm Street
fans. This
was, in fact, the first Jason movie I ever saw (in theaters, on a
double bill with Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and it never lost or
alienated me as it forced these two worlds together. As a teen, this was a slick,
entertaining monster mash. Years later, it still is.


Freddy vs. Jason Vital Stats:

  • Body Count: 19. Counting only Jason’s.
  • Survivors: 2.
  • Number of
    Kruger kills:
  • Number of Jason-approved weapons: 5. Machete, pipe, steel
    door, open electricity box, Kruger’s claws.

Memories of Crystal Lake:

  • Steve Barton of Dread Central:
    “Fans waited years for this one, and again the studio in charge found some way
    to f–k it all up. No slight against Ken Kirzinger, but after years of
    anticipation he was not the one we wanted to see behind the mask. All anybody
    wanted was Robert Englund vs. Kane Hodder. Instead we got vintage Freddy versus
    a psychopathic mama’s boy who now has an irrational fear of water despite that
    fact that he’s spent most of his life in it. According to this absurd logic if
    Jason didn’t have an umbrella, everyone in Crystal Lake or Elm Street would be
    perfectly safe. What did we ever do to deserve this? Sigh.”
  • Luke Y. Thompson of LYTrules.com:
    “Okay, we’re in outright parody territory here, but the thing is that slasher
    franchises in general get the audience to root for the killer, who frequently
    offs the beautiful, promiscuous, stuck-up high school/college crowd that we
    always wanted to be a part of but never were. So the fans identify, and usually
    pick a favorite. Think how lucky we got with this — Paramount will NEVER make a
    movie called “Kirk vs. Picard.” New Line made this for fans to pick a favorite
    and cheer; I loved it, but then I also watch WrestleMania every year. I guess
    after this one, the only way forward was to reboot and get scary again, but I
    admit to some major disappointment that the studio didn’t wait to get to part 13
    first. When I was in film school, my dad used to joke that I’d make part 13, and
    my idea was for Jason to stalk the survivors of a nuclear war, finally killing
    every last human being on Earth. The remake makes 12, and I guess if only one
    more happens that sort-of counts, but I was really hoping the franchise could
    hold out.”

Tomorrow: It’s the end (and a new beginning). The
Friday the 13th

Schedule of Fridays: