Freddy vs Jason

Freddy vs Jason (2003)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Robert Englund
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Trailers, TV Spots, Music Video, and more

In a sense you would think both horror franchises had run their course, but both, the "Friday The 13th" "Nightmare On Elm Street" series are now coming back with a vengeance. As was hinted at in 1993 in "Jason Goes To Hell" the film answers the question that countless horror fans asked themselves – what would happen when Freddy meets Jason? The result I have to admit is much more exciting and fascinating that I had ever expected. In fact, I would say, "Freddy vs. Jason" is an inspired horror movie that brings back the real guts and glory of both franchises.

Years have passed since the events on Elm Street and time has pretty much forgotten boogeyman Freddy Krueger. Powerlessly roasting in Hell as a result, Freddy is not too happy about that and tries to find a way to make teenagers remember him, as only through their fears can he enter their dreams and slash them to bits. Eventually he finds the right tool in Jason Vorhees, who is also roasting in Hell until his next resurrection. Impersonating Jason’s mother, he sends Jason on a mission to Elm Street to maul the children and spread fear among them. Fear of Freddy, or as he puts it – "He gets the blood, but I’ll get the glory!"
The plan works perfectly and soon everyone in Springwood is once again in fear of Freddy Krueger. The only problem is, Jason is still on the loose, and he has no plans to stop slaughtering everyone in his way. Will Freddy be able to finish what he started or will it finish him?

From the opening, "Freddy vs. Jason" evokes images and memories of the original "Nightmare On Elm Street" series and remains that way throughout. While I see all the Elm Street references, for fans of the Friday The 13th series it will work equally well, nicely syncopating elements from that franchise. As a result the film nicely caters to both camps and while Freddy seems to be in the spotlight more, neither character is truly preferenced.

Robert Englund is putting on his best Freddy-mannerisms and though he mocks himself at times – "How sweet, dark meat" is clearly a reference to his words "How sweet, fresh meat" in "Nightmare on Elm Street 4" – he is never coming across as ridiculous. All in all I was very pleasantly surprised how director Ronny Yu managed to maintain the quintessence of both franchises without dating them. The story plays clearly in the present, yet it never feels like one of those moronic new-age teenage horror flicks we’ve seen way too many of. The atmosphere and flair of the film is very true to the originals, making it as memorable as any installment in both series.

Director Ronny Yu once again shows that he is not only an excellent director but also someone who is intimately familiar with what makes horror films work. Never toning down the movie, he is on other hands also never overtly blatant, and his direction is extremely effective, creating a fascinating tapestry of images putting both horror icons in their best light in many years.
The movie’s camerawork is also incredibly well done creating a sinister world of twilight in which death may lurk behind every corner.

New Line has given "Freddy vs. Jason" the star treatment it deserves on this 2-disc Platinum Edition. The DVD contains the movie in an <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> presentation, as well as a cropped <$PS,fullscreen> version. Absolutely free of any speckles or defects, the image is absolutely pristine throughout. It reveals an incredible level of detail and richness that is wonderful to behold. Colors are rich and vivid, bringing out the best of the magnificent cinematography, and black levels are solid, rendering an image with good visual depth and solid shadows. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression is absolutely flawless. In a word – this is a reference-quality transfer.

Equally impressive is the audio presentation in <$DD,Dolby Digital> EX that New Line is serving up here. Extremely aggressive and dynamic, this track is a wonderful showcase of how a well-produced audio track can vastly enhance the experience of a horror movie. Subtle at times, deafeningly aggressive at others, the filmmakers play all their trumps in this film, making sure, "Freddy vs. Jason" is as memorable as everyone wanted it to be. A very good Dolby Stereo track is also included on the disc.

The DVD also contains a <$commentary,commentary track> with Robert Englund, Ronny Yu and Jason-actor Ken Kirzinger. It is an engaging track that is sometimes funny, sometimes entertaining and always very insightful. Covering production aspects as well as the characters you will walk away from this track with the feeling that you have had the privilege of being included into a very personal conversation of the three, as if they were reviewing the film before its final release. Very cool, indeed!

In terms of extras, the disc isn’t going easy on you either. There’s a "Jump To A Death" feature which hallows you to directly jump to the death scenes in the film.

20 Deleted scenes are included on the DVD with optional commentary – including the original ending which was fortunately excised. They are presented in <$PS,widescreen> and are <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets as well. The scenes are fun to watch, especially hearing Ronny Yu’s arguments why he removed them from the actual film.

In the "Production" section of the disc you will find reprints of the original Fangoria articles on the development of the film. As fans know, "Freddy vs. Jason" was a problem-ridden project all along. Countless scripts were written and discarded and the project was stuck in Development Hell for many years to that point that it was hard to believe it would actually result in a movie – let away a good one.

Also included are five featurettes which give you a look at the production and the events surrounding the film. Full of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, these featurettes are top notch once again and certainly not your off-the-mill promo press kits. Everyone is very candid, making these featurettes exciting and insightful.

12 featurettes on the Special Effects in the film are also included on the DVD, giving you a nice look at how some of the movie’s coolest effects were achieved. Once again they are well put together and very informative.

In another section you will find promo materials, such as a clip from a press conference at Ballys Casino in Las Vegas. It is made up like a pre-fight press conference for boxers and make for great entertainment.

Also included in this section are trailers, TV Spots and Music Video as well as a featurette from the premiere of the movie.

I think, "Freddy vs. Jason" is the film fans wanted to see. It has a great premise that is plausible and true to both characters and it treats both franchises with the respect they deserve. The film has been put together very carefully and is quite effective. It is great to see that New Line took the time and expenses to make sure this film is a true horror highlight rather than simply trying to cash in on the popularity of its characters, Bringing in Ronny Yu was a stroke of genius, hands down. For fans of either series, "Freddy vs. Jason" is a must-own DVD to add to their collection.