FREDDY VS. JASON
Directed by Ronny Yu
Written by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift
Produced by Sean S. Cunningham
Music by Graeme Revell
Cast: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Christopher George Marquette & Lochlyn Munro
2003/98 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the New Line Platinum Series DVD
Several years ago, mass murdered Freddy Krueger was send to hell (see FREDDY'S DEAD THE FINAL NIGHTMARE since Wes Craven's NEW NIGHTMARE belongs in its own universe). Since then the kids of Elm Street don't have nightmares anymore, turning Freddy less powerful and unable to come back to the real world. As part of his plan for revenge, Freddy resurrect Camp Crystal's madman Jason Voorhess who's also in hell (see JASON GOES TO HELL since JASON X happens in the future) and send him to Elm Street to bring fear upon the kids and make them remember who he is. Soon enough Jason kills everyone, leaving little potentional victims to Freddy who now must stop the machette wielding hockey mask psycho.
After years of development in hell (pun intended), New Line finally managed to pull it out... well sort of. Certainly one of the most anticipated horror film of all time turned out to be a major disapointment for hardcore fans but still managed to make around $87 millions in North America's box office! The biggest problem was how to make the two franchise work together and have Freddy and Jason "scary" again. This film should have been made around 1994, right after JASON GOES TO HELL in which a meeting between the two horror icons was first rumoured thanks to the ending of that film, where Freddy's glove takes Jason's mask. Through the years around 10 scripts were written most of them concerning a ridiculous teen cult around Freddy Krueger who bring him back to life but thing don't turn as planned so they have to bring Jason back to life too so he can stop Krueger. David Goyer and Rob Bottin were onced attached to the project but it nothing came out of it, at one time even Clive Barker's HELLRAISER were to be involved in the film and last but not least Satan himself! With Michael DeLucas leaving New Line for Dreamworks, the project was through away... FRIDAY THE 13TH's creator Sean S. Cunningham decided to do JASON X and sets it in the future so it wouldn't mess any of the "continuity" of a possible FREDDY VS. JASON. The project got a new life when Damian Shannon and Mark Swift came out with a script, a script later fixed by David (BLADE) Goyer and it became the film we now have. While FREDDY VS. JASON could and should have been much more, it could have been worse. Shannon and Swift did their homework of bringing the two franchises together, bringing some essentials elements like Freddy is afraid of fire, the dream suppressant drug, Jason's avenging the death of his mother and that he's afraid of water and a scene remiscent of the ending of JASON TAKES MANHATTAN.
My biggest problem with the film is the teenagers. Say what you want but never in any of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or FRIDAY THE 13TH films and I mean never have they been so lifeless and one dimensional. Too much time is spend with them when what we want is to see Freddy and Jason. Now why do we have to endure another "hip" black girl and why do we have to endure a useless Jay & Silent Bob -like stoner?! My other problem is Ronny Yu's directing... the film drags too much for nothing, the pacing needed to be quicker, there's way too many cheap slow motion scenes. And why did they have to change Kane Hooder for Ken Kirzinger... I have nothing against the guy but Hooder was a better more animal Jason. I guess we could debate about this film for years to come.
Ok now, what about the DVD?! New Line gave this film a two disc Platinum Series treatment. The film is presented in a full screen version and in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very dark film, the black levels are beautifuly rendered, colors are dead on, there is no grain or edge enhancement, the reds and blues which are used to create Freddy's and Jason's world are striking making it one of the better looking disc out there! The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX track sounds great! Its loud, clear and thunderous! The channel separation is amazing, with sounds all over the place. There is also a French Dolby 2.0 Surround track which left a lot to be desired. We also have optionals English and Spanish subtitles. The film is separated in 17 chapters, comes with a reversible English/French cover, a four page booklet, animated menus and in a keep case. Disc one includes a 'Jump to Death' feature which takes you directly to the death of each specific character. There is also a commentary track with Yu, Englund and Kirzinger. This has to be one of the weakest commentary track i've ever heard. They hardly speak or give any important informations about the film and its production. If Englund wasn't there, this would be a listed as a 'Silent Track'... a shame really 'cause so much could have been said about the troubles and tribulation of the making of this "epic" flick.
Disc two features loads of extras! First there is 19 deleted and/or alternate scenes. We get an alternate beginning and ending which thankfully were left out of the film. Also in this menu you will find an easter egg in which the director and fx guys explain to us how the original ending was supposed to be... and a great one it would have been! In 'Production' we get two articles from the Fangoria magazine which give us the lowdown on how this film came to be, good stuff for those who missed it in the printed version. There is several Production Featurette like "Genesis: Development Hell' which shows us how the film came to be with the cast, producers and writers talking about it. 'On Location: Sprinwood Revisited' take us behind-the-scenes on the shooting, interviews with cast and crew, how some of the fx were done and how some scenes were rehearsed. In 'Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips' we see how the various atmosphere were created for the film along with set construction while 'Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove' is exactly what it says it is. And in 'Freddy's Beauty Secret' we see how the make up is applied on England's face.
Then there is Visual Effects featurette where we get some cool PreVIS of the fight sequence (as an easter egg) and we are taken through several scenes in the film and how the fx were created, all this narated by the fx guys. The Galleries features loads of storyboards, scenes from the film, production stills, behind-the-scenes pix, conceptual art, location stills, models and more! In 'Publicity and Promotions' there's the hilarious but dumb Pre-fight press conference that took place in Las Vegas, the nicely put together trailer, 8 tv spots, a music video for Ill Nino's "How Can I Live" which features a fuckalicious babe, 'My Summer Vacation: My Visit to Camp Hack'n'Slash' which happened at the Alamo Drafhouse in Houston Texas which has to be fandom and its best and sickest and some trailers for other New Line films like THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and more. Finally, we get some DVD ROM features like script reading with the film playing at the same time and more.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©