As a lifelong fan of the ELM STREET franchise, I was sort of disappointed in myself for missing this one for over a decade. It was on cable on a Sunday afternoon, so I decided to watch as I felt it was long overdue. Most of my friends regard it as “great” or “awesome,” so I should really see it, right? Hmmm…
I’ve never been a fan of the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies; Jason Voorhees is, in my unpopular opinion, the most boring killer in the history of horror. Nonetheless, I found it clever how Jason was worked into the Elm Street lore for this. If you haven’t seen this yourself, it’s not really a spoiler if it’s the entire setup: Freddy disguises himself as Jason’s mom to wake Jason from his slumber so that Jason can go to Elm Street and kill teenagers. But why would Freddy tap Jason for the task? Why can’t he kill them himself? Because, as it is revealed in the movie, Freddy is too weak. And so is this movie.
The aforementioned setup draws you in, but cut to Elm Street, and the movie turns very boring very quickly, and the dumb teenagers (who I couldn’t tell right away were supposed to be teenagers– ahem, casting?) are just sitting around, smoking and drinking and annoying me because they’re annoying. The girls are alone in the house, and then some guys show up. The biggest hussy/ chain-smoking boozer takes her idiot boyfriend upstairs to have sex. This is a slasher film; Jason Voorhees is in the neighborhood; there’s a storm outside. Not really a spoiler, either, to reveal the obvious and predictable: Post-coitus, the stupid girl leaves her idiot boyfriend alone while she goes to shower, washing away the stench of her myriad sins, not the least of which is being annoying, and probably some ejaculate in her hair. Meanwhile, Jason kills her boyfriend. She discovers his body, runs screaming downstairs and outside into the rain in just a towel. Oh, holy horror clichés.
So I’ve already said that the teenagers did not look much like teenagers in the beginning, and they were smoking and drinking, so that did not help. Well, the lead actress, in particular, is completely terrible and looks at least 25 or older; she does not look or act like a believable high school student at all. And her acting is so subpar that I honestly believe she got the part for her torpedo tits alone. Oh, those tits are impressive, but even an early bloomer like myself could have big boobs in high school while still looking like a teenager. And, of course, she’s a virgin. So many clichés, I really should have made this a drinking game (But I don’t drink. I wish I did).
These kids are almost all completely unlikable. Pretty much every last one. Until we meet Mark and Will (played by Jason Ritter! No wonder he’s likable!), who both spent some time at Westin Hills (Remember that place, Freddy fans?). Here’s the problem with unlikable kids in a slasher flick: I don’t care who dies. This is called FREDDY vs. JASON, and I spent the whole movie wondering: Who am I rooting for??? At least this Will guy seems like a decent human being; now I only care about Torpedo Tits, I mean Lori, because Will cares. Crap! I really don’t care if she lives or dies! Now I have to watch her boobs bouncing around for the entire rest of the movie??? Ugh! Naturally, she dresses very modestly in the beginning when she isn’t running around chasing or being chased by bad guys. Director/Producer impression: “Wardrobe! Make sure this young lady shows ample cleavage in a low-cut top with an extra button undone before we build this thing to its climax! I can’t climax without bouncy boobs!”
The movie takes a little too long to get around to the premise suggested by the title. At first, I wondered if I had misinterpreted the title, that maybe the competition implied isn’t a fight between the two baddies, rather a mere numbers game. I’m pretty disappointed that it did not become a simple battle for body count. I really would have been happiest in the end if the last one standing was Will. Well, he survives, but not alone. Another non-spoiler because it’s really that predictable. Good old virginal Torpedo Tits lives, like there was ever any doubt or suspense there.
Freddy gets only one satisfyingly creative kill in the whole movie, and it’s not even that satisfying because the character wasn’t that annoying, and the kill wasn’t Freddy’s most creative. No Jason kill is ever satisfying because he’s just a big lumbering beast with a machete and the strength to throw people through glass or slam them into a tree. That’s all Jason has: Stab, throw, slam. And that’s why I’m not a fan.
So after some “kids” die and Freddy gains some strength, Freddy wants to stop Jason from indiscriminately killing “[his] kids” and put him back to sleep and back where he belongs. He employs the mom disguise again, but Jason resists, and an epic battle of baddies ensues. Finally! This is what the title implies! And here we go! But darn those meddling kids. We can’t just have an awesome Battle Royale between horror heavyweights. We have to deal with these dumb kids. So now it’s Freddy vs. Jason vs. Kids vs. Freddy vs. Jason.
Who was I ultimately rooting for? Duh, Freddy. Stupid kids. Stupid Jason. Bah! Boring! Freddy should’ve killed ’em all, even if Jason Ritter had to be collateral damage. He doesn’t really win in the end, but this is Freddy Krueger; Freddy always has the last laugh.
No, for what it’s worth, I didn’t hate this movie, but I surely question my friends’ ideas of “greatness” and “awe” now. I’d sit through it again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way.