By RJ Bayley
Freddy vs. Jason was a film that had been desperately wanted by slasher connoisseurs since the 1980s.Who could blame us? Contrary to what superhero genre fans will tell you, the idea of a shared universe populated with franchise characters in their own right was invented by the horror genre. Specifically, the movies of the Universal Monsters stable, who crossed their Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein characters over with increasing frequency.
Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees have since become iconic monsters in their own right, attaining a level where they now, in cinematic terms, stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the vampiric count and Victor’s deceased jigsaw.
Just like the Universal Monster universe of old (not to be confused with the new one kickstarted with the recent Dracula Untold) however, Freddy vs. Jason is less than the sum of its parts.
The problem with Freddy vs. Jason is that it’s so rooted in the 2 most iconic slasher franchises of all time that it felt the needed to tell a slasher story involving both Freddy and Jason. Instead of a slasher movie, or a conventional horror movie at all really, the film needed to be a battle movie. By so explicitly titling and selling the film as “Freddy vs. Jason” we were completely set up for an entire film of the Elm Street eviscerator and the the Crystal Lake killer beating the unliving ectoplasm out of each other. Indeed, after so many shoddy sequels our loyalty deserved such rich reward.
Unfortunately we only get a final showdown at the end of the film. Truth be told, distanced from disappointment, the duel is actually pretty good. It’s inventive, brutal and doesn’t scrimp on the bloodletting. But it’s too little too late, because before that, we’ve got to wade through another shoddy sequel.