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New Line Home Cinema presents
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

"Being dead wasn't a problem. But being forgotten—now, that's a bitch!"
- Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund)

Review By: Brian Calhoun   
Published: January 12, 2004

Stars: Robert England, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter
Other Stars: Christopher George Marquette, Lochlyn Munro
Director: Ronny Yu

Manufacturer: Laser Pacific Media Corporation
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong horror violence/gore, gruesome images, sexuality, drug use and language
Run Time: 01h:37m:11s
Release Date: January 13, 2004
UPC: 794043683121
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D DAA A-

DVD Review

Every time I see a movie as awful as Freddy Vs. Jason, I cannot help but think, "How on earth did a lousy project like this receive the green light?" The answer is always the same—these films make loads of money. For whatever reason, moviegoers consistently flock in droves to see lifeless imbeciles get hacked to pieces. It never matters to the audience what the killers' motivations may be, just as long as the body count is high. Unfortunately, I guess I am now somewhat guilty of feeding this machine as well. I should have known better than to subject myself to yet another Jason Voorhees picture after reviewing the dreadful Jason X, but—for whatever reason—the notion of pitting two iconic slashers against one another did spark my curiosity ever so slightly. What a sucker I am.

I suppose one good thing about Freddy Vs. Jason is that it has resulted in only one bad movie instead of two, as it takes the lead characters from two of the most worn out franchises in cinema history and places them into a single bad film. Freddy Krueger, the dream-stealing child murderer from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films, has been out of commission for quite some time due to the fact that his potential victims have stopped living in fear of him (and I thought it was simply due to declining box office returns). As Freddy passes time in hell, he gets the bright idea to elicit the help of Jason Voorhees, the machete-wielding maniac from the Friday the 13th films. Jason's insatiable bloodlust once again instills fear back into the children of Elm Street, therefore increasing Freddy's power to invade their nightmares. Yet, Freddy's plan goes sour when Jason refuses to share the victims with Freddy. What's a serial killer to do? This dilemma results in a gruesome showdown between the two psychopaths.

For audience members who may have trouble understanding this story, there are times where Freddy narrates to the camera to fill us in on the plot. For anyone who still does not have the brains to follow along, or just doesn't care, this DVD actually contains a feature called Jump to a Death, which allows the viewer to immediately access any of the innumerable death scenes. This Cliff's Notes version may actually be the preferred viewing method, as the plot is entirely irrelevant. It got me to wondering, "Why even bother turning this into a feature-length film?" It would have saved a whole lot of time and money if they had trimmed it down to 20 minutes of death scenes. After all, is that not all the audience cares about? The rest is nothing but worthless characters, horrible acting, and dreadful dialogue. Combine these elements with the plethora of money shots, and all we have is pornography for gore fiends.

There are no genuine scares in Freddy Vs. Jason, only a few lame attempts courtesy of loud thunderclaps and people jumping out of doorways. The most profound dialogue in the script comes from lines such as "You're a f**kin' lunatic, you know that?!" "I know you are, but what am I?!", and emotional highpoints like "This is SO messed up!" My extremely low expectations for this movie were that it would be so awful that it was funny. Unfortunately, it was so awful that it offered nothing but 100 minutes of sheer agony. Even the heavily hyped battle between Freddy and Jason is a complete waste of time. Anyone who knows anything about the horror genre should know that both Freddy and Jason can never die, so it certainly does not matter who wins. When all is said and done, what exactly is the point? There is none, except a shameless attempt to satisfy bloodthirsty filmgoers.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: If Freddy Vs. Jason has an attribute, it lies within this image transfer. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is gorgeous, appearing smooth and detailed throughout. Video noise and transfer related deficiencies are minimal, resulting in a remarkable film-like image. Both color and contrast are wonderfully balanced, and solid black level adds to the stunning depth of the visuals. While the image is wondrous to look at, it cannot come close to making Freddy Vs. Jason a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Also included is a 1.33:1 pan & scan version, which is more butchered than a Jason Voorhees victim.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Complementing the impressive image transfer is the Dolby Digital EX soundtrack. Optimized for home theater, this is an extremely aggressive soundtrack packed with a wide dynamic range. Bass is deep and powerful yet smooth and natural. The surrounds are remarkably effective, particularly the rear surround channel. I frequently find that EX tracks do not fully utilize the back surround channel, but Freddy Vs. Jason is a wonderful exception. The rear surround presence proves quite active throughout, adding considerably to the spaciousness of the soundtrack. Even during the height of extreme carnage, the cheesy dialogue is always clear and intelligible. If it had been created for a better film, this would be a demo worthy soundtrack.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Butterfly Effect, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
8 TV Spots/Teasers
19 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
Screenplay
19 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Ronny Yu, Robert Englund, and Ken Kirzinger
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray Double
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Jump To a Death
  2. Music Video
  3. Fangoria Magazine Articles
Extras Review: The extensive collection of special features begins on Disc One with a feature-length commentary by director Ronny Yu, as well as actors Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger. The commentary is nearly as absurd as the film itself, proving to be neither entertaining nor enlightening. The fact that the trio attempt to be jovial and witty makes it all the more annoying. Not only is their dialogue boring, but also appalling, as they actually have the audacity to compare various shots in Freddy Vs. Jason to the works of such masters as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Also on Disc One is the obligatory Jump to a Death feature. Here, the viewer can immediately access any dismembering with the click of a button. The mere fact that this feature is offered speaks volumes for the integrity of the film.

Moving over to Disc Two, we begin with a section of deleted and alternate scenes. This is a classy presentation, with all of the clips given anamorphic widescreen transfers that appear as impressive as the film transfer on Disc One. We are also offered three audio selections: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo Surround 2.0, and an optional commentary track with Ronny Yu and executive producer Douglas Curtis. The viewer has the option to play all of the 20 scenes consecutively, or choose individually from a list. Though 20 scenes may sound quite extensive, the total running time only adds up to just over 15 minutes. Included in these excised scenes is the original opening, as well as an alternate ending. While several of these scenes may have been worthwhile additions to the finished film, I seriously doubt that their inclusion could have made it a better movie.

The first featurette under the Production section presents the text from a two part Fangoria magazine article that followed the script development for Freddy Vs. Jason. Presented along with the text are still images of the pages as they appeared in the magazine. This is a lengthy and interesting read; I was flabbergasted to discover that a team of 18 writers conceived as many as 10 different scripts before a final screenplay was chosen.

Next, is a collection of five production featurettes. Genesis: Development Hell focuses on the laborious screenwriting process, On Location: Springwood Revisited covers principle photography, Art Direction: Jason's Decorating Tips looks at set design, while Stunts: When Push Comes to Shove and Makeup Effects: Freddy's Beauty Secrets speak for themselves. Aside from the witty titles, I found little of value within these brief featurettes.

Much more interesting than the previous are the visual effects featurettes. As with the deleted scenes, we have the option to "play all" or choose from a list of 12 individual sections. The visual effects team guides us through the many effects sequences in the film, offering visual clips of their creations along with verbal explanations as to the motivations behind conceiving them. While each section is fairly short, the total running time for all 12 featurettes is a generous 35 minutes.

We finish the Production section with an impressive artwork gallery. Included are six storyboard sections as well as five production galleries, the latter offering a wealth of behind-the-scenes photos, conceptual artwork, location designs, makeup tests, models, and much more.

The next main section is Promotion, which begins with footage taken from a publicity stint in Las Vegas, where horror fans gathered at Bally's Casino to watch Freddy and Jason talk smack to one another. While silly and somewhat fun, this is essentially a waste of time.

The original theatrical trailer is an impressive presentation, boasting a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Also included are eight TV spots.

Next, is a music video for How Can I Live, by Ill Niño. I found this to be a decent video for a song that deserves better than this film.

Ironic for a horror film, the final featurette is the most frightening aspect of this two-disc set. Here, we see candid footage from a recent all day get-together staged at a 1970s-era summer camp in Texas, which concluded with an outdoor screening of Freddy Vs. Jason. For anyone who has a desire to watch horror film geeks parade around summer camp, this featurette is for you.

Also included is a DVD-ROM option, which offers a script to screen feature, an editing workshop, web-based material, and more. Though I did not have the ability to access these features, they appear to be an impressive collection of extras.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

For those who are fans of the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, I hate to offend you, but Freddy Vs. Jason is a terrible movie. Nevertheless, while I found absolutely no redeeming qualities in it, fans of these one-dimensional characters most likely will enjoy watching the two of them duke it out. Everyone else, watch at your own risk.

 


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