Does Ronny Yu’s Freddy vs. Jason totally drop the ball in its depiction of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund)? It’s partly a matter of subjective opinion, but the answer for me—surprisingly—is no, for the most part. Think of the manifold challenges of bringing Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) together to battle. To get their stories to meld together, in even a vaguely believable way, would require work for even a gifted writer. Nevertheless, Freddy vs. Jason keeps with the basic components of Freddy’s character while still managing to have him face off against the mighty Jason.
Along the way, we’re reminded of what makes Freddy tick. We see his weaknesses and strengths, along with key parts of his mythology. Granted, the movie doesn’t bring in Amanda Krueger (Nan Martin), Alice (Lisa Wilcox), or Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), but it does contain the bare essence of Kruegerhood. The intro reminds us just how slimy and evil the character is, as the maniac narrates his How I Met Jason On My Summer Vacation story, reminding us of his murders and his powers. It is still a ridiculous story, but this film is a bumpy, fun ride designed to pit two horror Goliaths against each other, somewhat like King Kong vs. Godzilla, only with slain teenagers dotting its landscape.
Oh yeah, this movie also stars Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland, Jason Ritter, Chris Marquette, and Lochlyn Munro.
Does Freddy vs. Jason Offer New Insight Into Krueger?
Even before Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, some thought that the Krueger well had surely been tapped bone dry. Although his story always had the potential to leave Springwood, general audiences tend to get bored with things over time. Oddly enough, this reality almost mirrors an underlying premise of both Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason. When people stop fearing Krueger, he tends to lose his strength. That’s actually why Freddy summons Jason Voorhees from Hell, and it’s somewhat clever for these stories to tie his perceived fading glory into the actual plot.
On top of that, the very premise of a showdown was hinted at the end of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), where Freddy’s gloved hand reaches out of the earth and takes Jason’s hockey mask. It was as if Freddy said, “Haha! You’re mine now, bitch!” (Freddy is so eloquent!) In this sense, the credited writers of this film, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, were indeed insightful. Also, Jason taking over for Freddy’s kills would indeed piss him off. It’s surprisingly smart for what is undoubtedly a dumb story of two movie monsters fighting.
Because Jason Voorhees is no mere show pony, Freddy vs. Jason seems to beef the Fredster up a little. That’s not to say Freddy Krueger was ever a total weakling in the series. Even when pulled from the dream world, he was hard to kill. Recall that Nancy struggled to stop him in part one. Sure, he might’ve been semi-stopped by her “mind over matter” routine, but he still managed to kill Nancy’s mom (Ronee Blakley). Also, Freddy’s daughter (Lisa Zane) had to beat the crap out of him—then totally blow him up—to supposedly end his career. That all turned out to be false advertising, of course, but Freddy never fought anyone quite as formidable as Mr. Voorhees. He would have to be like Dream Child‘s Super-Freddy times two!
Indeed, the creators of this movie were pretty wise to not make Fred look weak. While Jason is a bigger opponent, Freddy is faster and definitely tenacious. He takes beatings from Voorhees with aplomb, while dishing them out as well, both inside and outside of the dream world. He is methodical, tactical. Unless I am mistaken, Freddy vs. Jason also appears to give Freddy a somewhat larger glove. While he doesn’t get to kill many 20-somethings pretending to be teenagers, he does legitimately take out his frustrations on the hockey-masked maniac. This movie has some memorable dream sequence moments (like the stoner caterpillar), but he really only takes out Mark (Brendan Fletcher).
As fanboy-ish as this sounds, Freddy seems stronger than ever in this movie. He can take damn near any punishment, making him much like his opponent. However, one can’t say that Krueger isn’t slowed down by the end. He gets noticeably tired and roughed up, and is ultimately beheaded with his own clawed arm comically sticking through the middle of his chest. Still, you can’t keep a good madman down! As the movie ends, Freddy Krueger knowingly winks at us, assuring us he’ll live to slaughter another day.
While it’s unclear how both of these monsters survive, everyone knows they are destined to be immortal, to be brought back when the studios gather enough nerve. There’s a sense that Freddy really only dies because each movie needs to slow him down, not because he’ll finally be vanquished. Within the Krueger universe itself, all it takes is some characters who know his name and fear him. Eventually, Elm Street will run out of the dream suppressant known as Hypnocil, and they’ll have to face the bastard son of a hundred maniacs.
What are your thoughts on Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason? Let us know in the comments!