So the last couple of installments of the Friday series left nowhere for the series to go. I mean, what do you do after shoot Jason into Space? Theoretically, you could have devised another SF style sequel that takes place on Earth 2 (which was sorta hinted at the end of Jason X), but that’s a bit of a stretch (not that the series is beyond stretching). So they were finally able to do the crossover they teased at the end of part 9, and then they went on to reboot the series just a few months ago. Results, as always in this series, are mixed.
- Freddy vs. Jason: So New Line finally delivers on the promise shown at the end of part 9. I have no idea why it took them 10 years to do it – it certainly wasn’t because they were trying to figure out a good story, because the plot is pretty abysmal here. The film starts with Freddy explaining his current predicament. After years of successfully terrorizing the kids of Elm street, it seems the town has finally succeeded in defeating him by getting everyone to forget who he is… Apparently, Freddy gets his power from the fear of the children, and if they don’t know who he is, they can’t be scared of him and thus he can’t enter their dreams. This, of course, makes no sense in light of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, but since when do these things make sense anyway? So Freddy’s plan is to summon Jason (currently vacationing in Hell, as per the 9th movie) and send him to Elm street to instill fear in the current generation of teens. Once again, this makes no sense at all, because you’d think that the kids would be more scared of the mask wearing homicidal maniac with the machete than Freddy, but apparently Freddy can exert some sort of control on Jason and so the first kill appears to be more of a Freddy type kill than a Jason type kill (this whole sequence of events is probably just as much of a stretch as having a new Friday set on Earth 2, but I digress). The townsfolk go nuts and we’re off to the races. Again, it makes no sense, but whatever. We’re here for the boobs and the blood, and there’s actually quite a few cool things about this movie. While the film is ostensibly driven by Freddy, Jason gets the best kills by far. There’s some nifty machete-work going on, and even a folding bed gag that’ll open your eyes. Production values are high, so the film looks pretty good and the stuntwork and makeup are also great.
Remember back in part VIII when I mentioned the missed opportunities of Jason running around in New York? For whatever reason, he only focused on the two kids from earlier in the movie, and it was a real letdown – he should have been mowing down people left and right. Well, this movie gets the concept right. After a while, Freddy loses control of Jason, who just goes on a rampage, killing everyone in sight. All of our teenage heros decide to attend a rave in a cornfield and of course, Jason shows up to crash the party. After foiling an attempted rape (see, Jason’s not that bad a guy!), Jason makes his way to the rave and, like a kid in a candy story, starts hacking the crap out of everyone in sight. Someone sets him on fire, but he just plows on, setting the cornfield ablaze and slaughtering as many kids as he can.
Jason attends a rave
Later in the film comes the vaunted battle sequence between Freddy and Jason. This is pretty cool for a little while, but eventually gets somewhat boring. These are two villains who have amply demonstraited their invulnerability during the tenure of their resprective franchises, so there’s not really any stakes to the fight, which is basically just an excuse to put each character through the ringer and deal out massive amounts of damage. This can be fun, but it’s ultimately a pretty pointless exercise… like the movie as a whole. It’s got some good stuff going for it and it’s an entertaining watch, but it’s pretty bad. **
- It’s the Gifts That I Hate (robot chicken)
- Friday the 13th (2009 teaser)
- The Slasher: Jason’s Comeback (fake trailer)
- Friday the 13th (2009): After being shot into space and crossing over with another franchise, the series had nowhere to go, so they decided to start over. The film was made under the Platinum Dunes banner (a production company run by Michael Bay who have been responsible for a large number of the recent horror remakes) and was directed by Marcus Nispel (who is most famous for the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, also a PD movie.) What we get is a back-to-basics type of movie. It’s not a remake of the original Friday, but it plays out like a summary of the first 4 or so movies. You get the backstory of Jason and his mother in the first 5 minutes or so (which coveres the original Friday), you see Jason in his sack-face outfit for a while (like in part 2) before he dons his iconic mask (which happens in part 3), and you’ve got a camper who’s trying to find his sister and hooks up with the final girl (part 4). The first 15-20 minutes or so of this are good stuff. Then the movie falls back into the standard slasher formula that typifies the series. This isn’t in itself, a terrible thing for a reboot to do, but it also doesn’t make for a great movie.
There are some changes to the standard formula, I guess. Jason moves fast this time around, sometimes even running (he’s played by Derek Mears, who is a big guy and seems to do a pretty good job behind the mask). He also seems to be a bit more shrewd and intelligent in that he actually sets traps and uses bait, etc… He’s got a secret lair as well. I think my favorite thing about the movie is that it’s possible to interpret the entire story as being about Jason protecting his weed. You see, the film opens with a small group of kids who are coming to Crystal Lake to collect their secret stash of marijuana that was planted earlier in the year. They find the plants, and Jason murders them. Later in the movie, a local yokel finds the weed and attempts to sell it to one of our heroes. Soon after, Jason kills him. They never actually show him smoking up or anything, but I’m pretty sure he’s primarily just protecting his weed in this movie.
There are some decent kills, and the aforementioned trap-setting is a nice touch, but for the most part, this movie doesn’t set any new highs in the kills or gore department. The nudity department is well covered (er, uncovered? Incidentally, this may be the first time fake boobs have made it into the series, though I’m not positive about that…) though and in terms of characters you want to see die, well, there’s one of the all-time great douchebag victims in this movie. His kill perhaps leaves something to be desired, but it was a great performance (a rarity for the series). Otherwise, the production values are high and the movie looks great, even if the plot is lackluster. Oh, and by the way, the ending is breathtakingly bad. I guess I get what they were trying to do, but they just failed miserably. Ultimately, this movie did exactly what it needed to do, but it doesn’t exactly set the bar high. I’m interested in seeing what the next installment has in store for us, though I’m guessing it will just be more of the same. **1/2
Well, that about covers it for the series. I’ll probably end up doing a wrapup post or two, because I know everyone’s enjoying these posts sooo much. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to describe why I like these movies despite how horrible they are. Anyways, sorry for the lack of screenshots in this post. It turns out that most of the ones I took for Freddy vs. Jason didn’t turn out that well (or I didn’t have much to say about them) and I saw the reboot in the theater, so no screenshots there. In any case, I’m sure my wrapup posts will have plenty of screens…