Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 93 mins .
MA15+ . PAL
When it comes to slasher flicks, the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series' are cult classics in the eyes of many. With Friday the 13th generating ten films and Nightmare on Elm Street seven, as well as a television series, there is no disputing the popularity of either. With the respective stars of each film being killed off several times in the past, what could the producers possibly do to warrant another film in either series? Simple, put the two villains against each other in a fight to the death. For those who have not grown up with these bad boys, here is a brief rundown on their hellraising past.
"Two killers! We’re not safe awake or asleep!"
The first Friday the 13th film hit our cinemas in 1980 and was an instant hit. It told the story of Jason Vorhees, a child who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. 11 years after his death he returns to systematically slaughter counsellors at the camp, revenge for letting him die. Driven by the voice of his psychotic mother, he kills anyone in his path. Hideously deformed, he soon starts wearing his trademark ice hockey mask and, armed with a large machete, he seeks revenge again and again.
I'm like really scared ok!
The Nightmare on Elm Street series first began in 1984. Child killer Freddy Kruger, The Springwood Slasher, is wrongly released by police and the residents of Elm Street decide to take the law into their own hands, burning him alive. Sure he is killed, but in death he has become much more powerful. Gaining power from fear, he comes to life through the dreams of the children of his killers, the more they fear him, the more they dream about him, the nightmares giving him power and life. Badly scarred and with his right hand armed with razor sharp knives on his fingers, he slashes his way through the Elm Street residents one by one.
"The only thing to fear is fear himself!"
Although there is the common bond of revenge killing for both these characters, there are many differences also. Jason is a large man armed with a machete who never talks. Freddy, on the other hand, is not only armed with razor fingers but is also armed with a razor sharp wit. He comes out with some great one liners before he kills his victims and seems to take as much pleasure from torturing them before putting them out of their misery. Jason, though, is a killing machine, there is no sneakiness or prowess, he simply kills anyone he comes into contact with. Both characters have their own style and each is as affective as the other.
With these characters being so different in style and both being such cult heroes, how are they brought together for this ultimate showdown? Of course reality should be left at the door, but fans of either series will be fully aware of that already, so onto the plot.
The chicks dig me!
Freddy Kruger has been dead for almost ten years and desperately wants to return to Elm Street to find some new victims. The townsfolk have forgotten all about him though and, without their dreams, he is powerless to return. He searches the bowels of Hell to find Jason, the killing machine that can’t be killed. He recruits Jason to go to Elm Street and start killing. The plan is that when teenagers start dying in the infamous street, the residents will start to remember Freddy and therefore start having nightmares about him, thus giving him power and bringing him back to life.
"Being dead, that wasn’t a problem, but being forgotten? Now that’s a bitch!"
Things go perfectly to plan and Jason begins killing, the residents quickly start to mention Freddy’s name and the nightmares begin. Freddy is close to getting enough power to start his own killing spree and is tormenting the “Scooby gang” into submission. He is soon powerful enough, but there is a small problem – Jason. The masked killer is taking away Freddy’s targets and Freddy is not happy about it. The only way to get rid of Jason is to have a showdown, the winner takes all.
This film may sound like a simple way of cashing in on the history of these cult figures and it certainly is, but it is great fun. Lovers of either character will be highly amused and some may even be slightly scared. Freddy has some typical one liners delivered in his unique style and Jason is more relentless than ever. The gallons of blood are ever flowing and the fight scenes are also highly amusing and border on the extreme. To see Jason being thrown around like he is in a pinball machine and to see Freddy with moves direct from a martial arts film is truly a sight to behold. Rest assured, there will be plenty of sighs from most viewers along with comments such as “are they serious?” and “oh puleeeze”, but the filmmakers obviously had their tongues firmly entrenched in their cheeks when coming up with this script.
The biggest plus to this film is that fans of both characters will be happy with their portrayal. This could have been an absolute joke of a film, but director Ronny Yu has done a fine job. The cast also do a reasonable job and many will recognise Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland as one of the gang, can anyone guess what her destiny will be in this film? All roles are really there to scream, run, bonk and die, apart from the lucky few and therefore the actors in these roles do all that is required. The real stars of this film are Jason and Freddy and these two legends of teen slasher films are great.
Many fans will now be wondering who the next pairing may be. Perhaps we could see Chucky take on Damien, or even Michael Myers from Halloween up against Pinhead from Hellraiser? There are many other well-loved horror characters, but overall the pairing of Freddy and Jason is one that works. Maybe one day we will see them join forces and fight alongside each other? These guys have already shown their staying power and their ability to attract crowds to cinemas, so why would the producers stop now?
Freddy vs. Jason is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16:9 enhanced. This transfer looks terrific, colours and black levels are wonderful. Detail is spot on and considering the majority of this film is shot at night, it is a great achievement to have such a good level of detail. Edge enhancement, grain and other nasties are all absent with only a slight amount of pixelisation being evident. Overall this is a terrific transfer that is close to reference quality.
Subtitles are supplied in English for the hearing impaired and these are also spot on.
Audio is supplied in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and this mix matches the video transfer well. Surround use is extensive, with some terrific directional effects. Dialogue is always clear and the supporting music, incorporating both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street themes, is delivered nicely. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or dropout and synch is never an issue. The sounds of gurgling blood and slashing blades are all clear and this enveloping soundtrack puts the viewer right in the thick of the action. The subwoofer receives constant action also and along with its use in sound effects, the metal based soundtrack also seeks its assistance.
The only gripe about this release is the sad fact that the Region 1 release is a two disc set loaded with extras, the Region 4 release, however, contains nothing more than the film itself and a theatrical trailer. The Region 1 release contains a complete full screen version of the film as well as the widescreen version, an additional stereo soundtrack, an audio commentary, a music video, production notes, deleted scenes, featurettes and DVD-ROM features, making the Region 4 release look rather pathetic in comparison.
Overall this is a great film for fans of this genre and, more importantly, for fans of Freddy and/or Jason. The video and audio are both very nice and deliver the film terrifically. The one disappointment with this release is the total lack of extras. It is nice to get a theatrical trailer, even one that runs for less than a minute like this one, but when our American friends get a two disc set loaded with extras then we have to second guess whether the Region 4 release is worth purchasing. This film is definitely worth renting, but the decision of purchase will be left to you, the buyer. Perhaps a two disc release is planned for future release in this country?