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Freddy vs Jason

I'm guessing this one won't be a big winner when the Oscars roll around next March....

It's next to impossible to give this movie a 'straight' review and, I must confess, to having found it funny reading some of the newspapers and magazines when they've tried to do exactly that. They decry that violence, the flimsy 'plotline', the overt use of female short, they're trying too hard. I mean, just look at the movie's title - who on earth would go and see this film if they didn't know exactly what to expect before handing over their admission money? It's a horror fanboy's wet  dream and, with that audience in mind, it hits all it's bases with ease.

The plot? The kids on Elm Street aren't dreaming about Freddy Krueger anymore. In the opening sequence, Freddy himself tells us that they've figured a way to forget about him and, as a result, he finds himself unable to haunt their sleep. To remedy the fact, he enlists the help of Jason Vorhees who he orders to take his machete to Elm Street to wreak a little havoc in the hope that the killings will stir up memories of Krueger and get people talking about him, hence allowing himself back into the subconscious minds of unsuspecting teens who can start dreaming about him again. Trouble is, as any Friday 13th fan will know, once Jason starts with that big knife of his, it's very, very hard to get him to stop.

And that's about all you need to know. Once the setup is in place, the scene is set for some very inventive death scenes (courtesy of Jason), some terrible pun-filled one liners (courtesy of Freddy) as the two protagonists work their way towards the climactic battle to decide who reigns supreme as the champion slicer and dicer of young teens. Director Ronny Yu pitches the mood just about right, giving the movie a knowing sense of humour without letting it stray into the realms of parody - something the later Nightmare and Friday films themselves were all too often guilty of. Neither Freddy or Jason have been truly scary since the very early days of their own respective franchises and this movie doesn't try to make them scary in the slightest. There are a few genuine jumps and shocks to be had but don't come into this film looking for a real chill, because you'll be left disappointed. Instead 'Freddy vs Jason' harks back to the George A. Romero zombie flicks of the seventies and eighties - plenty of gore and a script that keeps the action moving along fast enough to stop anyone in the audience getting truly grossed out by what they're seeing on the screen.

A couple of standout set pieces do stick in the mind: Jason's gate crashing of an open-air rave and the final showdown are true comic/horror classics, even if the climax does suffer from one too many false endings. But it's pointless to nitpick - 'Freddy vs Jason' is mindless fayre that will please fans of both of the movie series and, whilst inferior to last year's 'Jason X' in my eyes, will certainly fill the gap in the horror schedule until 'Cabin Fever' opens in the autumn.


Sean G