Now, we come to the end of a franchise. The last, dying gasps of a lumbering zombie. Now, these finally end, with incredibly unintelligent sci-fi fare, an above-average versus movie, and a formulaic reboot. On to the words!
Well…this is this. Jason X. It’s certainly a movie. Sort of. If we’re generous. Very generous. Jason X is one of the most infamous “IN SPACE” movies of all time. And I say go ahead with that premise. Try it. Jason in space? Why not? It could work, as a silly, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek “satire.” Then again, that would require intelligent filmmaking, something almost as alien to Friday the 13th as Jason himself is to space. Intelligence is not common in any Jason film, and that certainly doesn’t change here.
Jason X is monumentally stupid, but only somewhat entertaining. It’s obviously low-budget sci-fi, despite having the largest budget of any Jason X at the time. It certainly has its moments, but they’re undermined by a lack of both genuine tension and genuine laughs. The comedy is stupid, the characters are stupid, the “horror” is stupid, everything is stupid.
Jason X does not even succeed as a spoof of itself, it’s too brainless to understand the concept of parody. The film is only worth watching for two parts, this:
There. I just saved you the trouble of watching like an hour and a half of garbage. Smile!
Lazy low-rent sci-fi is almost as bad, if not worse than low-rent horror. Unfortunately, Jason X is neither of these. It’s both. Jason X is an unintelligent sci-fi “horror” film that fails on nearly all fronts, lacking any serious entertainment value, and earning a D-.
Compared to Jason Goes to Hell or Jason X, Freddy vs Jason can be seen as high art, practically an Ingmar Bergman film. However, on its own merits, it’s not great. Not terrible, not particularly bad, but not particularly good, either. It sits in a middle ground in versus movies, not as good as, say King Kong vs. Godzilla or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but not as bad as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or either AVP movie.
The fights are actually pretty awesome, and it’s clear that this is the first Jason film to have a considerable budget. Unfortunately, that budget is directly correlated to my main complaint: the film’s prevailing slickness. It’s so damn slick that criticisms just slip right off. All previous Freddy and Jason films (with the exception of Jason X and Freddy’s Dead) have an underlying grit to them, lacking in Freddy vs. Jason. It feels so slick, so HD, that it feels out of place in the horror stars’ catalogues.
However, once again, the fights are pretty awesome. Freddy’s weakness is fire (makes since), Jason’s is water (makes no sense). And so it continues. The plot is weak, just set-up for fights, its place in the canon is debatable, the characters are bland, bland, bland, and everything is unremarkable. Except for the fights. Those are pretty awesome.
Do I have some complaints? Sure. Jason’s look is weird—the eye holes are too big, Jason looks better in films where you can’t see his eyes, they replaced Kane Hodder for apparently no good reason, the Freddy segments sometimes rely too heavily on CGI, etc. But the fight scenes are awesome.
The gore is at an appropriately excessive level for both franchises, and the film is, in itself, adequate as a tribute to the legacies of both 80’s horror icons. An alright film elevated by pure awesomeness and amazingly silly fight choreography, Freddy vs. Jason is highlighted by typically spectacular work from Robert Englund, and, while not fitting precisely into the aesthetics of either the Nightmare or Friday series, is a sufficient synthesis of both styles into a formulaic, yet fun slasher, earning a C.
Possibly the worst example of how to do a reboot, while simultaneously being the best of the horror trio’s reboots. Better than Zombie’s Halloween, better than 2010’s Nightmare. Yet still terrible. Here, we have about a half-dozen Gap models whom Jason murders, then, the title card comes up. 45 minutes into the movie. Then, Jason kills another half-dozen Gap models and Danielle Panabaker from Sky High, then we have a predictable jumpscare ending. UGH.
This film is BLAND. So, so BLAND. It’s not exceptionally stupid, it’s just lazy. There are no laugh-out-loud moments, just facepalm moments. Just frustration with studio filmmaking and its lack of fresh ideas. Just a promotion of cynicism about the nature of the Hollywood reboot. There is so little to talk about here because there’s so little that happens here.
The film is an hour and 46 minutes. It feels like 6 hours 46 minutes. It’s dull, it’s boring, it’s inane, it’s tensionless, and it’s offensively formulaic, with the flattest characters to exist outside of purposeful comedic stereotypes.
Jason’s redefined here. No longer the lumbering mental patient nor the supernaturally strong, implacable, slow-moving zombie of the later Jason films, we’re left with a Voorhees bereft of much uniqueness. He kills. He simply kills, with speed and intelligence. Not that interesting, now is it?
To add insult to injury, they (poorly) recast Mrs. Voorhees in the opening title sequence. Freddy vs. Jason did it from necessity, this film does it just because.
A painful, clichéd exercise in tedium, Friday the 13th is one of Hollywood’s worst horror reboots, and earns an F.
Well, that’s over and done with. We’ve talked Freddy, we’ve talked Jason, now we’re only left with Michael Myers. But that will have to wait until October. Until then, expect to see a lot less slasher reviews. I’m not watching Saw, or Hatchet, or any other low-rent slasher franchise. Maybe I’ll talk Scream, but that series is only semi-horror.
But until next time, thanks a lot for reading my diatribes on late-period Jason Voorhees, and hopefully you’ll be back again for the next ramblings of this blog. But for now, I bid thee ado. Bye!