Ronny Yu’s ‘Freddy vs Jason’ — Courtesy of New Line Cinema
Ronny Yu, director of Chucky’s fourth outing, 1998’s Bride of Chucky, does a remarkable job of making essentially a hybrid horror-action movie. From a story bred from two of horror’s most beloved creations, Yu’s film is energetic and highly stylized. For those who hate on the film, I can understand if you wanted an actual horror film on a strict diet of recognizable characters with a dash of fear and hint of atmosphere, but the film we get executes its intent with ease.
My children… from the very beginning, it was the children who gave me my power. – Freddy Krueger
The first thing you’ll likely notice is the film’s brisk pace. It’s not chaotically edited but shots moves with speed and accuracy while editing feels fresh and still contemporary. Even if one complains about the editing, it will likely be a long gone scene with its quick pacing, adrift in the space in which Freddy vs Jason exists. Which brings me to the actual celluloid-stamped shots in the film.
Freddy vs Jason, the combined 18th entry in both A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises, is without a doubt one of the sharpest films in either series in terms of direction. Well-disciplined camera movement, shot composition and cinematic language hit the screen like three old folks fighting for a pudding cup in a rundown rest home.
Honestly, I was floored by Yu’s direction, who had been a virgin to both series (which in many ways helped him bring a fresh eye to old properties). I could attempted to name every shot that tickled my cinematic fancy but it’ll read like a horror bible. Ready for your creepy communion Horror Heads?
It reminds me when I reviewed Renny Harlin’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and how strikingly shot that film is. Both film’s cameras move effortlessly and make filmmaking feel alive while giving the shots a weighted sense of substance. Just when you think the disciplined direction is over, you get a jolt of electricity from that image stealing mechanism.
While the film is flawed, there’s much to admire in Freddy vs Jason thanks to Mr. Yu and his keen cinematic eye. (B+)
Ronny Yu’s Freddy vs Jason is far better than most give it credit for being. It’s a film that’s aging well, with time giving it the space to breath and be fully realized. While nowhere near the event it should be, the long-awaited gore gimmick is a solidly directed thrill-ride. Featuring a focused script with slight narrative roadblocks, there are far worse horror sequels. I recommend it to everyone, hardcore genre fans and the casual vacationer to Springwood alike. See you in sleepland next time Dreamers.
THE GRADE: C+
Join me next week for another edition of Franchise Friday and a closer look at Samuel Bayer’s 2010 remake of Wes Craven’s classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street.