No one really wins in “Freddy vs. Jason,” the showdown between horror icons Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees — except maybe the manufacturers of their trademark red-and-green striped sweater and hockey mask, which prove indestructible.
More marketing gimmick than a film with anything resembling substance or plot, “Freddy vs. Jason” combines elements of both the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” movies.
The two villains kill everyone in sight before turning their talons — er, talents — on each other.
Hong Kong-based horror director Ronny Yu (“Bride of Chucky”) fully embraces the familiar horror flick conventions and squeezes them for every possible laugh-out-loud opportunity.
The film begins with a curvaceous young woman stripping down to nothing for a late-night skinny dip, then running through the woods barefoot — so you know she’s a goner. Later, another naked girl slips in a puddle of her boyfriend’s blood after stepping out of the shower.
In that way, it’s similar to the “Scream” series, which itself was a savvy, self-aware send-up of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” movies.
If wrapping your brain around that funhouse-mirror logic doesn’t make you dizzy, then watching blood spew from Freddy and Jason’s every orifice — as well as a few new ones — surely will.
The return of two horror icons
Freddy (Robert Englund, in the role he originated in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) is in hell when the movie begins and is incapable of terrorizing children anymore.
The adults in town have drugged them to keep them from dreaming, thereby preventing them from becoming his victims.
So Freddy resurrects Jason (played here by longtime stuntman Ken Kirzinger), the machete-wielding madman from over two decades of “Friday the 13th” movies, to rekindle their fear.
But Jason gets a little carried away at a rave and massacres nearly everyone, even after he’s been doused in Everclear and set on fire. (Must have been the pounding techno music and the glow sticks that set him off.)
Freddy gets jealous and wants credit for the killings himself, which sets up the eventual, seemingly interminable smackdown.
The victims...and co-stars
Getting in their way are Lori (Monica Keena), who now lives at 1428 Elm St., the site of the original killings, and her sassy friend, Kia (Kelly Rowland). Lori’s ex-boyfriend, Will (Jason Ritter), and his buddy Mark (Brendan Fletcher), had been placed in a mental hospital (another slasher flick staple) for talking about their nightmares, but escape in hopes of stopping the killing spree.
There’s nothing scary or suspenseful here; the most shocking thing is hearing squeaky-clean Rowland of Destiny’s Child, in her film debut, repeatedly drop the F-bomb.
To paraphrase badly from “Bootylicious,” I don’t think Freddy or Jason are ready for this jelly — but horror flick geeks will eat it up with a spoon.