"Freddy Vs. Jason" teams up two of the biggest names in American horror for an ultra-silly death match on the grounds that it's "what the fans want". The result is a dumb, but occasionally fun, attempt to squeeze some fresh blood out of two of horror's longest-running franchises ("Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th").
The plot's little more than a device to get the two guys onscreen at the same time. Trapped in hell, Freddy Krueger decides to scare his way back into the dreams of the Elm Street kids by dispatching a newly resurrected Jason Voorhees to do some killing.
As the bodies pile up, the legend of Freddy Krueger starts all over again, letting the razor-clawed dream demon sneak his way back into the sleep of Elm Street's latest batch of teens (including Monica Keena from Dawson's Creek, Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland, and American soap star Jason Ritter).
Judging by the attributes of the female cast (in particular Keena, a woman with a bosom that would make Isaac Newton question a few things), and the amount of bare flesh on display, it's pretty obvious which demographic the movie is aiming for.
Thank heavens, then, for director Ronny Yu, who piles on as much wisecracking humour as arterial spray, occasionally combining the two for some laugh-till-you-barf scenes of decapitation, finger chopping, and death-by-collapsible bed. "Freddy Vs. Jason" may not have the morbid hilarity of "Jason X" or "Final Destination 2", but it's not the complete nightmare many predicted.
Aside from the novelty value of watching the big guys duke it out, the real laughs here are incidental: Kelly Rowland forced to give Jason a quick spot of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Robert Englund doing his usual wisecracking schtick ("This girl's dead on her feet!" he cries when caught indulging in a spot of necrophilia), and a final answer to that eternal question: who's the daddy?
Slim pickings indeed.
"Freddy Vs. Jason" is released in UK cinemas on 15th August 2003.