Brian J.’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was trying to wait for Scream Factory’s MASSIVE F13 boxset (hitting the streets next month) before revisiting anything in this series, but September is here and I’m tired of waiting, so I decided to treat myself to one of the entries I rarely revisit—FVJ.
I was never on board with the character-meeting thing to begin with; like, why can’t they exist in their own franchises? But at the same time, how could you not be excited for this when it came out in 2003? I know I was. Especially with Robert Englund playing Freddy. I’ll admit I’m still sore over Kane Hodder not portraying Jason here—Kane remains my favorite actor in the role, and he takes it so seriously—but, I thought then and I think now that the film is probably about as good as a big Hollywood studio could have made it (at that time, anyway), even with Ken Kirzinger’s lame rendition of Jason. The story isn’t too complex, and the cast of kill-bait is awesome in a post 90s “who’s who” kind of way, with Kelly Rowland, Monica Keena, and Katharine Isabelle rounding it out. I had crushes on all three of them after seeing this.
But it has some problems. It’s very glossy-looking and has a big budget feel; it actually suffers because of this. Freddy has fangs for some reason, and looks like a “movie monster” as opposed to a maniacal burn vicitim. Wes put Freddy in a boiler room, but director Ronny Yu puts Freddy in a movie studio dressed to look like a boiler room. It’s small things like that.
The tone is also all over the place. In one scene it’s going for gory scares, but in the next it feels like a comic book. I also hate the nu-metal in the final fight scene. I’ll take a creepy score over early 00s metal any day of the week. And what’s with the martial arts?
I won’t even get started on the CGI; this wasn’t a great time for it, and needless to say some of it (all of it) has aged terribly. So has some of the dialogue, with Freddy calling Rowland “dark meat” and Rowland calling Freddy a “faggot.”
Despite all that, I can admit that the film somehow feels like canon in the Elm Street series, which I like. Probably because of Robert Englund. He’s great, as always. Even in a suspect movie, Robert Englund playing Freddy is always watchable.
Overall...good for what it is, I guess. Still entertaining, but weak. Watched via Warner Brothers Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection Tin (1980 - 2009), personal collection.