Freddy vs. Jason ★★★★★

“Welcome to my world, bitch!”

And so we were. Ronny Yu’s transcendent horror tour de force is a brilliant showcase in restraint - as well as a towering celebration of cinema’s two most iconic baddies. From the very first frame, we know we‘re in for something special. Who could forget Monica Keena’s Lori: our proto-feminist hero who has served as a template for recent horror masterpieces like It Follows and The Witch. The dialogue here, from a script by Damien Shannon and Mark Swift, is sharper than ever. No actor disappoints. 

There’s one shot in particular I want to talk about. The hapless town sheriff, played brilliantly here Garry Chalk, continues to cover up Freddy’s killing streak for fear of spreading terror in his city. But what is that above him? A portrait of course. A portrait of none other than George W. Bush. This is no doubt Yu’s condemnation of our nation’s then real fear, the 43rd President of the United States, but more specifically, that which we do not understand. The war in Iraq had just begun, and the country had not yet healed from the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. Yu’s acknowledgement here is not so surprising when one takes into account the horror genre’s intimate relationship with social commentary. For decades, horror directors have been the cinema’s truth tellers, from Romero with his Night of the Living Dead to many others. Without the achievements of directors like Romero and Yu, there would be no Jordan Peele or Ari Aster.

And just as we have all (rightfully) forgiven George W. Bush for his light transgressions, so too has Freddy vs Jason’s immediacy softened. But what hasn’t softened? The staggering amount of craft on display here, illustrated nowhere better than the film’s final, chilling moments. Are our demons ever really gone? Never in our dreams.

“How sweet... dark meat”