It is no secret that, as a comic book geek, I love a shared universe. Anytime a character from one franchise can interact with a character from another, I feel like I'm getting twice the bang for my buck. In 1962, King Kong battled Godzilla and two worlds were brought together. Even in the early days of Universal's monster movies it wasn't unheard of for the Wolfman to run into Frankenstein or Dracula. The modern age has been sort of slow to adopt the crossover idea despite the success of Marvel's shared universe films. Alien vs. Predator came out a year after Freddy vs. Jason but that has been about it so far.
The idea to get these two cinematic serial killers together works pretty well. Freddy finds himself powerless to scare people in the real world. His campaign against the Elm Street kids is stalled out and people just aren't having nightmares like they used to. He finds Jason lying dormant after another massacre and decides to resurrect him to shake things up on Elm Street so that Freddy's victims will start having nightmares again, letting him in. Unfortunately, Freddy doesn't count on Jason being so damn good at killing, robbing him of his own prizes. A girl named Lori gets caught in the middle and she (along with some friends who take dream-supressing drugs) work to get Freddy out into the real world so Jason can fight him.
That is sort of the clever conceit of the movie, when they fight in the dreamworld, Freddy has the upper hand and when they fight in the real world, Jason gets the edge. The back and forth of their contests is fun to watch. Freddy gets downright diabolical in figuring out Jason hates water from his drowning experience. Jason isn't really the brains of Team Jason but the kids figure out Freddy hates fire so an inferno at Camp Crystal Lake is the big end set piece of the movie.
The movie was surprisingly satisfying in that the two main characters face each other for about half the running time. If this were more budget oriented filmmaking, the fight would be the last ten minutes of the movie. Jason's lack of a personality is a bit of a hindrance but it also makes him kind of endearing up against Freddy's endless evil jabbering.
Is this a good movie? No, not really. Is it Grade-A pulpy campy fun? Pretty much. If you like seeing your monsters go at each other, check it out.