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The film takes place after Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Freddy Krueger needs someone to help him regain his powers; Freddy can only kill people in their dreams if they're sufficiently afraid of him, and since the town of Springwood found a way to forget about him, he's been rendered powerless. After searching "the bowels of Hell", Krueger revives Jason Voorhees, then sends him to Springwood with the intent of frightening the town into blaming his killings on Freddy (which would give Krueger back his power).
For a brief period, this works: after hearing the name "Krueger" from a police officer, teenagers connected to Jason's first few victims spread Freddy's name around town, and soon enough, the Springwood Slasher regains his powers. When Jason ends up killing one of Krueger's intended victims, however, an enraged Freddy tries to take Jason out for good. While the supernatural serial killers battle with each other in both dreams and reality, a group of teens search for a way to stop both Freddy and Jason for good.
This film marks the end of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13 th franchises; a R Emake/continuity reboots of both series came out after this. A sequel to Freddy vs. Jason, originally planned as a film, ended up becoming the Comic Book miniseries Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash.
Despite poor reviews, Freddy vs. Jason ended up grossing more than any prior film in either franchise (and of the reboots, only Nightmare grossed more — worldwide, anyway).
Freddy vs. Jason provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Freddy and Jason's signature weapons fall under this trope.
- Attempted Rape: Gibb is molested by a raver who no doubt has other plans. His plans are ruined when Jason guts both Gibb and her molester with a pipe.
- This happens again during Lori's last nightmare; had she failed to wake up, Freddy's attempt to rape her would have been a success.
- Balls of Steel: During their final fight, Freddy kicks Jason between the legs — but Jason doesn't even flinch, and Freddy nearly breaks his foot.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: The first couple of minutes of Freddy's fight with Jason at the end of the film are spent in a cabin that's been set on fire.
- Berserk Button: Freddy uses Jason's mother to awaken him at the beginning of the film, then uses the same disguise to throw Jason off his game during their battle in the Dream World.
- Blood Bath: In Mark's nightmare, Freddy first appears lounging in a bathtub full of blood, disguised as Mark's dead brother (who committed suicide while taking a bath).
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Freddy's wink to the audience as his decapitated head is carried by Jason at the end of the film does this.
- Brought Down to Badass: Freddy is killable in the real world, but he doesn't plan on going down without a fight, and he inflicts significant damage to Jason with improvised weaponry and Jason's own machete.
- The Cameo: Robert Shaye, who was a producer on every Elm Street film (as well as Freddy vs. Jason), appears as high school principal Mr. Shaye. There is also a cameo by Oscar "Rey Mysterio" Guitierrez, according to the IMDB.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Despite being made after both films, Freddy vs. Jason ignored both Jason X and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
- Freddy bringing Jason back from Hell could be what set up the events of Jason X, the events of which began in the then-future of 2010 (which would make this film a sort of Interquel between parts 9 and 10 of the Friday the 13th franchise).
- New Nightmare is set in an alternate universe, and the villain isn't actually Freddy, it's a demon.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Freddy's powers are diminished thanks to Springwood preventing kids from learning about Freddy (and by keeping those who know of Freddy locked up at Westin Hills on anti-dream drug Hypnocil). Freddy Needs Fear Badly.
- Clean Cut
- Cliff Hanger: The final shot of the film shows Jason emerging from Crystal Lake with the decapitated head of Freddy, which is apparently alive (it winks at the audience before the credits begin to roll). Considering the nature of the shot and the characters, there's no way to know for sure who "won" the battle or if either character even lived through it.
- This would be resolved in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, but before then, this situation resulted in a Word of God conflict: director Ronny Yu said Freddy won, while writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift said Jason won.
- Corpse Land: Jason's dreamscape is one of these.
- Cool Versus Awesome
- Continuity Nod: Given the nature of the film and the characters, there's quite a few of these, but one of the best is the Hypnocil drug — Nancy took the drug in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors and recommended it to the doctors at Westin Hills.
- The film's Novelization features one to every prior film in both franchises (with the exceptions of Jason X and New Nightmare, which have no bearing on the film's story).
- Death by Sex: No film with Freddy or Jason would be complete without this trope.
- This is averted in Lori's nightmare. In an alternate ending, Lori and Will finally have sex, but when it starts gets rough, Lori realizes Will isn't who she's making love to…
- Distracted From Death: Charlie Linderman gets himself mortally wounded by attacking Jason in an attempt to keep him away from Kia. Later, he tells Kia to leave him because he'll slow her from getting help. Kia is reluctant to do so, but eventually agrees, telling him she's going to come back with help. He dies the moment she turns her back to leave.
- Evasive Fight Thread Episode: While Freddy is the mastermind behind the events of the film, Jason ends up getting the most kills of the two. The final fight between the two ends with both of them sinking to the bottom of Crystal Lake, Freddy having been decapitated and Jason having suffered a multitude of injuries at the hands of Krueger.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jason comes back to life and goes to Elm Street because he believes his mother told him to do it. When Jason figures out Freddy was his mother in disguise, he is... unhappy.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Lori saves Jason from drowning in the Dream World, he appears to pay her back later by saving her from Freddy — twice. Jason is still a raging killing machine, though, so other teens are caught in the crossfire.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Freddy provokes Jason into attacking Springwood under the assumption he can send Jason away once Voorhees' job is done. The big dog won't quit eating, though, so....
- Evil Versus Evil
- Expy: Freeburg is an expy for Kevin Smith's character Jay.
- Hilariously referenced in the Never Sleep Again documentary:
Jason Mewes: I mean, it was amazing when they offered this, and I went and I played Freeburg, and it was like, a lifelong dream come-- *needle scratch* Wait — I didn't play Freeburg! I wasn't in that movie! *walks off set*
- Eye Scream, Fingore: Freddy does these to Jason during their final fight.
- The little girl in Lori's police station nightmare has bleeding vertical slashes and gaping holes where her eyes should be.
- Forceful Kiss: During the nightmare where Lori's friends plan to sacrifice her to Freddy (because she's a virgin), Freddy — disguised as Lori's father — forcefully kisses her and sticks his tongue in her mouth. After she pushes him off, he returns to his original form and tries it again before she wakes up.
- Fragile Speedster (Freddy) vs. Mighty Glacier (Jason)
- Freddy's version of "fragile" is much tougher than the human norm, even in the real world.
- Freud Was Right: Kia decides to try this on Freddy by comparing his tiny knives to Jason's great big machete. A few seconds later, Kia meets said machete.
- Flanderization: Jason is taller and stupider than ever, though he’s back to being a mama’s boy.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When Freddy tries to kill the last survivors, Jason impales him with his own severed, claw-arm, distracting him long enough for the Final Girl to seize Jason's machete from Freddie and finish him off.
- Hope Spot: "Not my arm!"
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: This is Freddy's primary attitude with Lori during her dreams. He starts out by kissing her, then puts her in a nightgown, calls her pet names like "Princess" and ultimately attempts to rape her.
- I Love the Dead: Lori finds Freddy having his way with a camp counselor's corpse during Jason's nightmare. Possible hint to him wanting to rape her and foreshadowing of the attempt later in that dream.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A slasher movie wouldn't be one without a few of these. The most notable example in this film comes when Jason chops off Freddy's arm, then shoves it through his chest.
- Infernal Retaliation
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The comic series Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash brings Ashley J. Williams into the mix as he fights both Freddy and Jason for control of the Necronomicon following the events of Freddy vs. Jason.
- Kyle Labine (who played Freedburg) appeared as a teenage partygoer in Halloween: Resurrection; this makes him the only person to appear in films involving Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers.
- Internal Retcon: A vast majority of Springwood's local history from 1984 onwards is redacted or missing — for good reason.
- Ironic Echo: "Welcome to my world, bitch!"
- Jack the Ripoff: Jason's killings are a plan by Freddy to drive Springwood into a frenzy and make people think he's the one responsible for the deaths.
- Jiggle Show: Lori provides one of these at the end of the film.
- Kill It with Fire — or, failing that, blow 'em into the fucking water.
- Kill Steal: Freddy's plan works perfectly — until Jason stabs one of Freddy's intended victims.
"She was mine! MINE! MINE!"
- Kryptonite Factor: Freddy and Jason both show fear when it comes to the elements which originally helped to kill them (fire and water, respectively).
- Large Ham: Freddy is one of these, perhaps more than usual.
"Now it's time to put this bad dog to sleep...FOR GOOD! HAH!"
- Little Miss Badass: Lori
- Look Behind You!: Kia thinks she's getting to Freddy with her stream of Compensating for Something barbs, but in actuality, he's just watching Jason coming up behind her with his machete.
- Losing Your Head / Off with His Head: Freddy is decapitated at the end of the film. His head winks at the audience during the final shot of the film.
- Man On Fire: When Jason attacks a rave, one of the teens throws grain alcohol on him, then lights it with a torch — which results in a flaming unstoppable killing machine.
- Manipulative Bastard: Freddy assumes the form of Jason's mother in the Dream World in order to awaken Jason and send him to Springwood — all so Jason will kill teens and instill the fear of Freddy into Springwood again, which would give Freddy his power back.
- Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The film's posters and DVD covers employ this trope.
- Mirror Scare: This is used by Freddy Krueger in Mark's nightmare.
- Motif Merger
- Nigh Invulnerable: Jason is Made Of Diamond, while Freddy is Fighting a Shadow. When he's dragged into the real world, Freddy is significantly weaker, although he's still pretty good competition for Jason.
- No Sell: Until Freddy manages to take possession of Jason's machete, his attacks do nothing to Jason.
- Nonchalant Dodge: Jason dodges several propane tanks sent his way by Freddy during their final fight (before he gets hit by a couple).
- Jason doesn't dodge them, so much as they fail to hit Jason as he plods along.
- Oh Crap: Freddy has this reaction when he realizes he's been pulled into reality — and Jason is waiting for him.
- This happens again when he sees Lori about to cut his head off. Killing her mother, getting her boyfriend committed, killing her friends, and nearly raping her wasn't a good idea after all.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Freddy wants Jason to kill a few Springwood teens to reintroduce fear to the town — but when Jason wouldn't stop, Freddy demonstrates this attitude.
- Opening Monologue: Freddy gets one of these to recap his origin and purpose, and a montage of clips from the first six Nightmare movies accompanies part of it.
- Serial Killer: Freddy and Jason
- Speak of the Devil: Freddy's powers are fueled by the fear of Springwood's children, but his powers are drained until a random mention of his name (combined with Jason's killings) beget more mentions and more fear.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: "Welcome to my world, bitch!" — which is said by both Freddy and Lori at different points near the end of the film.
- Title Drop: The page-topping quote, which is from a deleted scene used only in the trailers (it was removed from the final cut due to its potential Narm factor).
- Took a Level In Badass: Lori.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Springwood's children and teenagers are unaware of Freddy and his past deeds until Jason starts killing, thanks to the adults refusing to speak his name and all records relating to Freddy having been deleted. The few people who do know of Freddy in even the vaguest manner are locked up in a psychiatric facility and drugged nightly to prevent them from dreaming.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Present: This is done to an impossible degree, even without counting various time skips in Jason's franchise. According to Sideshow Toy's action figure line, this film takes place "4 years after Freddy was killed by his daughter" — an event which, as of 1990, happened "Ten Years From Now".
- Unflinching Walk: This trope combined with the Implacable Man and Megaton Punch tropes sum up Jason's fighting style.
- Unstoppable Rage: Jason is made of this — and the last battle takes the cake.
- Unwitting Pawn: Jason is one of these in this film, the poor undead bastard.
- Versus Title
- Villainous Valor: Freddy might be the Complete Monster of the century within the slasher flick community, but even his detractors must admit it takes balls to fight something like Jason. Even after Freddy gets pulled into the real world (where he is mortal and seriously outclassed by Jason), he fights Jason anyway.
- The teens hope Jason will be this if they get Freddy to Camp Crystal Lake for the fight. They also hope if Jason wins the fight, he'll stay "home" and not bother anyone outside it. The original Friday the 13th series justifies this, as Jason is known to never leave Camp Crystal Lake unless forced to do so.
- Virgin Sacrifice: During one of Lori's dreams, Freddy makes her believe her friends wish to do this to her to lure Freddy — right before he plants a kiss on her. This is also a hint at Freddy trying to take Lori's virginity later.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Jason, of all people, comes off as one of these, especially during his Dream World battle with Freddy. Loads of fans root for Jason over Freddy; he may be a mindless supernatural killing machine, but at least he's not a child molester.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Freddy discovers Jason suffers from hydrophobia due to the way he died as a child. This leads to a Continuity Snarl when you remember Jason was completely fine around water in his series — though there is an out, as Jason's fear of water comes into play only after Freddy brings up Jason's trauma in the Dream World.
- "Why Won't You Die?" said the ghost to the zombie.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: By the time Freddy becomes powerful enough to kill people, Jason has become more trouble than he's worth to Freddy, so Freddy attempts to kill him.
- which hinted at the crossover for the first time with its final shot — Freddy's claw dragging Jason's mask down to Hell