“Freddy vs. Jason” is, frankly, an excellent movie. It pits the iconic villains from the “A Nightmare On Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” franchises against each other in a way that honors the spirit of both sagas. Freddy Krueger haunts people’s dreams, Jason Voorhees slashes his way through annoying teenagers, and in the end, they butt heads. The movie isn’t complex or deep, but it knows its audience, and has a lot of fun.
Jason ultimately wins the battle between the horror icons, but his victory feels undercooked as a result of the film’s closing scene, which sees Freddy’s decapitated head wink at the audience while sporting a cheeky grin across his handsome face. This betrays the feeling that Jason took his opponent to school — which he absolutely did do, during their final showdown — and robs viewers of a satisfying conclusion.
Look, we all know that Freddy will always return from the dead, but the ending of “Freddy vs. Jason” didn’t have to make it so obvious. The wink is a cheap attempt to have it both ways, even though the movie itself, up to that point, made it clear that Jason had won a hard-fought battle, fair and square. The wink is, in the end, pretty much the only thing the movie gets wrong. What’s more, the fact that “Freddy vs. Jason” never received a sequel makes the ending even worse, as it was clearly added to tease more installments. At one point, there were plans in place to introduce Ash from the “Evil Dead” franchise into the mix, but the project never came to fruition on the screen (although the concept did inspire an excellent six-part comic book series).
Looking back, this last-minute ambiguousness wasn’t the cliffhanger it was meant to be, but rather, a sad reminder of what could’ve been if a sequel had happened. “Freddy Vs. Jason” should’ve let Jason’s victory be definitive until they knew another one was guaranteed.