There are very few dream match-ups that fans have been clamoring for more that Jason Voorhees vs Michael Myers. While I’m a fan of both characters and their respective franchises, I have never been one for this pairing. While Michael Myers is pretty much the reason there is a slasher genre and Jason Voorhees is the reason there still is a slasher genre, these two characters are incredibly similar to the point that a whole “VS” movie featuring these two horror icons seems a little redundant.
But that didn’t stop a group of independent filmmakers in Australia from filming the iconic horror slashers going toe-to-toe in Michael vs Jason: Evil Emerges.
Written and directed by Luke Pedder, MvJ opens with a mask-less Jason waking up in the middle of the woods to the sound of his mother’s voice. This opening scene is actually my favorite part of the film and you can tell that great care was taken when introducing Jason Voorhees to the audience. While the Jason makeup is more than likely a mask, it’s lit and shot in a way that comes across as a improved version of the makeup seen in Jason Takes Manhattan. The look of Jason also seems to be a reference to Freddy vs Jason, as he is wearing a thick brown jacket here.
Seconds after Jason takes a stroll through the woods, we meet up with Michael Myers who has recently been taken into police custody. Naturally, he kills his way out of it in a head-scratching scene of police making Michael put on his mask. Honestly, why are people still doing this?
Eventually, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees meet face to face and immediately start to brawl, more for curiosity’s sake than anything else.
I wanted to like this film. The initial pairing of Jason and Michael sounds like a fun time. Two basically immortal slashers ripping each other to pieces for an hour and a half sounds a little exhausting, but a thirty minute fan film sounds like a winner. For a film like this to work, at only thirty minutes, it means that the filmmakers got rid of a lot of the fat that usually bogs down films like these. The story never gets more ambitious than it has to, cringey dialogue is kept to a minimum, forced sex and nudity is gone completely and goofy characters we love to roll our eyes at are largely taken out of picture.
This film really struggles to find a reason to keep going after the first encounter between Jason and Michael. Jason is the clear victor after a pretty entertaining fight that finds Michael and Jason fighting with their classic weapons, but stalls after Jason wins the fight and decides to drag Michael off into the woods to, I don’t know, torture him some more, I guess. And the film slumps along when three randos show up, brandishing guns and bad attitudes, and really bog down the last ten minutes of this film, making it seem longer, slower and much more of a chore to finish. And everything kind of culminates the way you would expect it to nowadays. I won’t spoil anything, but the ending is very noncommittal and it just leaves the viewer rolling their eyes, or at least it did for me.
It may sound like I didn’t enjoy myself at all with this film, but I have to say that the actual fights between Jason and Michael are done really well and are THE reason to watch this film. The fights aren’t over or under lit, the editing and camera work isn’t shaky and chaotic, and the fight choreography is set up in a way that makes sense for the characters. Jason (Joshua Pedder) is an OP Tank that powers his way through anything that’s caught in his path, while Michael (John Pedder) is a machine-like, thief-class that’s covered in motor oil (it’s hilarious how easily Michael can evade most of Jason’s punishment).
This may sound harsh, but this film should have been about twenty minutes shorter. It just goes on too long and kind of proves that a feature-length film of Michael Myers fighting Jason Voorhees wouldn’t work. When you have two, voiceless tanks killing each other for thirty minutes, the viewer is left wanting a bit more. Freddy vs Jason worked because while Jason is a mute juggernaut, Freddy is almost a scary version of a Merrie Melodies cartoon. This film is full of promise and potential and largely hits more highs than lows, but eventually, the whole thing turns out to be background noise. While I do love the idea of Michael Myers facing off with Jason Voorhees, it’s a better idea than it is a film.