Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Freddy vs Ghostbusters

Everybody’s seen Ghostbusters, the smash hit horror/comedy about a group of half-cocked spook exterminators who face their ultimate test when an evil god descends on New York, so let’s not waste any time explaining that.

Back in 2004 Braxtanfilm, a teeny tiny filmmaking group that gets its stuff out there via the internet, released Freddy vs. Ghostbusters, a “movie” pitting (who else?) spectral serial killer Freddy Krueger, menace of the seminal A Nightmare on Elm Street series, against…not the Ghostbusters, but some Ghostbusters.

Neil Anderson is attacked by Freddy in his dreams and his screams wake up his lazy, jobless roommate Chuck. Neil doesn’t have long to dwell on the conundrum of what’s worse: that his roommate is too lazy to do dishes or that said lazy roommate is going out with Nancy Ashton, the blonde bombshell Neil himself pines for. His friends Ed and Eugene are coming in from New York to investigate weird goings on in Denver.

Which they do by immediately hitting a bar. No, seriously, Eugene tells Ed to stop talking to homeless people so they can grab a brew. While Neil is unloading his roommate woes onto his friends, a green poltergiest appears and terrorizes the bar. Luckily Ed’s last name is Spengler and soon they’re proton-packing the ghost into a box and doing the same to ghosts all over Denver as fake magazine covers tell us how awesome it is to be a Ghostbuster.

Finally the trio get a break from catching spooks. While Eugene indulges in some Mega Man 2, Neil and Ed come to the realization that Freddy is haunting Neil’s mattress. It comes a little too late to save Chuck, who falls asleep in Neil’s bed because it’s the only clean spot in the apartment. They burn the mattress hoping to immolate Freddy with it, but only set the ghostly killer free so he can trap Nancy in his otherworldly home and lure the Ghostbusters into a fight on his home turf. Even with Subway spokesman Jared in their corner, do they stand a chance against the scourge of Elm Street?

Calling Freddy vs. Ghostbusters a “movie” is overselling it. The only characters with any depth are Neil’s loser roommate and Freddy, who’d had his development done across a slew of movies already. All the memorable music is recycled from the “real” movie, the only new track of note being a remix of the Ghostbusters theme song that plays over the familiar mid-movie montage of the team establishing their business. And if you’re thinking the name “Neil Anderson” lends itself to a stupid Matrix joke, well, so did the people who made this movie.

Take away every reason I have for wanting to go in why don't ya.
But you know what? That’s okay. As something that clocks in at just over thirty minutes counting credits, when actually watching Freddy vs. Ghostbusters it’s hard not to see it as anything more than an entertaining bit of fluff. Unlike some movies that just go on and on reminding you of their faults, it’s had its fun before its had a chance to wear out its welcome. It’s such a light piece that even the jokes that don’t get a laugh out of you aren’t likely to get anything worse than a “meh” before you move onto the next thing. Even the Matrix joke (and believe me, after my stint at Blockbuster I’ll never, ever laugh at another Matrix joke). Not surprising considering the movie allegedly began life as nothing but a standalone action sequence.

If you heard about Freddy vs. Ghostbusters you may have also heard Braxtanfilm released a sequel a few years later. One that managed to attract a cameo from a certain foul-mouthed game critic…

Only in his dreams.
So it’s a fun movie that’s kinda short and won’t make you think, but the people who make the actual Ghostbusters movies saw fit to give it a nod in last year’s videogame. That’s a pretty hefty recommendation right there.

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