Synopsis: Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was sent howling back to hell. But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker. And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy’s body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town.
When A Nightmare on Elm Street made a killing, horror fans shrieked for more. Soon the diabolic Freddy was resurrected with a vengeance – along with some of the most terrifying special effects ever to spatter the screen. Look for Robert Englund minus his Freddy face in the opening sequence. He’s a real scream!
eyelights: Robert Englund. its core plot.
eyesores: its unimaginativeness. its lack of scares. its corniness. its editing. its performances.
“Kill for me.”
When ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street‘ became a massive success for New Line Cinema, studio head Robert Shaye wanted more of it. He had wisely (from a business standpoint) arranged for Wes Craven to change the ending of his film so that the door could be kept open to sequels. And so Shaye arranged for a follow-up to go into production with a plan to release it within a year.
Subtitled “Freddy’s Revenge”, the picture didn’t benefit from the involvement of anyone in the original production – and nearly didn’t have Robert Englund either, when the man behind Freddy Krueger asked for a payhike. After attempting to carry on without him, however, Shaye realized his mistake and had no choice but to give Englund that which he wanted to get him back on board.
With only Englund involved, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2’ has nothing to do with Nancy Thompson aside for being set at her family’s house five years after the events of the first film. The Walshes have just moved in and Jesse is set up in Nancy’s old room. From the onset he’s having nightmares about a scarred man with a brown hat, red and green striped shirt and knifed glove.
Freddy wants to use Jesse as a vessel for his murderous sprees, and Jesse has to stop him.
Um… the picture is problematic at best.
For starters, it completely ignores the basic tenets that Craven had established for this cinematic reality and his villain:
1. Freddy Krueger only stalked his victims when they slept, in their dreams.
2. Freddy’s victims could actually be hurt -and even die– in these nightmares.
3. Freddy sought revenge on the parents of the kids of Elm Street for burning him to death many years ago.
None of these rules apply in “Freddy’s Revenge”.
Secondly, there’s a galling lack of creative vision in the picture. Whereas the original was a vehicle for Craven’s surrealistic nightmare sequences, here, most of the scenes revolve around fire; almost everything burns or explodes. And they’re not just relegated to the dreamworld, either: for instance, there’s a scene when a bird escapes its cage and has an explosive death.
“Freddy’s Revenge” is also incredibly boring. On paper, it’s well-paced and has its fair share of interesting moments, but the way that it’s delivered is as bland as soda crackers. Scenes just pop in and out, seemingly without any connecting tissue between them, and serve to drag along a story that could have been resolved early on; the clues are there, but no one‘s paying attention.
Like its characters, it’s a pretty brainless movie:
- One moment, Grady is a bully, the next he Jesse’s best friend. One moment Lisa is just a neighbour, next she’s Jesse’s girlfriend.
- What’s with the snake that was let loose in science class? How did it get there? Why aren’t there consequences to this event?
- Jesse is supposed to go swimming at Lisa’s, but his dad won’t let him. So he doesn’t call her to warn her – but she turns up at his house, like nothing’s happened. Duh.
- Even after (conveniently) finding Nancy’s diary, which described the events of the previous film, Jesse doesn’t clue in to what’s happening to him.
- When the bird explodes, Mr. Walsh is sure that it’s Jesse’s doing – that he used a firecracker. Seriously?
- What about Coach Schneider taking Jesse to the school gym in the middle of the night – in his bondage gear. Um… really?
- After the Coach’s murder, Jesse is found wandering the streets naked. There’s no blood on him and no one makes a connection with this gruesome death. And no one’s worries about Jesse, aside for dad, who thinks Jesse’s on drugs.
And so forth and so on (yes, it gets worse!).
It’s also extremely corny. In particular, the Walsh family dynamics are something out of a bad sitcom, which really doesn’t add to the picture’s credibility. Then there are scenes like Jesse’s stomach-churning dance sequence in his bedroom – which was intended to emulate the one in ‘Risky Business’, but is incredibly embarrassing to watch. It desperately tries to amuse but lacks class.
The third act is a horrible mess. It not only sets up situations and kills that don’t make any sense whatsoever but it even reveals Freddy to a group of partygoers. If only it had been a set up for a mass slaughter… but, alas, not even. And then it wraps up by using Lisa’s love for Jesse to vanquish Freddy – which has got to be the stupidest Achilles’ Heel of any horror film villain.
And, once again, a $#!t ending was tacked on with no explanation for it.
‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2’ was a tense production, with Robert Shaye far too deeply involved in its making, but it still came out just short of a year after the original. Though it cost a little bit more to make, it ended up being an even greater box office success than its predecessor. This ensured that yet another sequel would be on its way, coming out a mere 15 months later.
But, despite its commercial success, “Freddy’s Revenge” is a poorly-constructed motion picture that fails in every way that the original succeeded. Robert Englund makes the most of this unimaginative material, injecting a few chills with his performance, but, otherwise, the only terrifying thing about it is just how low the bar was set; this movie was product and nothing more.
Oh, and, by the way… no, Freddy doesn’t actually get his revenge.
Yep. Massive fail.
Date of viewing: August 4, 2017