Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Pointless game changer.
When I first watched the Elm Street franchise, I distinctly remember the first two films in the series being the best. I couldn’t remember all of the details of why, but I do remember it was because the tone itself was still dark, and at least felt like a decent attempt at a horror film. The rest of the films, as I recall, felt lighter and lighter in tone as the series progressed, eventually feeling like a cartoon. It’s been a few years though, so I could be remembering wrong. What I will say is that A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 – Freddy’s Revenge does indeed continue on with the dark tone that the first film introduced. However, if this is the second-best film in the series, I am extremely worried.
Instead of an entire group working together to defeat Freddy’s evil reign, this time we are introduced to Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton), who one night gets a visit from Freddy (Robert Englund) telling him that they have a lot of work to do together, that Jesse’s got the body…and he has the brains. Where the film goes from here is a bit of a confusing mess, quite honestly. It would appear the ghost of Fred Krueger takes over Jesse’s body, transforms him into Freddy for a few minutes, and wreaks havoc against his friends and family…seemingly randomly as well. Can he find a way to stop Freddy without killing himself in the process, or will things continue to escalate until the unthinkable occurs?
Apparently for no reason whatsoever, this one changed a lot of the structure and rules that held the original in place. The primary way to escape from Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street was to stay awake…but most of this film doesn’t take place in the dream world…it takes place in real life, and paranormal haunting-like things happen instead. Inanimate objects move on their own, there are possibly other ghosts. I guess you can all explain it as when Jesse fell asleep earlier, Freddy possessed him, but that doesn’t explain the moving inanimate objects. Freddy only had special abilities in the dream. In real life, he was subject to life’s many limitations.
Let’s just say Freddy has the ability to do this because he is a, well, paranormal entity. That’s all fine and dandy, but what happened to his motives; his reasonings behind the killings? The first film had him tracking down the children of the people who killed him. The whole “Elm Street” thing referred to Nancy’s house, which housed his killing glove. It was nice to see the same house, but it’s rather disappointing to see Freddy killing people for absolutely no reason at all. Trust me, when it comes to horror films, I’m all for a game changer as long as you don’t completely change the rules of the game… and then NOT even explain why it was changed.
It is without mentioning that the best part of this film is without a doubt Robert Englund’s return as Freddy Krueger. The writing completely disregards everything that the original set in place, but Englund still maintains that level of an iconic, dark villain with an unforgettable look and haunting laugh. Had this been the first film, it may have made a lot of more sense all around, but when it is its own franchise, it kind of has an obligation to follow the rules. Krueger is a man imprisoned by the dream world, it is there that he maintains power, it is there that people fear sleeping with. It is there that makes him scary…why would you even try to change that?
As for the acting, it’s only a year later, so there is still plenty of ‘80s cheese to go around, but all of the actors are completely forgettable. Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 is a forgettable, mindless sequel that borders on disrespectful to the original film. Englund saves this from an otherwise overlooked outcome.