Reviewed on March 6th, 2010
By Jigsaw (contributor) & filed in the Movie Reviews vault
"We all go a little mad sometimes"
“Three, four, better lock your door”
What a difference a year makes, the first A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the greatest horror movies ever made (making a shitload of cash) so it was inevitable that a sequel would follow. Freddy’s Revenge was rushed out, bearing little resemblance to its predecessor – but did that mean it wasn’t a good film? Don’t hold your breath, this film is rubbish.
Back in the days when there were only four television channels it was a challenge to track down horror films. Very rarely did they air on terrestrial and when they did it was always extremely late. Unfortunately Nightmare On Elm Street 2 never did and I was forced to rely on my video rental shop. Gemini (my local store) skipped on part 2 as well and it wasn’t until after I had seen parts 3 and 4 that I actually got to sit through this pap.
One year, in the early days of Sky television they had horror movie marathons (friday nights) on Sky Movies Gold. I was actually pretty excited as I was finally going to see a ‘Nightmare’ flick I hadn’t seen. Before I got to watch this I had to sit through Monkey Shines (which is a great movie by the way) which I would have enjoyed more if I wasn’t waiting for Freddy. Sometimes hype can ruin a movie but not this time, this movie is simply bad.
Set five years after the first film we are given a horrible lead in Jesse (Mark Patton). His family have recently moved to Elm Street into the Thomson’s (Nancy’s family) old house. Jesse has nightmares about Freddy Krueger who doesn’t want to kill him but use him as a host in the real world so he can kill outside the dream world. Jesse fights against Krueger which leads to a boring anticlimactic ending.
I really don’t see the point of this movie; they take all the great things about the first film and discard them for nothing. The whole dream element is all but eliminated – only used to have Jesse and Freddy on screen together which eliminates all tension from these scenes as we know that Freddy has no desire to kill Jesse.
Freddy himself appears even less here than in the original and actually has me questioning a few of the death scenes. As Freddy wants to use Jesse as a host when Freddy enters the real world to kill we the viewer see him but I assume the victims are seeing Jesse as the supernatural element only works in the dream world right. Actually this is contradicted at a pool party massacre where Freddy (in Jesse’s body) attacks the partygoers but is able to use magic to electrify and barricade the exits, it’s confusing in the sense that it’s confusing, not in the “is this a dream?” way.
Mainly this film is boring with nothing actually happening; a few people die but in the most generic way, slashed by Freddy’s glove, dull. On top of this they aren’t that many characters (only three leads, that I’ll get to later).
Now onto the most bizarre aspect of this film, homoerotic content. Everything about this film screams gay and I can’t understand what point it had. The main lead Jesse is overly effeminate and picked on at school by Grady (Robert Rusler). This is never a mean relationship and they develop an interesting friendship which appears to be more than ‘just friends’. Jesse one night wanders the streets and ends up in a gay S&M bar where he meets his gym teacher who takes him back to the school. You have to question what was going on there but before anything happens Jessie is possessed by Freddy who before killing the teacher whips his bum, in the showers, with a rope, I am not making this up this really is in the film!
Jesse strangely has a female love interest in Lisa (Kim Myers) but he shows such disinterest in her it’s hard to know why she even bothers with him. Late in the film there is an uncomfortable sex scene between the two, but before anything can happen Jessie runs away and climbs into Grady’s room to be safe!? With the supernatural element combined it seems that Freddy is representing Jesse’s gay side trying to come out but it’s hard to tell if this film is anti gay.
By having evil things happen when Jessie appears to be embracing his sexuality that to me seems like the message is homosexuality is wrong. Also the wrap up has Lisa saving Jessie from the demon within himself, very anti gay. Maybe I’m reading too much into this but it doesn’t seem very subtle.
The original Nightmare was shot on a low budget but you hardly notice – this film had a considerably larger budget and seems the cheaper of the two. This has a TV look about it which the other films in the series don’t seem to have. The music is also disappointing and the classic Nightmare theme is never used. It’s possible this is one of the reasons the atmosphere seems off but at least the sequels returned to it, no matter how bad they got they had the right tone.
Even with such a departure from the original there are some fun moments to be found. Freddy remains a scary villain with no comical dialogue in sight. The main thing to report here is this isn’t even the worst film in the franchise. This flick seems to have been forgotten in regards to the follow up film as its events are never referenced again.
To find anything redeemable from this film I like to pretend that it has nothing to do with the real Fred Krueger. This is just a deeply troubled boy who imagines himself as the known serial killer to escape from the terrible things he has done. I kid you not, watching the film in this context makes it a far more enjoyable experience. 4/10
Director Jack Sholder followed this up with The Hidden which is a sci fi film about possessing people’s bodies – sound familiar?
Wes Craven refused to work on this as he didn’t like the idea of possession for Freddy – I agree.
Brad Pitt, John Stamos and Christian Slater all auditioned for the role of Jesse.
Director: Jack Sholder
Screenplay: David Chaskin
Starring: Robert Englund, Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager
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- rippedfromthecrypt.com review » A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3: The Dream Warriors
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