A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2MOVIE REVIEW
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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
A year after Freddy Krueger made his mark in horror cinema, New Line Cinema tossed out this sequel without involvement from creator Wes Craven, or any of the surviving cast from the first film, with the exception of Robert Englund. His second appearance as Freddy in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: Freddy's Revenge starts his decline from supernatural predator to king of bad puns.
Five years after Nancy defeated Freddy in the first film, the Thompson home has been purchased by the Walsh family. There's Mom and Dad (Hope Lange: DEATH WISH and Clu Gulager: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), daughter Angela (Christine Clark: CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE) and son Jesse (Mark Patton). As the new teen in town, he is mercilessly picked on by his peers, and suffering from nightmares. However, he's managed to catch the eye of the popular and well-to-do Lisa (Kim Myers: HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE), despite being a rather wimpy guy who exhibits strange behavior.
Jesse's new home is unusually hot, which adds to his sleepless nights. Several times in the movie, he wakes up in the middle of the night - wearing nothing but briefs - then goes downstairs fully clothed to get a drink (some of these scenes are nightmares, some are not). During the day, pets and appliances spontaneously combust, and one of the more ridiculous moments has Jesse's dad blaming his son for these occurrences.
Lisa discovers Nancy Thompson's diary in Jesse's room, which identifies his nighttime tormentor. But instead of jumping from one teen's dream to the next in order to kill them, Freddy's plan is to take possession of Jesse and come back to life through him. He couldn't have picked a weaker vassal. Jesse is an awkward buffoon, who screeches . . . well . . . like a high-pitched woman whenever the gore is on display. The audience has to suspend a lot of disbelief to accept that Lisa wants anything to do with him.
What director Jack Sholder (WISHMASTER 2: EVIL NEVER DIES; SUPERNOVA [uncredited]) and writer David Chaskin (THE CURSE) have put together is less a horror movie and more an educational film about puberty and sexual awakening. Jesse whines about his changing body, and his ineptitude around his girlfriend (who so clearly wants him) is virginal to an extreme. He also has some very bizarre encounters with his friend Grady (Robert Rusler: SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK), and the school fitness coach (Marshall Bell: TOTAL RECALL, STARSHIP TROOPERS, GOOD VS. EVIL [aka G VS. E [TV]) suggesting homosexuality.
In direct contrast to the other films in the series, FREDDY'S REVENGE features a male teen as the protagonist. But due to Jesse's fragile nature, Freddy easily manipulates him, leaving Lisa to save the day (not unlike Jack Nicholson's and Shelley Duvall's characters in THE SHINING). Having Freddy possess a teenager is actually a good idea, but it turns sour in this presentation.
There's nothing great about the nightmare sequences, but special effects crew Kevin Yagher (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD), Richard Albain (ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, THE FOG ), and Paul Boyington (ED WOOD) provide great gore when Freddy takes control of Jesse's body.
I give this sequel one shriek girl.
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