A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
5 years after the original movie, a teenage boy named “Jesse” moves into Freddy’s house on Elm Street. He soon begins to have nightmares about the deceased child-killer as Freddy attempts to physically possess him…..and gain access to the real world.
This film is generally regarded as one of the worst of the Elm Street sequels. Rather unfair if you ask me. Mark Patton plays “Jesse” and I don’t think he is half as bad as some critics have made out – particularly for this genre. Robert Englund, of course, returns as the dream demon Fred Krueger and Clu Gulager (forever immortalised as the middle-aged hero Burt in “Return of the Living Dead”) makes a good cameo-like appearance as Jesse’s over-bearing father.
The reason I quite like this sequel is because the film tries to be a bit different. We don’t really have the set-piece dream sequences, which characterise the original movie and the other sequels, here – it’s more about Freddy slowly possessing the young man himself, and it’s done relatively well. I also like the fact that this is probably the last film in which Krueger is truly scary; the audience never really sees his face full-on; it’s always covered by shadows and only illuminated by glowing flames – this is quite effective at retaining the mystery surrounding our iconic anti-hero.
The musical score for this entry in the series is also different – in a good way. Gone are the creepy piano keys and haunting nursery rhymes but in are sharp razor sounds and brooding synths. In addition, there are two very well-shot set pieces in this picture (demonstrating director Jack Sholder’s talent). To begin with there is an awesome and somewhat famous sequence involving a school bus balancing on a rock with the victims being swung toward old Mr “knifes for fingers” and secondly, there is a good bloodbath scene at the pool party.
No review of this film would be complete without a reference to the alleged homosexual undertones. Now, Freddy is indeed trying to “come out” of the young man’s body and when coupled with the S&M bar incident; the shower scene in the gym and the fact that Jesse runs to stay the night at his male friend’s house when his girlfriend comes on to him; one couldn’t really say that these undertones are mis-understood…..Yet, they don’t permeate the movie as much as some people make out.
The major drawbacks are Kim Myers’s performance as Jesse’s girlfriend and the almost “Disney” ending where love conquers all….which is really rather poor for this type of film. I mean, you can’t kill Michael Myers or Jason with a dose of true love….so why should Fred Krueger be any different?
Anyhows, all in all, a good sequel which is nowhere near as bad as many claim. Of course, it’s no Casablanca…..but hey, have some perspective.
hotdog rating: 6/10