Another example of a series taking just the icon that made the original so famous and putting it in a terrible story with forgettable characters to make a simple sequel.
In my recent adventures of watching the rest of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, given I have only seen the original, I am seeing the low expectations that I held come to fruition. Thankfully, in another review that I will do, the third in the series called A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors was much better and redeemed parts of what made the original so great. Because man did that ever feel like the unofficial sequel that was needed compared to this crappy remake titled A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. You honestly could skip this flick and go straight to the third and it would all still make sense.
This is a film that acts as a shitty stand-alone with no other intention in mind other than to profit off a big old fat cash cow that the original started. Much like what happened with the classic Jaws, where producers just continue the series by placing another shark in a different setting, whilst forgetting about the most important aspect of a film: the story. I love the original Jaws, not because it stars a fucking big great white shark that’s killing people (I mean sure that’s cool), but because of the characters that are in it and how they respond to the situations that arise. Jaws is less about a shark, as say Alien is actually about the alien. You’d come to see the horror but stay because you love the story.
This is what A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge does so poorly- it’s got a terrible story.
Most of the characters in this film feel like caricatures of 80’s teenagers and seem to have no grounding in reality. I’ve hampered on about this in other review’s but how can I feel sympathetic or at least connect with any of the people on screen, if I can’t see how they are somewhat of a reflection of reality? Maybe this is because I didn’t grow up in the 80’s but everything about this movie just feels silly and ridiculous. There are dumb parties with teenagers getting drunk and with everyone making out with someone, all the while Freddy Kreuger is lingering close by. It just feels stupid. Not like things have changed so differently nowadays but it just came across very 80’s like in a very stereotypical way. Probably because hey, it was released in 1985 so go figure.
But aside from the annoying representation of characters that they’ve chosen, the film fails on its first and major goal of being actually scary. I read that the writer was trying to throw in elements of humor to the series, mixed with a lot of subtext and commentary about homophobia during that time (which I’ll get to later), but fuck me did none of it work. Nothing was scary nor funny about this film, and when those are the two main focuses of your film that you fail at, you’re in for a bad time. And I was.
Our main character, Jesse, is for whatever reason, more laughable when he’s not being scared but in a so bad it’s good kind of way. He just feels so off and disingenuous. But thankfully when he is terrified or freaking out, I can enjoy his performance more so though this enjoyment doesn’t continue on for long because it goes back to how dumb the rest of the story is.
There are several dream-like sequences that allude to a homoerotic nature, with say (and spoiler), Jesse’s gym teacher being overly close to him in his dream but then, later on, is killed in the boys’ showers by getting whipped to death by some towels and clawed later by Freddy Kreuger who’s inhabited Jesse. Then there’s the whole Jesse meeting his teacher at a gay bar, his escape from his girlfriend’s pool party to his male best friend’s house and I guess the whole aspect of Freddy Kreuger (who is also a male), being inside of Jesse as he possesses him. All of that is fine if you want to have it in your film but is it necessary so when it doesn’t produce any actual scares or laughs?
Subtle commentary in a film means that it has to be subtle and it only works best when there’s an actual parent category above it, like say a comedy or a horror film. But here we have neither because it’s not very scary and it’s not at all funny so all you’re left with is just homoerotic subtext. People don’t go to watch horror comedies to see misplaced commentary on homoerotic subtext. They’re there to be entertained by being scared.
Which is ultimately why I feel like you should skip this film, if like myself you’re going on a journey to watch the rest of the franchise because it’s pretty much just a shotty B-grade 80’s horror film. I will give it the praise that the best part of this movie is the special FX, as I’m slowly learning about this series because everything that I’ve seen about it has been great. But other than that, there’s not much else.
I’m hoping this isn’t ever going to be repeated for the rest of the franchise, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Skip it.