Wait? Who does he want revenge on? None of the original cast are in this movie…
Stupid names aside Nightmare 2 opens with a bang….Jesse is on the school bus with 2 girls who are giggling & laughing about him. The bus begins to speed up bypassing several stops before taking a bumpy detour across the desert. Jesse & the 2 girls are naturally terrified especially when the ground collapses under the bus leaving it perched precariously over a huge pit…and then they see the driver is Freddy Kruger.
The next scene is one that raised a smile as we see a little girl eating breakfast with her mother, a loud & drawn out scream is heard above them & neither react except for the girl saying “Mommy, why can’t Jesse wake up like normal people?”
It’s well-delivered & instantly makes it clear that Jesse has been suffering from these dreams for a while now.
This house used to be Nancy’s Thompsons house & it has a real heat issue with Jesse’s room particular suffering the worst of it. This strange heat (Jesse’s father can’t get to the bottom of it) is also being blamed on Jesse’s nightmares.
Jesse, being a teenager, is constantly at loggerheads with his father (played by the legendary Clu Gulager) too. At school he is tormented by the sadistic Coach Snider who punishes him after he gets into a fight with another boy, Grady, the two eventually becoming friends.
Jesse’s crush Lisa comes over one night & while tidying his room the discover Nancy’s diary which has details of her dreams. Jesse recognises her descriptions of Freddy….
More & more crazy stuff happens around the house relating to the heat culminating in the pet bird going nuts & then exploding into a ball of fire. Jesse gets the blame for this. He used a fire-cracker or cherry bomb according to his father.
At the same time Jesse’s dreams become more & more intense resulting in Freddy talking directly to him & making it clear that he wants Jesse to be his human vessel…he wants Jesse to kill for him. You see, through Jesse’s terror he can grow stronger & eventually be re-born.
It’s all a bit strange but made all the more strange when the homo-sexual subtext is pointed out.
By now most Nightmare on Elm Street 2 fans are aware of the many references that are littered throughout the movie. Some aren’t even that subtle such as the encounter with Coach Snider in the gay S&M leather bar. None of this really matters & it actually makes a lot more scenes make a lot more sense.
Anyway…is Nightmare 2 any good? Yes & no. It has some great ideas & even better visual effects (watch the melting room scene – it looks great). Robert Englund is at his delicious best as Freddy hasn’t quite slid into the joke character he will become. Jesse is fantastic as the torn individual wanting to protect those he loves from Freddy while trying to keep his sanity intact. I can’t praise the duo enough…
Sadly the rest of the cast just aren’t up to scratch, even Clu Gulager (a personal favourite of mine) just falls a little flat playing the dis-believing Dad.
Nightmare 2 is filled with horror movie clichés but takes a couple too far in particular the dis-believing father. This comes to a head after the bird dies & Jesse gets the blame for something he could never have done. Later after Jesse is found wandering the streets naked & brought home his father’s first question is “what drugs are you on?”
It’s just too much….
Nightmare 2 has a fair amount of gore with Freddy exposing his brain at one stage & slashing his way through many a victim which brings me to the major negative, the final 30 minutes of the movie as we see Freddy take on a more slasher villain role, killing teens at a pool party as if he was Jason from Friday the 13th. It’s so out of place that it manages to bog down what might have been a significant ending.
Another negative has to be just how repetitive the music is. The same sounds & flourishes are used over & over again with no variation. It’s effective when used right but becomes tiresome by the end.
It’s a good Nightmare on Elm Street movie & a good horror movie as well. It has some solid acting, some really good visual effects & decent gore. It loses its way near the end but has a nice final scene to keep the series ticking over.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge