Home > A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge - 6 > A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – 6

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – 6

Director – Jack Sholder

Cast – Robert Englund, Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Marshall Bell, Sydney Walsh, Melinda O. Fee, Tom McFadden

Release Year – 1985

Reviewed by John of the Dead

In 1985 Wes Craven gave us one of the most iconic and recognized horror films of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street. He did not want the film to spawn a sequel and originally wrote the film to have a happy ending, but we all know that nothing in horror (or Hollywood in general) ever stays dead. Less than a year later the sequel was released, and much to everyone’s surprise it out-grossed the superior original film – informing New Line and its producers that they had a franchise on their hands. Money does not equate to quality though and while this pales in comparison to Craven’s masterpiece I found A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 to be a fun sophomore sequel that aided greatly in propelling Freddy to the masses.

Five years have passed since the death of Freddy Krueger, and a new family, the Walshes, have moved into the former home of Nancy Thompson. Soon after their arrival the son, Jesse, begins suffering extreme nightmares that eventually consume him, as Freddy Krueger uses his body to do his bidding and bring him in to the waking world.

David Chaskin’s story gives us a new look at Freddy and also comes with elements that make the film stand out. For one, this is the first film to bring Freddy into our world, which is an idea that Wes Craven was very much against. The other element that makes this stand out above the rest of the franchise is its homoerotic subtext. Over time viewers took notice to the homosexual undertones and in Never Sleep Again: The elm Street Legacy, Chaskin admitted the themes were intentional, but that the cast and crew were oblivious to it at the time. Don’t get me wrong. The film is not an 87 minute drag show, (check out Hellbent if you want a “gay” horror film), and if you don’t pay enough attention you won’t notice the undertones. Anyway, like most sequels it takes off right away and we see Freddy Krueger within the first 5 minutes. 10 minutes later he’s back with live gore, giving us a glimpse of what is to come. Chaskin does a good job of pacing Freddy’s appearances, giving us a little action here and there at just the right time. I first saw this film years ago and my only gripe was that there was not enough Freddy Krueger, but after another viewing I can say that because the Freddy scenes are worthwhile I was not left feeling a empty like I was back then. In the 87 minutes of runtime we only see Freddy for 13 of them, but you would never notice without doing your own investigating. Chaskin’s idea to have Freddy live through Jesse will mostl likely be a hit or miss idea for most viewers, and for me I found it mostly a hit. I personally prefer to see Freddy do his dirty work himself, but this added another element to his character and I will look for the positives in that. Chaskin’s horror, even with minimal Freddy, was engaging and pretty satisfying. There are times when it was pretty silly though, like a maniacal parakeet and demon rottweilers, but overall the horror was enjoyable. The nightmares are expanded, the kills are brutal (including one of the franchises most epic deaths), and with Freddy making his way into our world we see him lay waste to groups of victims instead of only individuals.

With Alone in the Dark being one of the better early 80s horror films, director Jack Sholder was tapped to direct this sequel, and he did a pretty good job. He hooks you early on by making the most of the film’s lesser/sillier scenes, and does the same with the film’s best scenes as well. We see great live-action effects used and plenty of gore to go along, although I will admit the demon dogs were laughable. However, I laughed in a good way. Freddy is his usually awesome self and I am glad to see that Robert Englund returned after producer Bob Shaye initially tried to have an inexperienced “extra” portray Freddy, and with horrible results (watch Never Sleep Again). With only 13 minutes of Freddy it takes good writing and equally good direction to keep the viewer engaged in what is going on, and both Chaskin and Sholder managed to do just that. This is not the best film in the series, nor is it the second best, but it IS the film that opened the door for the franchise and let the world know that New Line had something special with Freddy Kreuger.

Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is far from the masterpiece that is its predecessor, but was good enough to propel the series to become what it is today. The story will be considered by many to be mostly uneventful, but the Freddy action is good and paced at just the right times to keep you enthused.  Throw in Sholder’s great direction and you have a combo that satisfies despite its flaws.

Rating: 6/10

  1. July 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Hi John, I watched the series over again a couple of years back and would probably give this one a 6 as well. Freddy running around at a pool party was just a bit to much for me to take 😉
    Have you heard the Now Playing Podcast review of this series? There is some fun stuff in there: http://nowplayingpodcast.com/

    Was unaware of ‘Never Sleep Again’ so thanks for the tip – will be checking that out this weekend. All the best & keep up the entertaining blog.

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:54 am

      I HIGHLY recommend Never Sleep Again. It is actually on Netflix right now too so if you have that you should get to it! I want to say that this is my least favorite of the series but I need to watch parts 5 and 6 again to be sure. I have never heard of nowplayingpodcast but I’m navigating through their website right now. Thanks!

  2. July 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I grew up watching Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and I honestly don’t remember the second one. The first and fourth one are my favorites. The fourth one, called The Dream Master, has the most interesting storyline and set of characters. I like that Nancy is back as the only person who believes the children about Freddy. I found myself rooting for them but also wanting to see some good kills, so it made for a complex viewing experience!

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