Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt
It seems New Lines Cinema has a thing for cartooning up their slasher franchise finale, may it be for a villain who they just recently acquired (As in Friday the 13th’s Jason Goes to Hell) or one who they have been raising since day one. (As in Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy’s Dead)
In Freddy’s Dead, it appears the bastard son of nightmares Freddy Krueger has the last laugh as he nearly slaughtered all children in Elm Street in their dreams. “Nearly” because he saved one nameless teenager and, for some reason, sends him over to the next city, apparently to retrieve somebody who might be of importance.
In there, the boy (nicknamed John Doe) lost his memories and wanders around in a daze with nothing but caffeine pills and a news article about an Elm street woman. He was quickly collected by the cops, thinking he is a junkie, and brought him to a local youth shelter that houses troubled teenagers, where one doctor Maggie decided to look into John’s case and help restore his memories by bringing him back to Elm Street, as a mean to also resolve her own dream-influenced issues. (AKA, "clues")
This turned out to be easier said than done as all of the adults in Elm Street completely lost their mind from losing their children and three teens from the clinic (hearing-impaired Carlos, rebel-stoner Spencer, and butt-kicking abuse-victim Tracy, also under Rebecca’s care) unknowingly tagged along, sparking Freddy’s bloodlust for teens once again the moment they stepped (or drove) into town.
As Krueger slaughters the new meat in a variety of bizarrely animated fashion (death by game sprite? Acme bed of nails? What the f**k…), it turns out he has another agenda in mind: greedy for more souls to exploit, Freddy plans to branch out his evil to the next town and start picking off the kids there one by one. How will he do it? Invade the mind of someone he could easily stowaway in. Someone New Lines added just to jump the shark: his own kid!
Now, it’s quite easy to say that this is the lowest the Nightmare franchise stepped down to, mixing Looney Toons slapstick and imagery to the cheesy charms that only the man of a horror fanatic’s dream, Freddy Krueger, can master. This in turn made Freddy’s Dead dangerously cheesy to the point it could choke Cheetos’ mascot, Chester The Cheetah, to death as the film's over-the-top execution from the lengthy dream scenes to the cartoon kills, from character clichés to sheer randomness, just seems more fitting to a bad 70s drug trip than an actual horror flick.
While I do like some of the mythos they threw in here (such as a better glimpse of Freddy's past), most of the other lore were rehashed from older Nightmare movies like the notion that it is possible to pull Freddy into the real world and that Freddy needs to jump into other people's dreams as a mean of reaching out to other victims. (we've seen him do this in Freddy's Revenge, Dream Master and Dream Child)
We also have dire new facts like Freddy having a kid and that the lone surviving teen might be said offspring. Yeah, see, the problem with that is Freddy Krueger was born in 1942 and probably in his 30s when he had said kid. Looking into this, the child would be an adult by this film's timeline, which means said teen can't be Krueger Jr. and a certain someone who kept having "these dreams" might be the real kin. Sorry for the spoilers but only a squirrel wouldn't notice this.
And then there's the "dream demons"; ancient entities that allow themselves to possess the most evil man alive to give them dream slashing abilities. Yeah, where were they when Hitler was dying? What? Was he too evil? I personally prefer Freddy's reality-bending abilities to be of an enigma as it gave the burnt maniac a reason to be feared. The dream demons, much like a lot of other new ideas here, were just rushed and nonsensical, again pushing this film to the limit of endangering the franchise into silliness.
The only reason why I can't diss this movie further is that, in a way much like Jason Goes to Hell, the camp works at some point; I chuckled at the scene where two teens spy on Freddy just chilling with his killer video game, the scene where Freddy silently mocks a deaf victim from behind before killing him by scratching a "magic chalkboard", the deadpan 'He's stuck in a nightmare' line from John Doe as he watch one of his co-teeners being pulverized, just to name a few from a selected lot. These little tidbits of corniness and ham made Freddy's Dead less painful to watch and even worth seeing despite the shit story, rushed finale and terrible ending credits, a kind of bad camp quality that only the malign lament and overly ingenious will never understand.
|My sentiments for myself, exactly.|
1 male had his hearing amplified, head explodes
1 male falls into a pit, killed
1 male lands on spikes
1 male killed with a razor (flashback)
1 female strangled and beaten to death (flashback)
1 male burnt alive (flashback)