A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hello horror fans! It’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review part two of the movie series about the man from your nightmares, Freddy Krueger. The follow up to the first Nightmare on Elm Street film has the epically awesome title of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge. I know it’s a mouthful but they get to the point eventually in that title. Do be warned before you read any further, there will be some spoilers for this film. If you haven’t seen it, grab yourself some popcorn, watch the movie, stay up late, and come back here to read the review.

It was probably inevitable the second film in this franchise would not be as terrifying as the first. Robert Englund is back as Freddy, and as always he puts in an incredible performance. While this may not be the best Freddy movie, it certainly has its fans and some people see it as a cult classic, especially due to some of the subtext that might be read into the story.

This film takes place five years after the events of A Nightmare on Elm Street. We open on a school bus where a teenager named Jesse is riding home. There are two teenage girls in front of him and when the bus gets to their stop, it just keeps going. Everyone on the bus starts to panic and yell at the driver. Turns out this is one of the nightmares Freddy pops up in.

When Jesse wakes up we learn he lives in the same house Nancy Thompson lived in when she was menaced by Freddy in the first film. Since they moved in, Jesse has been plagued by nightmares, or more accurately, night terrors. He has a friend at school named Lisa. Lisa is romantically interested in Jesse but Jesse sort of thinks he is losing his mind because of all these nightmares.

Jesse also starts having some trouble at school. He gets in a fight with a fellow student named Grady, and they both have to suffer the harsh punishment of their coach. The coach is at least rumored to be into men and is known to frequent one of the seedier clubs in town.

In Jesse’s nightmares there is an interesting twist. Freddy is not going after Jesse. Instead, he’s trying to get Jesse to kill people for him. Jesse tells Lisa about the dreams and one day while they are in Jesse’s room they find Nancy’s diary. At first it reads like a typical diary with comments about her attraction to Glen who died in the first film. But as the diary goes on it gets darker and starts to mention a description of Freddy which Jesse instantly recognizes.

Lisa does some research and discovers Freddy killed at least twenty kids in the boiler room of what is now an abandoned factory. In other words, the guy in Jesse’s dreams is no joke, and Jesse might want to be concerned.

One night after a bit of a fight with his family, Jesse starts to wander around town. He happens to end up in the same bar his coach is in. The coach makes Jesse go back to school and run laps as punishment. Not sure that would fly now but for this movie it seems like a plausible thing that could happen. The coach tells Jesse to hit the showers and soon Jesse is hearing Freddy’s voice. One thing leads to another and the coach ends up sliced to death. Jesse looks down at his hand and sees Freddy’s iconic glove on it. It seems Freddy is able to take over Jesse’s body and cause some mayhem.

The rest of the film is really about Jesse trying to stop himself from becoming Freddy. As you would expect there are more deaths and the more Jesse tries to explain the situation the more insane he seems. Things come to a crescendo when Jesse goes to a party hosted by Lisa. He and Lisa start kissing but Jesse hears Freddy in his mind again. In order to protect Lisa, Jesse goes over to Grady’s house and warns Grady not to fall asleep. Yeah, so Grady ends up dead because, well, he goes to sleep.

Freddy does get to cause some epic mayhem at the pool party Lisa is hosting and that is probably the best scene in the whole film. Of course, in the end Freddy is defeated, for now.

Not all of the effects in this one hold up today. Some of them are still great, and as always, Freddy’s face is just out and out scary. But the effects that don’t work today bring the film down overall now.

Now, as I said there are some people who see this as a cult classic, mostly because you could derive from the subtext that Jesse is a closeted gay man and Freddy trying to take over is a metaphor for Jesse’s struggle. Also, Jesse is essentially playing the part of a “final girl” in the same way Nancy did in the first film which people argue is further proof of Jesse’s sexuality. Whether you want to interpret the film that way or not is entirely up to you but I am judging this movie more on the basis of if it holds up in the fear factor than anything else.

I do think there are some great scares in here and there is a bit of interesting body horror at times. However, I don’t think this movie would just automatically scare anyone who watches it for the first time, unlike the first film which is still absolutely scary.

The acting is decent and the story holds up enough. It gives us some more background about Freddy and kind of builds his legend up a bit. I will say, the hair and costumes in this one are a bit more distracting because they are so definitely 1980’s looks but I can’t really hold that against the movie.

If you are a Freddy fan you definitely should watch this one, just don’t expect it to be the most frightening of experiences.

Dreamily yours,

Slick Dungeon

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