A teenage boy is haunted by Freddy Krueger in his dreams, and he believes that Freddy might be possessing him.
I’m a fan of Freddy Kruegar (Robert Englund, “A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors”). Just as a side note, before we get started: I had watched multiple entries in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” saga over the course of my life, but I had done so out of order; this time, as I make my way through them all, I intend to watch them in the correct order- thus eliminating any possibility of me missing anything. This was my first time viewing this entry, however, and for the first two thirds of the movie I was digging it… and then that third act happened.
Out of all the 80s slasher villains, I think Freddy Kruegar is by far the most creative, and his movies, even when they’re not all that great, usually have a few pretty compelling dream/kill sequences, and let’s be honest, when you’re looking for cheap 80s slasher flicks, isn’t that really all you need? This film starts off alright. There’s a great opening sequence where Freddy drives a school bus out into the desert and suddenly the ground opens up and the bus is left teetering on a small pillar, with what looks to be lava down below. The special effects are just the right amount of cheesy and creepy- the essential texture of Freddy’s Nightmare-worlds. I was freaking digging it!
Our main character, Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton, “Amityville: Evil Never Dies”) keeps seeing Freddy in his dreams, just as Nancy Thompson did in the first entry, only instead of Freddy trying to kill Jesse, Freddy is possessing Jesse to kill other people. The way this film handles the twist on the original film’s lore was actually pretty cool for a while, and they do some rather creative things with some of the kills- though there are a few rather stupid kills as well (locker room scene). There are some neat practical effects where parts of Jesse start to turn into Freddy- the arm transformation and the tongue scene both look really great (though, this does start to raise some issues with the rules- more on that in a minute). The film does start to fall into some of the same beats as the original film: ie. People not believing that Freddy is appearing to Jesse; trying different methods to stay awake- but I suppose that just comes with the franchise.
The problems really start in the third act when the movie just takes a nose dive. The rules in the first film establish that Freddy needs to be in the dreamworld to have power, but then Nancy is also able to pull Freddy out of the dreamworld into the real world, where she has the upper hand and is able to kill him by taking away his power. Cool, so far so good. In this film, the rules are stretched to say that, when the kid is asleep, he can manipulate/possess them into killing in the real world; I can still buy that. But there’s a part in this film where Freddy is suddenly able to appear to an entire pool full of kids that are having a party, and without hesitating he begins massacring them. I sort of started to check out at that point, because they’d thrown all of their own rules out the window. Don’t you have to be asleep to get attacked by Freddy? How is he able to manifest himself suddenly outside the dreamworld? They toss all logic and rules out the window, and suddenly I don’t care anymore.
There are some really cool special effects and a few good deaths, but that’s about it honestly. As a side note there’s also a fair amount of relatively humorous homoeroticism that I’m not sure was included purposefully. The scene where Jesse needs to stay up so he asks his friend in boxer shorts to watch him; the locker room scene where a guy is tied up, stripped, and whipped (in soft, steamy, blue lighting) before Krueger kills him.
For the first two acts there were some cool moments, so I don’t think this film is entirely a wash, but it’s also not all that good. I suppose if you like Freddy as a villain (like myself), then this has a few good Freddy moments, but unless you’re a huge “Nightmare on Elm Street” fan, you probably don’t have any need to see this.
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