So, this time around, the sequel to Wes Craven’s 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street. In fact, in this movie, we’re back on Elm Street, back in Nancy’s old house. No explanation as to why, even though she must have died right before this film took place, there’s a gap of five years…and no word on how the entire city doesn’t know the story of the girl gone crazy after the death, I’m sorry- murder- of three of her classmates and some crazy stuff that happened inside her own home. They don’t bother with keeping the storyline consistent, as not much of what is explained in two even happened in the original. Who knows. This goes back to the old idea that a sequel is merely the desire of the audience to relive the same movie over and over, and though some slight deviations from the original plot occur here, it’s mostly much of the same happening again and again.
This doesn’t feel like a cheap sequel though. The special effects are stellar, and the cinematography is just plain gorgeous. The vivid color palette that fills every bit of this movie makes it feel more expensive, like a big budget original film, as opposed to a fairly cheap sequel to a movie that wasn’t perfect to begin with. I have no idea what the budget was, and frankly I’m too lazy to check, but there’s something that doesn’t fit the common conception of 1980’s horror sequel here, and that’s a good thing. It’s not a terrible movie, but it does fit very well the tropes of horror cinema. Down to the love interest who is, somehow, in no way fearful of what seems to be a deranged young teen male, but rather is there for him every step of the way. This almost feels like a cash grab, but there are some unique elements here- the idea that Freddy is taking over Jesse’s body to commit the acts of terror is insightful as far as horror movie themes go. This isn’t the sort of thing you expect, outside of a temporary possession of Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 (at the end of the film where Michael seems to take over her body or psyche). This one goes further, literally allowing Freddy to inhabit Jesse’s body, punching out from inside to cause mayhem.
I sort of take back my comments, in part, from my last post on the original film. I guess part 3 is where Freddy becomes over the top. He is definitely less scary here, going less for fear and more for shock- even laughs at some points. He speaks more, taking away a lot of the mystery, and the movements, the expressions, and even the cutting out of bodies is a way to add a humorous effect to the movie, while, in the process, taking away any mystery and making the character a bit more laughable than horrible. This seems to be a trend in 80’s horror- Jason becomes a bit too comical as well in later sequels. Michael Myers never truly fits this pattern, but in part 5, he IS mischievous, and that changes things up a bit.
Despite the really vivid colors, the really nice look to all of it, why does this feel less cinematic in a way? I’m not totally sure. It hits you throughout, however, and it looks more like a big budget 1980’s buddy cop film or a comedy starring a dog than it does a dreadful piece of horror, created by an expert in fear. Perhaps this gives rise to the notion that the series becomes sort of a joke, a parody of itself after this one. This one feels like its on the verge of being parody itself, but the original story mixed with the photography saves it from that. Just barely.