Review Date: March 2, 2003
Released by: New Line
Release date: 8/22/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes | P&S Yes
"You’ve got the body, and I’ve got the brains." Let’s take a quick poll. How many are likely to associate this quote with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
? Now, how many would remember the line from D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s hit "A Nightmare on My Street"? Either answer given shows the impact that Freddy Krueger has had since slicing his way through A Nightmare on Elm Street
. In typical Hollywood fashion, one successful movie deserves a sequel. Sequels can be a good thing or a bad thing. On one side of the fence we have rare gems like Aliens
and Evil Dead 2
. The other side is littered with the likes of Mirror Mirror 2
and Mangler 2
. How does Freddy’s follow-up compare? Read on…..
It has been five years since the events on Elm Street sent shock waves throughout the community. With the events gone, but not forgotten, The Walsh family moves into a house that is well known in the town. They are not even fully unpacked before strange things begin to happen to Ken and Cheryl’s (Clu Gulager & Hope Lange) oldest son, Jesse (Mark Patton). He awakens scared and sweaty, horrified by a nightmarish bus ride. As Jesse heads off to school, little does he realize this is just the first of many visits from the nightmare’s bus driver Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).
Jesse hooks up with gal pal Lisa (Kim Powers) and begins his odd day. He meets, fights, and befriends Grady (Robert Rusler) while managing to be labeled as a troublemaker by Coach Schneider (Marshall Bell). After showing the campus his backside and doing pushups with Grady, Jesse heads home. He ends up with mix of good and bad news. Freddy makes another visit to Jesse, this time with a motive. Wanting to use Jesse’s body as a way to kill in the outside world, Freddy spares his life. Though he resists, Freddy slowly begins to take over Jesse’s mind and body. With the help of Lisa, Jesse tries to uncover the mystery behind Freddy and defeat him before any more damage is done to a fragile community.
With a huge success a year earlier in A Nightmare on Elm Street
, it was a no-brainer that a sequel would follow. Sequels, regardless of the genre, mostly attempt to borrow from their predecessor. The results typically give fans very little in the form of new material. Freddy's Revenge does not stray much from this formula. There are numerous references to the characters from the first film. The Walsh family even resides in the same home as Nancy and her mother did in the original. In an attempt to broaden the storyline, Freddy takes a different approach to acquiring victims. He uses Jesse's body as a vessel to kill in the outer world, giving him unprecedented freedom. On the plus side, Freddy's Revenge does give us a few new aspects to the series. Since Freddy is taking over Jesse's body, the glove is sometimes replaced by blades coming straight out of Freddy's fingers. This style is used again in later installments as well. Another addition is the film blurring the lines of fantasy and reality even more. In the first film, Freddy was a menace to those who dared to fall asleep. In the second, he took a teen hostage and used his body to slay random victims. It is by meshing these that ANOES begins to gain the momentum that has transformed it into one of the most profitable horror franchises ever. I think future directors recognize that Freddy needs to inhabit a world of fantasy, where he is the god who reigns. Freddy's presence in the real world doesn't seem to have much of a lasting impact. He isn't as scary and doesn't seem to have much motivation other than killing those who wrong Jesse. Fantasy and reality can co-exist, but it so far the series seems to try and keep them apart.
Jack Sholder, who also directed The Hidden
, was probably ecstatic when he found out that he would be taking the realms of a soon-to-be franchise. Little did he know that his installment would be considered one of the worst in the series. It is rumored that Sholder couldn't even direct the pool house scene without laughing, and had to pass the work on. Why would a director have such a hard time filming? Enter screenwriter David Chaskin. With only a handful of scripts under his belt for his career, Chaskin's first storyline has some ludicrous angles. Why would Jesse let his gym teacher Coach Schneider take him to the school campus, make him run laps, and shower off in the middle of the night? In his pursuit of a victim, why would Freddy choose to bite a leg instead of utilize the razor sharp claws we all know and love? Why would a 'suspenseful' scene revolve around a lovebird bursting into flames in the living room? Don’t even get me started on the Coach’s "torture" of being attacked by balls. Watching Freddy's Revenge just raises more and more questions about the direction the series seems to be heading; however, with a budget of just $3 million, box office success all but guaranteed a sequel. With a total of $29.9 million Freddy’s Revenge was a profitable entry in the series, surpassing even the original in box office receipts.
In addition to inexperienced writing, we are given a relatively new cast as well. The big gun is Clu Gulager, who also teamed up with Sholder in The Hidden. Many fans will recognize Clu as Burt from The A Nightmare on Elm Street 2
. Though he has far more acting experience than the rest of the cast, he is sadly underused in his role as Jesse’s father. Another recognizable face is Robert Rusler. John Hughes fans will remember his debut in Weird Science. Unfortunately, his sophomore effort as Grady does nothing to set him apart from the rest of the cast. Kim Myers squeezes what she can out of her first role. She has maintained a fairly successful television career before popping up again on the horror radar in Hellraiser: Bloodlines. Last, and least, is our lead Mark Patton. Sadly enough, Freddy’s Revenge is the highlight of his 'blink and you’ll miss it' stint as an actor. While I feel that Kim Myers was limited by the script, Mark Patton was simply a poor choice for the lead. Even the great Robert Englund seems to take a step backwards in his role as Freddy. He spends the majority of the film hiding in shadows, tarnishing his menacing image from the first movie. He does manage to get in a few good shots to let viewers know that Freddy still commands the screen.
Overall the film looks great. Released theatrically in 1985, New Line has given fans an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. The film shows its age more with wardrobes and music than with the picture quality. Black levels are superb and the famous front door shines a beautiful red. Other than Grady’s room and a few wardrobe choices, Freddy’s Revenge is visually drab. The sets are very dull, not providing any type of spectacular color, rather sticking with brown, tan, and dreary blues. New Line did the best they could to bring even the bleakest scenery to life.
From the VHS days, I remember this installment being quite dark. Freddy always seemed to be looming in the shadows and some of the events were difficult to distinguish. New Line has sharpened theses scenes, giving longtime viewers a closer, accurate look at what characters are up to. Freddy’s Revenge has been around long enough that it could legally buy a pack of cigarettes and the DVD format has treated this film like a prized possession.
Remixed in a stunning Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, even the purists may want to take a listen. With most of the action taking place on the front speakers, the music has certainly benefited from the upgrade. While the sound effects are used sparingly in the rear speakers, the musical score all but engulfs you in a sound field that takes the film to a new level. Originally shown with mono sound (also included), there was not a whole lot of use for the rear speakers. Dialogue was a bit soft in some scenes, but nothing that is distracting to the film.
Those without a DVD-ROM will be missing out on the many additions to this disc. Before getting started with the DVD-ROM content, there are some installations required. The programs needed are on the disc and will be needed to access the content on any of the ANOES discs. The DVD-ROM game "Dream World" gives twenty trivia questions about the series second installment. Most of the questions are multiple choice, but there are a few that you will need to type in (one word answers). Each question only allows ten seconds for an answer, so move quick or consider it a loss. For those who answer 13 questions correctly, you will be given one of the codes needed to unlock a trivia game in the "Nightmare Series Encyclopedia" DVD (currently only available in the box set).
The screenplay section allows viewers to watch the film and read the script at the same time. There are chapter stops at the top of the screen to give better access to the entire movie. Another feature is a link to http://www.nightmareonelmstreet.com which provides a wealth of information for the entire series. A popular addition to the site is the ‘Coroner’s Report’, which gives more than just the death count. By clicking on one of Freddy’s victims, you will be given more detail than even the film can provide regarding a particular character’s death. Those who don’t have internet access are not only missing a great addition to the disc, but are also not reading this review.
Outside of the DVD-ROM fans will find cast and crew biographies for the featured participants in the film. Mark Patton, Kim Meyers, Robert Rusler, Robert Englund, Hope Lange, and Clu Gulager are all part of the feature in addition to the film’s director, screenwriter, producer, and music composer. Filmographies are given after a bit of history for each of those who are showcased. The "Jump to a Nightmare" scene is a supplement that is becoming more popular in the Horror DVD market. It gives fans an opportunity to skip all of the boring dialogue and get right to the gore. This particular section has ten scenes that are easily accessible for the gore hound in us all.
New Line give five-star treatment to a one-star film. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
looks and sounds better than it ever has. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some may realize that this is actually a polished version of a bad movie. The extras are showcased mainly in DVD-ROM content and the MSRP is very low at $14.95. Fans looking to complete the series should give this disc a look.
Movie - C-
Image Quality - A
Sound - A
Supplements - B-
- Running time - 1 hour 27 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital Mono
- Removable English subtitles
- Cast & Crew Biographies from the Original Theatrical Press Kit
- "Jump to a Nightmare" Scene Navigation
- DVD-ROM – "Script to Screen" Interactive Screenplay
- DVD-ROM – "Dream World" Trivia Game #2
- DVD-ROM – Up-to-the-Minute Cast and Crew Biographies with Web Links