*Updated version of review originally written in 2004
If you are into camp, into horror which is so horribly dated it’s funny, then Elm Street Part 2 may be for you. An attempt to cash in on the success of the original sees a new cast, writer, and director coming in to make sure that lightning won’t strike twice. Part 2 introduces a new set of characters and barely links back to the first film, except that Jesse, the main character has moved into the same house Nancy lived in previously – mentioned here simply as a girl who went mad. I appreciate that the film is making clear attempts to go in new and arguably interesting ways, but the flaws far outweigh the positives.
The first thing horror fans will notice is that the film isn’t scary – the genuine scares and thrills from the first film are almost entirely vanquished, and the dreamlike nature of the original isn’t recreated. There are definitely some interesting moments and ideas, but it mostly falls on its bum due to some hilarious homoerotic fun and games. Much has been said on this over the years – it speaks for itself and becomes jarring like everyone involved simply wanted to make the film one big joke rather than say anything worthwhile about masculinity or sexuality. The whole film could conceivably be someone else’s nightmare, perhaps Nancy’s, or an unknown character, at least then it would make more sense.
The story sees main character Jesse having nightmares featuring our good friend Freddy and before long Jesse’s friends and enemies begin to die in ways somehow connected to his dreams. However, is it actually Freddy doing the killing, or is it Jesse himself? Spoiler – It’s Freddy. The fine premise of having Freddy coming into the real world, and Jesse coming out of the closet is a good one, but it isn’t handled well, and there are way too many scenes of unnecessary humour. The acting is mostly okay if unremarkable, the effects are great, but the shower attack, the canary attack, and the film’s most horrific moment – Jesse’s inexplicable bedroom dancing scene, are classic moments of things that eyes should never have to witness. The script isn’t great, the music is largely awful, and it is about as savagely 80s as possible. The original deserved a much better sequel.
The DVD doesn’t contain any worthwhile features – hunt out the Never Sleep Again Documentary for more info on the behind the scenes information.
Let us know in the comments what you thought of this one and where you would rank it in the series!