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A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

One of the most interesting things for me as a horror fan is discovering how diverse and wide ranging peoples opinions are within the genre. I have uncovered multiple films along this journey that I have chosen to foolishly avoid based on the reputation or the ever-growing opinion of those who find themselves worthy enough to voice their own judgement. Granted, I know that is what my page is all about, yet one thing I always encourage people to do is give it a go, what doesn't work for me, may definitely work for you. This is the case with A Nightmare On Elm Street - Freddy's Revenge. I have avoided this due to stigma attached to it based upon other people's opinions. These people are wrong, this is a very good sequel that I personally feel is just as, if not better than the first. I want to start off by say how incredibly well handled I found the continuity of the plot, transitioning from the first film into this sequel. Having a new family move into the Thompson's house provided reasoning for Freddy to now be coming after these new characters. This not only gives ample reasoning for Freddy's presence to be within the house, but also eliminates the need for characters from the first to return, which usually would result in forced and unrealistic continuation plots. Even the subtle use of finding Nancy's diary in her old bedroom was a clever way to deliver exposition to our news characters, without having to make the audience watch these events unfold before us, again. However, as well handled as I found this to be, I feel Nancy's arc was left unresolved and I went into this sequel seeking clarity around the closing moments of the first film. One of the more unique elements of this film is the use of a male lead in a slasher of this style. The vast majority of films in this genre are flooded with the strong female final girls and it was interesting to see these roles reversed and witness how this played out from a male perspective. Jesse played by Mark Patton does a fantastic job of taking on this role and conveying the wide range of emotions required from him. Utilsing his arc in a way that you leads you as audience to interpret this as though Jesse is actually the killer, and that he has fabricated this character of Freddy in his mind, is a direction I never expected this to sequel to take. Then, as it goes on to imply that Nancy had done the same thing in part one, it provides subtle yet much needed closure on the end of her arc. Taking this in the direction of Freddy trying to inhabit Jesse's body, as opposed to just mindlessly killing off these teens also provided a unique perspective - helping keep this story fresh and not just rehashing the same story we have seen already. Freddy looks incredibly terrifying once again, continuing with the use of shadows from the first and barely getting a full glimpse of his face for the most part. This technique really helps mystify his character making him all the more scary. His make up is still very uncomfortable to look at in this film in contrast to the more rubber mask looking Freddy that I have seen in still shots from later entries in the franchise. There is a scene early on in which Freddy pulls back the skin on his scalp, revealing his brain which I thought looked incredible. There is one aspect of Freddy later on that I really felt showed the attention to detail from the writing department and that was once Freddy ultimately takes control of Jesse, he has an almost morphed version of his standard iconic glove, as though it too has grown from within Jesse. The score utilises an uncomfortable screeching noise that grows in intensity as the scene grows, something I recall being one of the stronger and more under valued elements of the first film. We do get the return of the extremely eerie '1,2, Freddy's coming for you', and this time we are introduced to a much more 80's soundtrack, which provided some very enjoyable nostalgia of me. The scene in which Jessie is unpacking his room was a perfect example of this. I really appreciated the silly mid 80s montage nature of it, perfectly utilsing the song 'Touch me (all night long)' by Wish ft. Fonda Rae. Unfortunately, this installment does suffer from very minimal and unimaginative kills in comparison to what Wes Craven created in the first film. This is however redeemed by the strong use of practical effects, particularly from one outstanding scene which shows Freddy transition from inside of Jesse's body into the real world. This chest burst set piece looks outstanding and without a doubt is the show stealing moment of the entire film. The later demise of Freddy in the final act was also a stand out moment in terms of visual effects work, seeing the flesh melt from his face was a done brilliantly. We do still get the standard final girl closing moments from Lisa played by Kim Myers, although I felt this did slightly undermine the arch we had been following up until this point with Jesse taking such a prominent role. This all culminates in a weak ending. I never felt as though the stakes were very high or even that Freddy is very intimidating and this was also one of the issues I found with the closing act of the first film. I do hope this isn't a recurring trend with the conclusions of all the remaining installments. There is lots of talk of Jesse being considered a repressed homosexual in this film and I can understand why this is something fans have considered being an underlining theme throughout the story. Taking on board the already subtly suggested idea of Freddy being a figment of Jesse's and Nancy's imagination and a way for them to deal with their emotional issues, I found this to only add more depth and creativity to the story the writer David Chaskin and director Jack Sholder were trying to tell. 'Freddy's Revenge' surpassed all my expectations and predispositions. This is a very strong sequel and a worthy film to follow the now iconic Wes Craven 1984 original. It suffers from its flaws just as the first did, but I found these to never compromise my overall viewing experience. I think given time, this may be more of a go to watch for me than part one. After foolishly waiting so long to see this, I am now very excited to continue through the rest of these films with hope they continue to remain as strong as the first two films in the franchise.


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