Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2021)
Some people never learn.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge often gets rated as the series' worst
offering, and that partly stems from the way it ignores the "rules" of the Nightmare universe. It also does a terrible job with continuity, and it generally appears to be from a different run of films than the others.
The same holds true for 1991's Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. An uncompelling mix of freak-show strangeness and cartoony horror, it provides one of the series' worst releases.
Dead does little right and seems generally poor. It appears pretty clear this one existed just to collect one more Freddy-related payday.
A decade after the events of the last film, nightmare killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) appears to satisfy his desire for vengeance, as he kills all the kids from his hometown. However, this doesn’t satisfy Freddy’s lust for violence, so he seeks new territory.
Actually, Freddy left one potential victim alive: teen “John Doe” (Shon Greenblatt). When “John” winds up in a home for troubled kids, Freddy stalks new blood.
As with the second movie in the series, Dead eliminates any character consistency outside of Freddy himself. Nightmare 3 carried along some participants from the first film, and both Nightmare 4 and Nightmare 5 continued this trend.
Although the ideas got looser as the series progressed, all the sequels other than Revenge make some sense in regard to Krueger's motive. Originally he tried to get back at the Elm Street parents who killed him by stalking their children.
That rule went out the window in Revenge, where Freddy cared about geography but not involvement. It came back in Nightmare 3 and made a partial return in Nightmare 4, but at least when his
slaughter branched out to others, it made some sense. His choices seemed more logical than in Revenge.
Unfortunately, Freddy's Dead returns to the geographical destiny found in Revenge. Although all of the nasty events depicted there took place in one town, they didn't have to be this restricted, as Freddy's power showed no connection to location.
Dead seems to feel that it did, however, as it presents Springwood as a shell-shocked burg that can't escape the shadow of the monster. The idea actually boasts some potential, since so few movies examine the after-effects of trauma.
Springwood sure went through an awful lot of dead teens, yet we saw no resonance from this during the first four sequels. You'd think this would seriously mess with folks' minds, and Dead attempts to portray that reality.
However, it does so in a silly, cartoony manner that takes away from any potentially scary consequences. In fact, this shows one of the main failing of some of the Nightmare films: the way they went away from terror and made Freddy more of a cartoon character.
Krueger lost most of the fearsome and chilling qualities he displayed in the first couple of movies. Instead, he became a hip, catch-phrase uttering jokester.
Dead exemplifies this pattern, as so much of it playes for cheap laughs. The film really does show promise, and not just from the examination of the impact the murders had on the town.
It also introduces a Krueger child, an element that could add psychological resonance. Unfortunately, it doesn't, as the matter gets treated like a simple plot twist and not explored very well.
I could excuse the fact that we never heard of Krueger's family prior to this sixth movie, though one would think the concept would have materialized before this time. It didn't, and I'd guess it shows up here just because the filmmakers ran out of other ideas.
Sign they became desperate: Dead actually features a 3D segment. Was there any good reason for this portion of the film to be 3D?
Nope, other than as a gimmick to drag people into theaters. It didn't
work, either as a fun treat or as an inducement to potential movie-goers.
Freddy's Dead doesn't become a complete disaster, but it nonetheless seems pretty lame. The film turns into a morass of lame thrills and flat characters, and it enjoys no reason toexist other than as a reason to make money. Add to that some of the most annoying cameos in memory and you find a fairly bad movie.