A young man (Shon Greenblatt, Newsies) arrives at a shelter for troubled teens run by a dedicated physician, Dr. Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane, Monkeybone). The kid seems to be suffering from amnesia and the only clue to the teen’s identity is a clipping from a Springwood newspaper that was found in his pocket. Dr. Burroughs decides to travel to Springwood to find answers, a decision that leads her to a face-to-face confrontation with evil Fred Krueger (Robert Englund, Don’t Cry, It’s Only Thunder).
Reaction & Thoughts:
Did they save the best for last? Nope. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, written by co-producer Michael De Luca, directed by Rachel Talalay, may very well be the worst “Nightmare” film. After it was over I was sad rather than angry — it was time to kill the franchise off before it sank any deeper.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) wrapped things up quite nicely so I have always maintained that what came after it was completely unnecessary and not very good.
Talalay is the only woman to have directed a film in the franchise. I was hoping that a woman would bring a new set of sensibilities to the series. Yes, the film is different in the worst possible way. Poo-poo on Talalay who had been affiliated with the series from the very beginning — she started out as an assistant in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) — and should have known better. The lame background story, and Talalay’s lack of imagination, are to blame for this embarrassing misfire.
I have to admit that I did enjoy the climax. It is in 3-D, and in William Castle fashion you are given instructions on when to use the glasses. I’m not a big fan of 3-D — for me it is a silly gimmick — but here it makes some sense. Some fun cameos — Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold, Alice Cooper, and Johnny Depp — and Yaphet Kotto’s strong screen presence also make this disappointing sequel tolerable.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare was a huge hit, so what do I know? Alas, this is not really the end, and the producers will take another bite out of the apple. Stay tuned. Color, 89 minutes, Rated R.
Followed by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)