Horror
Freddys Dead: The Final Nightmare
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Dir: Rachel Talalay
Star: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Yaphet Kotto, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1991
Format: DVD R1
'

As John the last surviving Elm Street kid tries to escape from Springwood he is literally wrenched from his seat on an aeroplane and hurtled back to his home on Elm Street. A home that he soon discovers to be flying high just as the wicked dream witch of the north namely Freddy flys past his window on a broomstick (I kid you not!). After the brief Wizard of Oz moment John is tossed in front of a bus driven by Freddy who abrubptly hurls him over the Springwood town boundary. John ends up in a nearby children's shelter where suffering from amnesia he is unable to answer the questions of psychiatrist Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane) . After discovering a newspaper clipping relating to a missing woman in Springwood which she found in John's pocket, Maggie takes John back to Springwood in an attempt to jog or restore his memory. Along the way they discover that three of the other kids have attempted to escape the shelter by stowing away in the back of the van in which they are travelling just as they reach Springwood. Upon their arrival Maggie and her entourage find the town devoid of children and the townspeople in the midst of a shared group psychosis of a long dead child killer named Freddy Kreuger. Maggie discovers that this Freddy character had a child which was taken from him many years before and adopted which is why he took the children away from the other inhabitants of Springwood albeit in a more brutal and permanent fashion . But now Freddy is looking for his child and not in order for him to play daddy, but in order to travel outside to an all new hunting ground. away from the invisible walls that incarcarate him inside Springwood.

After such a successful series of movies and yes even the bad ones made a lot of money, it was going to be difficult and an unenviable task to try and lay Freddy to rest.........for good anyway. Into the director's chair leaps Rachel Talalay who also wrote the story and had worked her way through each of the Elm Street movies going from the "Assistant Production Accountant" on A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 through to The Dream Master which she produced. Credit where credit is due as Talalay directs possibly the most difficult of the series to make but manages a reasonable job all things considered which includes the very silly "Freddy-Vision" 3-D ending. The decision by New Line Cinema and NOT Rachel Talalay to go for a 3-D finale to the film was a brave one as the badly dated failings of the 3-D medium for film were highlighted by the dreadful Jaws 3-D. As it stands the finale for Freddy's Dead is passable and maybe even acceptable to some, but purely as a "novelty" and certainly not as a fine piece of cinemacraft.

Despite some good cinematography and direction by Talalay the film inevitably lacks much of the original energy and suspense allowing very little room for cast or filmmakers to manouvere with the story. Much of the momentum had gone from the series and after the two previous sequels it seemed bereft of originality. With this film Talalay attempts to rekindle a spark of the originals tension and suspense whilst also retaining some of the cruel humour of Freddy Kreuger originally initiated by Wes Craven which had in some of the earlier sequels been dragged to a definate "kitch" level. Overrall the direction is occasionally visually stimulating with some good photography and a degree of surrealism returns but generally the film does owe a lot to the original Nightmare on Elm Street. That is in terms of the story as well as some set pieces which were evidently influenced by Wes Craven's template of A Nightmare on Elm Street. After some pretty awful sequels in the series you would think that things could have only gotten better especially after last two offerings which were frankly terrible. Freddy's Dead is better in some ways and is held together by a good story which covers some more of Freddy's history and life before his dreamworld existence. The basis of the story of course is that the catalyst for Freddy's child murdering spree was that his own child was taken from him by the authorities and later adopted from an orphanage. In order to make the inhabitants of Springwood pay for what he saw as their crime against him he took their children away from them albeit homicidally. Which was of course before he was burned alive by the parents and subsequently empowered by the "dream demons" to have dominion in the dream world permitting him to raid the dreams of any unsuspecting victim and continue his killing frenzy. A sound psychological theory is there I suppose but it barely fits in with what we had come to believe of the character as a cold hearted virtually indiscriminate psychopath. My main problem with the story is that it would suggest that Freddy was in fact merely an enraged father seeking retribution for what he saw as an injustice against him. His flesh and blood been taken from him in that fashion was a nudge over the edge for an obviously already fragile mental state enhanced by his unique gene make-up which heightened his homicidal urge. Perhaps this is a little deep for an ostensibly straight forward horror character and it does little to entertain the audience which is why I feel that Talalay may have been a little too adventurous with this film.

Lisa Zane plays a good part as Maggie and despite one or two cheesy moments she is quite watchable, not a particuarly stunning performance but quite memorable. Perhaps her brother Billy Zane could get a few pointers from her in order to drag some talent from his own performances (Back off Zane!). A surprisingly good performance from Breckin Meyer as spoilt rich kid Spencer who has to endure the trip of his life inside a truly interactive video game with mortally painful consequences. Former cheerleader Lezlie Deane puts in a high kicking performance as Tracy and despite some decidedly unflattering outfits she carries her character almost alluringly through the film. A good ensemble cast overrall provide some good performances even if a few of them are a little short lived. Yaphet Kotto (Alien) brings some real acting weight to the cast and although not used advantagiously he provides one of the strongest characters. The film is rife with cameo appearances including Alice Cooper as Freddy's stepfather and Roseanne & Tom Arnold also crop up during the proceedings. New Line Cinema boss Bob Shaye has managed to appear in a cameo in several of the movies, but to add to his repertoire of characters ranging from an English teacher to a "maniac" he appears as a ticket booth attendant which is worth a giggle. Johnny Depp also manages to make an appearance as the host of an anti-drugs programme before he once again falls foul to Freddy which is good for a laugh as he returns to the film series which launched his acting career.

Hardly a terrible film as sequels go but the almost comic portrayal of Freddy is somewhat derogatory. The new Freddy make-up once again redesigned but this time by David Miller is more lived in and far less horrifying than the previous incarnations. The only continuity character wise is of course the fabulous Robert Englund once again reprising what is most definately HIS role as Freddy Kreuger. Without his unique prescence the Elm Street movies would have probably turned out entirely differently and quite possibly wouldn't have made it this far. Building upon the occasionally daft humour of some earlier sequels Freddy is now reduced to creeping around the set in a Benny Hill stylee playing up to the camera on several occasions which does little to create a fearful atmosphere to what is intended to be a horror film. As Freddy himself points out at one stage in the film they have tried killing him, burning him, burying him and his personal favourite was.....holy water so you would think that in order to kill him once and for all in the last of the formal Elm Street movies it would have to be something really special. After everything that Freddy has been through whilst they try to kill him, I can't see this lame ending keeping him down for good. Despite the film's tagline of "They saved the best for last" it isn't, not by a long shot so don't get your hopes up as this is probably "The most unimpressive and mediocre for last"!.

Generally the film lacks much of the atmosphere that you would expect and what atmosphere it does contain does little to extract it from the 2 dimensional doldrums. Despite the many flaws this is nonetheless and entertaining film even if it isn't particuarly horrific.

Quote

Kung-Fu this Bitch!

Every town has an Elm Street!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Great digitally remastered transfer
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 & Original Stereo soundtrack Excellent mix.
Cast & Crew Biographies.
"Jump to a Nightmare" scene selection.
"Jump to 3-D Nightmare" scene selection. Cheesy gimmick but notable for a collector.
Cool interactive menu
Verdict As this disc is part of The Nightmare on Elm Street "Platinum Series" boxed set the disc is different to the standard release and the minimal extra's on this disc are reflected by a seperate disc within the collection which contains the bulk of the extras for this and the other films.

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home