If you’ve read my review of A Nightmare on Elm Street, you know I freaking loved that movie. So naturally, I expected to be traumatized and disappointed by its sequel. Lucky for me, Freddy’s second-time-around wasn’t so bad. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, released only a year after the original, follows a similar premise. High school student Jesse recently moved into the Elm Street house with his family. It doesn’t take him long to start having nightmares of Freddy Krueger. This time around, however, Krueger only seems to haunt Jesse and he spends the entire film trying to possess Jesse and convince him to do his killing.
This film is the perfect example of taking a plot that works and tweaking it slightly for a sequel. Instead of bringing in a new set of teens and having their stories mirror those of the first film, this movie centers the haunting on one boy and adds a supernatural possession spin to it. The idea of Krueger not only terrorizing your nightmares, but also embodying your soul and forcing you to kill for him is a terrifying one. The result of this possession is often gross and awkward, but it is a nice twist, nonetheless.
One tradition that remains in this sequel is the “gotcha.” The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is a master at the last “gotcha.” While in Halloween, Michael Myers often survives the fall or gets up after being shot 17 times, it’s not quite a “gotcha” because the audience expects it. In these films, Freddy cannot technically die because he is only a dream, so the audience can only hope that whatever frail attempt the protagonist made to rid themselves of Krueger actually worked. The film lures the audience into a false sense of security and then zings you with the “gotcha” moment that is both frightening and fun.
The reason this sequel didn’t quite match up to its original is because I found it to be more of a haunt and less of a horror. The magnificent death sequences from the first film were missing and the amount of blood and gore certainly decreased. The story focused much more on the idea of Freddy possessing Jesse instead of other people around Jesse dying. While this was compelling, it wasn’t quite as horrifying as the plot of the first film.
That being said, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge is still a fantastic sequel. The slightly obscure and different plot allowed the story of Freddy to continue to flourish while the smaller details including the “gotcha” moments kept the film grounded in its roots.With two great films right from the start, I’m expecting this franchise to do just fine on horror island.
If you liked A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, you might also like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5.