Friday, December 20, 2013

Movie Review: A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

Now to be perfectly honest with you....I don't think this movie is half-bad. it does have it's corny moments, like Jesse's dance, which I will discuss further down the line, and break certain rules from the first film, but I enjoyed this one. Hell, back then I didn't even know there was any nightmare sequels. The only ones I know, when I was eight or nine or so, was part 3 and 4. I didn't really know about part 2 and 5 that much because they were really obscure and the weakest of the series. Though in my opinion, I don't think this was all that terrible. It may have lacked the dark and grittiness of the first and it maybe out of bounds most of the time, but I think it stands out than most slasher films of the 80's.
Here's the story: quiet, sensitive Jesse Walsh and his family has just move to 1428 Elm Street, the house that Nancy Thompson once lived. Suddenly, strange things occur. Jesse keeps having these terrible dreams, that becomes so real, it almost takes over him. Moment by moment, this creature from his dreams, the one they call Freddy Krueger wants his body and soul. And he must tap into Jesse's bloodlust to empower him. as his family and friends grow more concern of him, Jesse must fight back to keep his life in order and destroy Freddy Krueger before mayhem strikes again on Elm street.

The acting was pretty solid. Again, the characters are pretty genuine and you can feel a special connection between the cast. The chemistry works well and the actors seem to make the characters real (well, some of them. ie: Kerry).

Oh there is so much to say about Jesse Walsh. It is an indication that he is a closeted homosexual but the subtext in the movie is so heavy-handed that it's not an indication anymore. It's right there in your face. Actor Mark Patton was gay in real life, so it was easier for him to convey his emotions through the role. Dealing with homosexuality and coming out of the closet was a real challenge for teenagers back in the 80's and the movie is treated as a major theme of this.

Jesse Isn't your typical macho horror movie hero. Just like Nancy in the first film, He's just a normal teenager who somehow is put In a fantastical situation and he reacts to things realistically. Mark Patton really got into the emotional state of that character and he brought on a stellar performance.  It's really a shame he didn't went to go on new horizons on the acting biz because although this was his first big role, it would've been good to see him in more projects.

Then we have Lisa Webber played by Kim Myers. I know I was a little harsh on her on my last review, But I thought Kim Myers did a good job. Not only does she look like Meryl Streep (personally, one of my favorite actresses), she also has this natural girl-next-door quality that makes her likeable and welcoming.

But just to get this out of my chest, I really didn't see the chemistry between her and Jesse. I just think their romance was a bit forced. And I think the only reason the filmmakers wanted to make her a love interest was because she was a girl, when she could've just been only an ally helping a friend. And that's how they come off as...really good friends.

And here is the delightful Ron Grady played by the very handsome Robert Rusler. Ron Grady or Grady as they call him is probably the most memorable character in the movie. Not only is he smoldering sexy, he is funny, likeable, and charming.

And quite frankly, He and Jesse had better chemistry. It starts off as a love-hate relationship but then in the end, we see that he generally cares about Jesse and wants to help him. So it was sort of sad and a bit sudden when he got slashed, since we were really seeing a relationship developing but cut short by an instant.

Kerry, on the other hand, played by Sydney Walsh, is the least developed of the cast. She is just the caricature of a typical one-dimensional 80's teen with big hair and outrageous fashion sense. She was there to serve as Lisa's sex-crazed friend. But I have to say her outfits are ridiculously awesome (what's with that candy-striped bow? lol).

Freddy is still dark and mysterious but a lot more talkative than in the first film, establishing early stages of what he'll become in the next film.

They also made his face more demonic-looking, which really creeped me out when I first watched this. The look, for me, set the tone of the film, making Freddy this ferocious being who's more angrier and more blood-thirsty.

The effects are spectacular. Not only do they have elements of possession, the filmmakers also seem to focus on the house, having this haunted house feel similar to the movie Poltergeist.

The special effects really come into play in the scene where Jesse turns into Freddy. It's totally state of the art and groundbreaking and would later catapult towards the later sequels. It's really cool and imaginative.

The other scene I like was the pool party scene but now I get a mixed vibe from it. It totally derides what was so great about the first movie. The scenes where Freddy is in the dream world is much more scarier because that's when his victims are more vulnerable. Seeing him killing a bunch of teenagers at a pool party just make him look like a Jason knock-off. But I get that he is fully possessive of Jesse's body and he isn't a ghostly, shadowy figure anymore.
Now for some behind the scenes facts. There were other actors that were originally auditioned for the role of Jesse, which included:

John Stamos

Brad Pitt

And Christian Slater. Since Jesse runs around shirtless throughout the movie, that would've been quite interesting to watch....if you know what I mean.

At first they hired a stuntman to play Freddy in one of the scenes but since the stuntman was doing a poor, stiff job, they decided to bring back Robert Englund seeing that it's more than just a guy in a rubber mask, it's the actor that brings out the character. Freddy only had 13 minutes of screen time out of the 87 minute running time of the movie, which in my opinion, makes him more scarier and threatening and has just amount of good build up, very much like the first film.

The S and M bartender is played by Robert Shaye, in one of his first cameo roles in the Nightmare sequels. The a truly frightening sight. lol.

Oh just to add this little fact, Clu Glanger, who plays Jesse's father, also starred in Return Of The Living Dead, alongside Miguel Nunez Jr., Mark Venturini, and Thom Matthews who also starred in Friday The 13th: A New Beginning and Friday The 13th: Jason Lives. So there's one of your Freddy and Jason connections.

(You see this picture. It's looks like they are totally going to have a threesome later on. Lol).
Now let's get to the topic at hand. Let's talk about the homoerotic subtext that is the most talked about in this movie. And this kind of subtext bothered certain horror fans (whether those horror fans are homophobic, let me just say this here, don't watch the movie and don't say anything negative about the movie if that really bothers you so much. that's all) but personally, I think that's where the film works. Most film critics view slasher films as misogynistic, generally marketing violence towards women. They see it as an interlude of sex and violence where in those movies the subtext are mainly heterosexual. So I think a homosexual angle is interesting and fresh and most of the victims in this are mostly male.

There is one particular scene where I said, in my last review of this, that was completely out of a falcon 80's gay porno, and the scene in question is where Jesse has an encounter with Coach Schneider. Now thinking of it, there's nothing sexual or arousing about it. There's something creepy and foreboding behind it that's akin to the movie Cruising. It seems that the coach is going to do really bad things to Jesse, that would be more pain than pleasure if you see it that way.

So eventually, Coach Schneider got what he deserved....

I don't know whether the filmmakers identified Jesse as gay. When I first read the script, I think he was viewed as a typical heterosexual teenager but since Mark Patton was gay and there was a whole of gay subtext in the script, it pretty much summed up what the movie was going to become. Some of the filmmakers were caught between whether the whole gayness of the movie was intentional or just to say "hey let's just put in there, nobody would NOTICE." but it's pretty noticeable and out there.

Especially the scene were Jesse dances to an 80's pop song. Originally, it was supposed to be a rock song, similar to the scene in Risky Business but I guess this was the one song they could afford. I don't's so wrong but it's so right at the same time. You gotta see it to be believe it:

This song is catchy, too. It was later remade in 1991 and is a much more popular cover song  by Cathy Dennis.

The reason why the chemistry between Mark Patton and Robert Rusler was so good because according to a rumor they hooked up on the set. But who knows they were probably really good friends. Though, it still up for debate.....
I just think it's good. It's nowhere near as great as the first one but it still has the same atmosphere, the same feel, and it's definitely a solid sequel.
With a strong performance by Mark Patton, likeable characters, a still scary villain, and cool visuals, Freddy's revenge Is a great addition to the nightmare franchise.
P.S. Check out Jesse's Lost Journal written by Mark Patton, it's very insightful and very interesting once you read it. Here's the Link:

My last word: Totally worth-watching 


No comments: