Written by Josh Brewer, April 28, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Title: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare
Director: Rachel Talalay
Writer: Michael DeLuca, Rachel Talalay
Release Date: September 13th, 1991
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Yaphet Kotto, Lezlie Deane, Shon Greenblatt, Breckin Meyer, Ricky Dean Logan
Freddy spends part of a movie trying to off the last of the Elm Street children and a slew of abused teens. He’s not that successful and spends the rest of the flick being silly. Oh, and family drama. We get family drama as well. Yep…
So, that fell apart quickly. After parts 4 and 5 stared to slip down the quality slope, Freddy’s Dead comes along and pushes the series right to the bottom. Most of the high points of the series, the
effects, Freddy killing teens, etc., take a back seat to a bunch of boring family drama and some weird dream demon mumbo jumbo. This puppy rides long on the plot and short on everything else that might keep an audience interested.
The most damning part of the flick falls to the story line. Where the previous films manage to stay loosely connected, Freddy’s Dead strikes off on its own, ignoring the pieces that have come before it. While this isn’t always a bad idea, we’re doing it again next time, here it just doesn’t work. Even Freddy’s backstory ends up being changed, resulting in a weaker overall narrative. And why is going around killing not Elm Street kids? I’m pretty sure that’s the goal right? And once the twist kicks in, it makes even less sense.
And sure, we get a few cool bits. The kills- of which there are like three- go from solid to nifty while the visuals often stand out. But the whole thing ends up as a lack luster comedy, not a horror flick. Things feel more like a cartoon than a live action film, Freddy is about as scary as a mime, and the lack of tension that dominated the last film is back with a vengeance. The entire episode drips with terrible ideas and questionable execution.
As a final thought, one of the issues I have with the film focuses on Freddy’s victims. In the past he’s either focused on the children of his enemies, Parts 1 and 3, or those who have stood up to challenge him, Parts 4 and 5, but here he focuses his attacks on victims of abuse. He even goes as far as to torment them with their past abuses before killing them. Englund has mentioned that one of these was his favorite kill in the series. I don’t have any issue with it, but I wish it was an idea that had been expanded upon and embraced. It falls outside of the scope of the film and, when compared to the cartoon-y nature of the rest of the flick, seems thrown away. You can’t match child abuse with cartoons and expect it to work, especially when it’s done this poorly.
Logan and Meyer give solid shows, while Greenblatt seems hit or miss. Deane starts annoying and doesn’t get any better throughout the flick; I’m not sure why Freddy doesn’t off her. Genre favs Englund and Kotto stand out, though they both seem wasted in this flick. Englund has watched Freddy become ball-less over the last three films and this is no different. Kotto seems to be in the wrong film. And Zane is super uneven. ANOES hasn’t had the strongest actors as the final girl and this puppy ain’t an exception.
I’m not saying it’s only point and shoot, but there ain’t much else. Every once in a while, Freddy’s Dead does something interesting, but the dream logic, surrealist visuals that dominated the series can’t be found. The tension can’t be bothered to hang around and the narrative seems lost. That, plus the strange, wacky humor, make for a weak first film from Talalay.
The interesting characters die, the boring ones hang around, and a few others don’t seem to belong in the flick. The single interesting twist doesn’t make up for a weak offering in terms of character and dialog while the set pieces, even if they are interesting, number way too low. When the slasher series start to get desperate, they reach for family members to face off against the slasher villain. While this can work, Halloween and Scream do it right, most of the time the effort falls flat. And here, it’s pretty much two dimensional.
Ain’t half bad, but the film seems kind of empty. Sure, the 3-D could have helped, but this puppy doesn’t seem to interesting in doing anything fun. The few kills that make it into the flick rock, so that helps.
Freddy Power Glove! Product placement for the win!
Retcon-ing the series to change the rules of Elm Street and trying to justify this mess of a story. Yep. That’s a lowlight.
Listen, I love ANOES; it’s my favorite of the slasher series. But this isn’t it. Freddy’s Dead works as a sad sack trying to take the series in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Whoever though this was a good idea should have hung it up.