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  Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Not Quite The Farewell Performance
Year: 1991
Director: Rachel Talalay
Stars: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Shon Greenblatt, Lezlie Deane, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer, Yaphet Kotto, Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr, Elinor Donahue, Johnny Depp, Cassandra Rachel Friel, David Dunard, Marilyn Rockafellow, Virginia Peters, Alice Cooper
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ten years after Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) began his reign of terror in the nightmares of the town of Springwood, and the population has not a single child or teenager left in it: except for one (Shon Greenblatt), and he's trying to get away. In fact, at this moment he's in an aeroplane flying over the town, but he's a nervous passenger, not helped by the storm raging in the skies outside and the fact that the stewardess won't allow him to change his window seat. When the grumpy woman sitting next to him is thrown out the roof of the plane, and when he falls out the bottom, it's clear he's dreaming - but Freddy has big plans for him.

Wow, remember when the last ever Nightmare on Elm Street movie came out? Before all the subsequent Nightmare on Elm Street movies came out? Nobody was surprised when Freddy's Dead failed to live up to its title, and was more like the supposed "Final Chapter" of the Friday the 13th series which appeared halfway through its run, which made the way that the film went through the motions with such plodding duty all the more dispiriting. For some, this was as bad as it got as far as the sequels went, but it really wasn't terrible, simply oddly unambitious for a movie that was trumpeted as the grand send off.

A grand send off for a character who had amassed a fortune for New Line, the studio which released the franchise, let's not forget, but the best gimmick they could think up for this was a sequence at the end shown in 3D, something which might have been novel in 1991 when hardly any films were being made in the format, but somewhat scuppered for British cinema audiences when the glasses turned out to be faulty and the last fifteen minutes were a nasty blur. The distributor tried to make up for this by putting the movie out in Britain with that sequence intact on video, but the effects didn't work too well in the home either.

But what of the story leading up to that? In spite of being set in the future, we didn't get any flying cars or meals in pill form, just the usual stuff as if ten years had not passed at all. The idea of Springwood as a wasteland where the remaining grownups have been rendered insane by the loss of their offspring was a good one, but nothing was done with it save for a few scenes set in tumbledown, autumnal streets. Our last teen survivor, who doesn't look a day under twenty-five as per the tradition of this type of horror movie, cannot recall who he is, but what he doesn't know when he turns up at the hostel for damaged teens is that Freddy has sent him out in to the wide world with a mission.

Whereas last time we saw him, Krueger was trying to possess an unborn baby, here it turns out he has a child of his own who he was separated from when the authorities took it away, which we're meant to believe has been a source of simmering resentment for all this time, in spite of never being mentioned before. But that's the mark of a series getting caught up on piling on the mythology and backstory without regard to its true strengths, by keeping it simple as Wes Craven had done in the original. Therefore, as usual, you find yourself waiting around in the presence of these bad tempered characters to see how they will be attacked by the villain, with at least a measure of imagination going into those sequences - the hearing aid one is probably the part you'll best recall. With a mystery that anybody paying paying the slightest bit of attention could work out, there was too much of the tired act taking the stage yet again, a comeback with no new material. Music by Brian May.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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