This second Nightmare On Elm Street sequel stretches the boundaries of 1980s horror to new limits with wildly inventive and brilliantly executed mayhem from director Chuck Russell.
Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) has blossomed into a psychiatrist specialising in dream disorders, John Thompson has hung up his handcuffs and moved out of town, and Freddy Krueger is still Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).
A group of seven teens (“the last kids of Elm Street”) – who have all been terrorised by Krueger and attempted suicide – are being housed at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital.
Thanks to the psychic ability of Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette), the seven youngsters take part in a controlled experiment where they enter each other’s nightmares on a time-share basis to exorcise his malevolent spirit from the corridors of their dream psyches.
Rudely fateful endings await some of the teens. Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow), who wants more than anything to be on TV, gets her wish rather sooner than expected when Freddy turns up as an uninvited guest on The Dick Cavett Show (the invited guest is Zsa Zsa Gabor) and helps the television set grow arms and ram the young girl’s head into it.
Joey (Rodney Eastman), who fancies one of the nurses, is plunged into a seemingly ‘real’ seduction before we learn that Freddy is the culprit.
The final magnificent battle takes place on two fronts: in the car wreckers where Freddy’s bones are buried and in the labyrinthine basement of Nancy’s old house. Freddy can literally be everywhere at once.
The cutting between the two is very impressive, as are some of the effects in the basement – in particular a hall of mirrors, any of which Freddy can appear in to grab one of the kids.
In fact, the movie is full of great special effects (a Freddy snake, a possessed TV set, a bondage victim lashed to a bed by human tongues, veins used as puppet strings) and with Freddy’s pre-history filled in very satisfyingly, this is a rollercoaster ride from the opening Edgar Allan Poe quotation (about the relationship between sleep and death) to the final Ray Harryhausen homage.
Dr Elizabeth Simms
Dr Neil Goldman