Horror Becomes Her - Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.
I had only seen the original Nightmare on Elm Street and had only heard in passing about how the series became more comic and self-aware in tone and so did Freddy. So it would make sense that Freddy’s Dead almost completely fails as a horror movie. There’s way too much pandering to young audiences with the clearly adult actors trying to act “hip to the kids” and “down with the lingo.” The fact that it was presented partly in 3-D and there’s even a scene that signals to the audience to put on their 3-D glasses is just par for the course for how desperately this movie wants to seem current, which, of course, makes it seem all the more dated so many years later.
It might be better to treat this movie as what it has become, a relic of the late 80’s/early 90’s and also as a straight up comedy/parody. In fact, Robert Englund is clearly having a blast playing Freddy, especially since he’s so invincible for most of this movie. He literally toys with Breckin Meyer’s character by putting him in a video game, and we get to see Meyer go all Mario. I don’t know how intentional it was on director Rachel Talalay, but this movie basically capitalizes on what the franchise had devolved into or what made the whole franchise entertaining, depending on your point of view. It’s all about the entertaining kills, which are often staged as elaborate set pieces, and Freddy taunting his victims. And that’s enough to make this movie a campily entertaining watch.