Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Frank Review of "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare"

Oh, where to begin? As I've mentioned in the past, I was quite the little pussy when it came to horror movies, avoiding them almost entirely until I was 9 or so. The primary boogieman to bust my cherry after that point was Fred Krueger mom, Fred Krueger. I think I caught most of the second installment on video first, when my hands weren't over my eyes, then progressed to the third installment on the big screen. I then tracked back to the first, which by that point seemed a bit slow moving and lacked the humor of the follow-ups. By the time I saw the fourth episode at the movies, I'd become disenchanted. I'd really enjoyed the "Dream Warriors," and the next batch of victims seemed awfully whitebread by comparison. Also, the gags seemed to detract from already unimpressive kills. I waited until the dollar cinema for my fifth serving, which came off as overly grim and excessively gory, even by my now elevated standards. The final Freddy movie, at least the Earth-2 version, I caught first run for the 3-D.

To this day, "Freddy's Dead" is the only movie ever I saw on the silver screen in the chessy anaglyphic format with the dorky red/blue cardboard glasses. At the time, I remember being bored by everything that led up to the 3-D sequence, but wowed by the finale. Today, even using the 3-D specs I had lying around the house, the experience was consistent in its banality. Suddenly, I remember why I stopped giving a crap about Freddy Krueger as a character.

Robert Englund is sleepwalking through this thing, and his dialogue in this flick was at the series' nadir. Director Rachael Talalay has the thing lit and filmed like a sitcom, so there's never a hint of horror in the preceedings, outside of the cameos. The film is full of thirty-second shots of star power that would rip you right out of the movie, if you'd ever been able to invest anything into it. Roseanne and Tom Arnold, Breckin Meyer, Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper-- make it stop! I'd like to think the 3-D process necessitated this look and feel, but as Talalay's went straight to tv after "Tank Girl," I figure she's just plain awful.

The acting in this one is also particularly lousy, with only the always fun Lisa Zane showing any spunk, though at times she seems to be confused about not having been cast in a 40's screwball comedy. I also enjoyed Yaphet Kotto, not because he brought much here, but just because he's Yaphet Kotto. Otherwise, avoid if at all possible. Terrible kills, awful effects, lame story-- and this is by horror movie standards, kids. There's even a clip feature over the credits nicely illustrating how suprior every other installment of the series was to this finale.

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