A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge - Five years have passed since Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was sent howling back to hell. But now, a new kid on Elm Street is being haunted every night by gruesome visions of the deadly dream stalker. And if his twisted soul takes possession of the boy's body, Freddy will return from the dead to wreak bloody murder and mayhem upon the entire town.
When A Nightmare On Elm Street made a killing, horror fans shrieked for more. Soon the diabolic Freddy was resurrected with a vengeance -- along with some of the most terrifying special effects ever to spatter the screen. Look for Robert Englund minus his Freddy face in the opening sequence. He's a real scream!
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - Born the bastard son of a hundred maniacs, demented killer Freddy Krueger is back for fresh victims in this hallucinatory shocker co-written by original creator Wes Craven (Scream 1, 2 and 3).
The last of the Elm Street kids are now at a psychiatric ward where Freddy haunts their dreams with unspeakable horrors. Their only hope is dream researcher and fellow survivor Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp of the original Nightmare), who helps them battle the supernatural psycho on his own hellish turf.
Starring Patricia Arquette (Bringing Out The Dead, Stigmata) and Academy Award-nominee Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Hoodlum), "Dream Warriors is both a horrific and hysterical trip!" (L.A. Herald-Examiner).
After the immense success of Craven's 'Nightmare,' New Line exec Robert Shaye took advantage of its commercial appeal with this poorly-conceived follow-up. In fact, this is the one movie of the entire franchise seen by many, including its own creators, as the best-forgotten stain on Freddy's history. Part of the problem is the attempt to stray from Craven's clear guidelines of the Freddy Krueger mythos, something which later installments try to correct. Working from a script by newcomer David Chaskin, director Jack Sholder proudly brought the killer out of the dream world and into reality, taking it even further by involving a possession/psychological element that ultimately seems silly. Nevertheless, there are a few aspects worth appreciating in this sequel.
One of them, which evolves into the franchise's signature trademark, is Freddy's god complex and his witty, cynical one-liners just before killing his victims. None of it is quite as blatant or wholly humorous as others in the series, but we can see the makings of a beloved and celebrated horror icon in this sequel. His interactions with Jesse (Mark Patton) are a bit comical and twisted, though Sholder's direction maintains a certain level of spookiness throughout. Freddy also displays a playful, maniacal side to his reign of terror, enjoying the many ways he toys with his victims. Unfortunately, much of this seems defeated in a script that drags in several places with conversations questioning Jesse's mental health. Too much about Jesse and not enough time spent with Freddy.
Another troubling aspect of 'Freddy's Revenge' is the removal of a central female protagonist. On the surface, it seems like a silly notion to gripe about, but as this movie proves, watching one's dream violated by a child murderer is more terrifyingly effective with a character like Nancy. With Jesse, the story carries an underlying implication of homoeroticism and a teen struggling with sexual identity. Much of this goes in line with the plot's psychological element and one prominent scene showing Jesse unable to be affectionate with Lisa (Kim Myers). The whole affair simply takes away from the movie's fear factor and is worsened by the idea that Nancy's former house contains the ghost of Freddy Kruger. In the end, the sequel is really the least memorable of the 'Nightmare' franchise. (Movie Rating: 2/5)
Things improve drastically with the third installment, which brings back the franchise's creator Wes Craven back to write a screenplay that makes better use of Freddy's mastery over the dream world. The previous movie never really took advantage of this concept and its imaginative possibilities, so from its opening moments Craven's story seems determined to do precisely that. It also features a central female character in a very young Patricia Arquette as Kristen, and like Nancy, the teen has a distant relationship with her mother that coincides with a sleeping disorder. However, those issues are lightly gleaned over in favor of what fans really want. Right from the start, 'Dream Warriors' makes itself known as a slasher horror flick about nightmares with Freddy at the center of it all.
It's easy to gather that Craven aimed the second sequel as the franchise's return to its origins and make the last entry a forgotten dream. Freddy doesn't just haunt one kid, but chases after a group of teens fearing the one place where they should feel safest. Upping the ante, the kids are a troubled motley of psychiatric patients with highly active imaginations, allowing for director Chuck Russell to be wonderfully creative with each nightmare sequence. This is where Freddy's warped sense of humor is solidified, showing that he enjoys taunting his victims in ingenious and often hilariously ironic ways. And Englund loves every minute of it. With this in place, 'Dream Warriors' also takes a moment to give Freddy a bit more history and background, revealing he's "the bastard son of a hundred maniacs."
Craven's story idea, which was later tightened up a bit more by Frank Darabont ('The Walking Dead,' 'The Shawshank Redemption') in one of his earliest industry jobs, makes a further connection to the first movie by having the kids be "the last of the Elm Street children." It's a bit of a stretch to be sure, but nicely rectified with Heather Langenkamp reprising her role as Nancy Thompson, now working as a therapist and sleep specialist. Demonstrating Freddy's power to control the dreams of others doesn't hurt either. Nonetheless, it's all part of a master plan as fans watch Nancy's father (John Saxon) and her coworker (Craig Wasson) try to locate Freddy's remains in an auto salvage yard. Basically, Craven intended to bring any possibility of a franchise to a screeching halt, but fortunately for us horror maniacs, that attempt failed. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Warner Brothers offers 'Freddy's Revenge' and 'Dream Warriors' on the same Region Free, BD50 disc and housed inside a blue eco-case. At startup, viewers are taken to a split screen where they can pick their movie of choice, followed by a main menu with a still and music.
Krueger returns with a very good 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that greatly improves upon past incarnations. The nicely-defined picture shows a strong, stable contrast level, giving it a sharp, crisp appeal with lots of visible information. Fine object and textural detailing is surprisingly good with hardly a scene dropping in quality. Blacks are also consistent and quite energetic, providing some nice depth of field throughout, and dark, murky shadows are rarely problematic. Colors, especially greens and reds, are vibrant and richly saturated without appearing artificial or affecting flesh tones in a horribly negative way. Overall, the sequel looks great in HD. (Video Rating: 3.5/5)
The second sequel, which makes a far better follow-up than the previous movie, unfortunately gets the shaft with this average and somewhat problematic AVC-encoded transfer. While a few scenes look pretty good on occasion, fine object and textural details are often blurry and lack any clear, distinct sharpness. There are also many moments when resolution significantly drops, ruining overall definition to a greater degree. Contrast and brightness feels about right for a horror flick of this age, but they're unexciting and a bit flat nonetheless. Colors are appear accurate as well, but don't seem to benefit much from the upgrade. The image also shows a thin grain structure that's consistent. The biggest distraction, however, is the noticeable telecine judder every time the camera slowly pans, which is worst in the first half than the second. In the end, 'Dream Warriors' doesn't look all that great in HD. (Video Rating: 2/5)
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, unfortunately, doesn't impress as well as the video. It's not wholly terrible, just rather plain and conventional. Vocals are nicely prioritized and intelligible, making Jesse's funny screeches perfectly audible and piercing. The rest of the soundstage is also contained mostly in the center of the screen. There's hardly any movement throughout while the mid-range often feels limited and narrow. The same goes for the low-frequency effects, which are used on occasion but lack a great deal of power and depth. The musical score is scarcely heard in the back speakers, often feeling somewhat forced and a tad distracting. If engineers had kept this in the original mono, the lossless mix would probably be better. (Audio Rating: 3/5)
For the audio, those disturbed kids sound better than they look with this very good DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Dialogue reproduction is clean and precise in the center while the other two channels provide lots of fun off-screen effects, which open and widen the soundstage. The lossless mix displays plenty of sharp detailing in the mid and upper frequencies. The low-end, however, doesn't offer much even though it's audible in the several scenes requiring deep bass. Although the design is mostly presented as a stereo presentation, as it should, it does offer a bit of activity in the rear speakers. Other than a few, very distant atmospherics, the musical score spreads into the back smoothly and nicely enhances the soundfield, making this a very enjoyable high-rez track. (Audio Rating: 3.5/5)
Warner ports over the same set of special features found on the DVD boxset from a few years back.
Dubbed the 2-Movie Collection, Warner Home Video offers Freddy fans the next two sequels in the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' series on Blu-ray. Though 'Freddy's Revenge' falls incredibly short of its predecessor's scare factor or logic, part two has some interesting ideas filmmakers tried to explore. 'Dream Warriors' brings the franchise back to its rightful place and expands on the Freddy character with some very creative dream sequences. Picture quality on both movies is not exactly going to wow anyone, but they're a slight upgrade from their DVD counterparts. The audio presentation fares better though still not by much. Supplements are the same as before, but devoted fans are probably better off waiting for the inevitable high-def boxset and collect all seven films.