2 StarsThe supposed last entry into the Nightmare on Elm Street film cannon is in actuality the 6th and not final installment. Theater-goers in 1991 (myself included) got the mind-expanding experience of witnessing the primitive 3-D techniques employed during the film’s last 10 minutes. This much buzzed about sequence concludes with Freddy’s head exploding in a (hoped for) three-dimensional effect. Mind, this movie predates Avatar by 18 years, and the mastery of the technology still hadn’t developed, but the intended effect (kinda) worked for the time period. The visual gimmick and some noted cameos from Elm St. alumnus Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold give The Final Nightmare an offbeat campy vibe that doesn’t mix well with the very serious scenes involving abuse, child murders and mental dysfunction.
Krueger’s own daughter, Maggie (Lisa Zane) is now a grown woman, who spends her days working as a psychologist at a center for troubled juveniles. One day, a new patient stumbles in seemingly high and incoherent, but he recalls a story about a figure haunting his dreams and stalking him. This strikes a chord with Maggie and before long the woman has dead teenagers all around her. This leads to the doctor teaming with a fellow colleague (Yaphet Kotto) and a handful of tough misfit teenagers to once again, battle and kill the demonic Freddy Krueger.
Longtime New Line Cinema and Nightmare vet Rachel Talalay is handed the directing reins, she proves herself capable of delivering a ‘playable’ movie. The creative highpoint is still The Dream Master, and while this sequel is a better experience than The Dream Child, that installment at least had some memorable visuals and attempted to further the Krueger mythology. This entry’s two most effective scenes are in relation to Freddy’s horrific childhood experiences. If The Final Nightmare had stuck with more of these sequences it could have been a return to form for a series that had grown campy and creatively empty at this point.
Director: Rachel Talalay
Stars: Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Yaphet Kotto