Despite the poster’s tagline about saving the best for last, the sixth film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series is nothing short of a franchise killer. So horrendously bad there doesn’t seem to be any redeeming qualities to the film although there’s an actual interesting seed of an idea regarding Freddy’s offspring.
Filled with errors caused by a truncated runtime and a shoddy script, not to mention the inclusion of some shoddy 3-D work Freddy’s Dead is a mess from start to finish. Long gone is Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) as an actual horror monster. At this point in the series, the creators are more satisfied to have him run around in a gentler version of his burn makeup and have him behave in a very cartoon-like manner.
Filled with cameos, some of note, others better best forgotten, the film tries to set up a bit of a dystopian future, though it only applies to Springwood. There are no kids or teenagers and the adults seem to wander in a delusional semi-dream state.
When a kid, a John Doe (Shon Greenblatt) shows up in a nearby town he’s taken to a youth therapy center where he meets Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane) and Doc (Yaphet Kotto). He’s been on the run for some time and has been trying to escape Freddy’s reach. The dream monster has kept him alive for a reason, John believes it is because he’s Krueger’s child, Krueger has other ideas.
There is some interesting backstory for Freddy in this, filling out what has gone before. The downside is the introduction of the possessed tadpole creations of the dream demons that make a bargain with Freddy before he meets his demise at the hands of the Elm Street parents.
There are flaws everywhere in the film. Why wouldn’t the demons give Freddy power beyond Springwood? Perhaps that’s the catch-22 of living forever. You’re immortal but you’re stuck in one place.
The film is silly and delivers an ending for the franchise that does the entire series a disservice. With little to no character development, an idea improperly executed and a tilt towards the comedic instead of the horrific, Freddy’s Dead feels like it was hobbled before it even got to the theatre.
As enjoyable as Englund is as Krueger, the fact is they made him too cartoon-like instead of layering out the character, which is what the backstory wanted to do but is incapable of connecting because of those aspects. There’s a disconnect almost like there are two separate tales that got meshed together and forced to fit, poorly, into a ninety-minute runtime.
I’ve watched this one three times now; once when it first came out, a second time when I picked up the Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray collection, and finally just now. I don’t plan on delving into it again because ugh.