Thinking about it, there can only be so long that a killer in a slasher film can go on. Soon enough, people would adapt, or they would run out of victims. What would happen if the likes of Freddy, or Jason, got their way? The results wouldn’t be sustainable. In 1991, the final bell tolled as audiences got to grips with Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.
10 years after the relentless campaign of child-killing, Kruger, the town of Springwood, has been dramatically impacted by the hopeless onslaught. Forcing the area to take some drastic steps. The only surviving Springwood youth is currently safely outside the city, out of the reach of Freddy. This amnesic teen currently residing in a centre for similar children. After he and a couple of his friends end up trying to hitch to California, they end up in the care of Dr Burroughs, who discovers a link between the teen and the fateful Ohio community. Spearheading a trip there to get to the bottom of their identity. Will this group, consisting of, a mysterious teen, his wayward friends and their guide finally put an end, once and for all, to Freddy?
For the final outing, The Final Nightmare pulls out all the stops. As the ever-intriguing dreamscapes the franchise has been mastering, increase in their memorable menace. One prolonged sequence involving audio-based horror. Along with a lengthy video-game-inspired sequence that is more than worth it to hear Kruger say “Now you’re playing with power”. The audience also gets some scenes depicting pre-burn Freddy, filling in a lot of the backstory of the character.
The residents of Springwood have grown in their eccentricities, as the scars of the child killings are all too apparent. Now drawn to the skeletal town, a peculiar place, filled with lumbering adults counting the clock until they all pass on. You might even recognise a few, with Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold (in a fun little cameo). As the group explores dust-covered classrooms, filled with memorials of all the students lost to Freddy. For a lack of a better term, the atmosphere is very odd. A continuation of the dream-like atmosphere that the films have masterfully propelled. It helps the slasher stand out, of course, from its competition, and the other Nightmares that came before. We even get a return to the house that started all this, and a couple of familiar faces are shown on the screen, with pseudonyms of course. It is also wonderful that Johnny Depp could return (albeit in a brief cameo, since he helped propel the franchise), showing that the series is committed to one last hurrah. (Although there’s no Nancy, although we aren’t done with her just yet).
So here it is, after five fabulous films, the child killer’s swansong! As such, The Final Nightmare manages to hit the high notes of all the series before. Offering new and interesting characters to match Krueger’s impeccable wit and inventive kills. Resulting in a satisfying conclusion to the whole saga. One that’s both sentimental and beguiling, not necessarily what you’d expect but, oddly, it fits, as with the surreal quality and a testament to the franchise’s unbroken streak of keeping things captivating until the end. While some will go out with a bang, The Final Nightmare goes out with so much more!
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