Friday, November 27, 2020

Run

Movie Name:
Run
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Starring: Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Pat Healy, Sara Sohn, Erik Athavale
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Following his well received feature directorial debut, coincidentally named "Following", director Aneesh Chaganty returns with an interesting exercise in suspense. The film follows the story of Diane Sherman, who at the beginning of the film we witness giving birth. 17 years later we witness Diane and her daughter Chloe going through the motion of their daily habits, which have quite a few challenges since Chloe is afflicted with a series of medical issues which have made her dependent of her mom's help. Nonetheless Chloe is very intelligent, resourceful, and has been waiting on the status of her application for the University of Washington. Her mom controls the incoming mail, as well as always keeps tabs on the medication Chloe has to take. Chloe notices a new pill added to her stack, and upon further investigation she uncovers that the pill is actually destined for dogs and causes leg paralysis on humans. As her mom drugs her and locks her in the room, Chloe's suspicions mount that something is not right, and she manages to get out and secure the help of a DHL driver, that is until her mom comes back and after confronting him, kills him. As Chloe is once again imprisoned, she discovers more information on Diane, and her past, which force her to take some dramatic decisions in order to escape.
"Run" has some faint echoes from Rob Reiner's "Misery" and even some parallels to some of Fritz Bohm's "Wildling", in the sense that for the most part, it is in fact a two person chamber type of feature. It is also a film where the suspense is suppose to tighten as one the characters uncovers a series of elements that indicates that not all is what it seems. However, it's a film where once again the characters don't have much dimension to them, with Kiera Allen's Chloe in particular, going from innocent daughter, to embittered avenging angel in a blip, even if this change of heart is directed towards the deranged person who has taken care of her all her life (if there is indeed some conflict on her part, it's very much quickly brushed aside, with not much emotional scars apparently left). Sarah Paulson tries her best to give the part the dimension of a Piper Laurie performance as Margaret White in Brian De Palma's "Carrie", where her conviction of saving her daughter topples everything and everyone that comes in contact with them, but  her character's motivation is paper thin. The film and the script fails to give much dimension to the characters - it tries to be an exercise in suspense, therefore taut in character definition, drinking from the B-movie type of architecture, though it lacks conviction in doing so, and for that matter, style. The film could definitely benefit from someone's vision such as Brian De Palma or even John Dahl, but as it is, it's a somewhat forgettable endeavor, that even the excellent Sarah Paulson can't save. 

Happiest Season

Movie Name:
Happiest Season
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Clea DuVall
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Levy, Mary Holland, Sarayu Blue, Caroline Harris, Jenny Gulley, Jake McDorman, Ana Gasteyer, Burl Moseley, Dominique Allen Lawson
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
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Synopsis and Review:
Actress/Writer/Producer/Director Clea DuVall sophomore directorial effort "Happiest Season", following her well received debut "The Intervention", is a take on the romantic comedy, but this time around centered on a lesbian couple. The film follows the story of Abby and Harper, a couple who has been together for some time, but who for the first time since living together, decide to go to Harper's family house for the Holidays (Abby's parents are both deceased). The glitch revolves around the fact that the family is unaware that Harper is gay and think Abby is her straight roommate. They decide to embark on the adventure of maintaining that lie, at least until after the holidays when Harper can come out to her parents (her father is intent on running for Mayor). Things however start taking some detours, as Harper's parents and sisters, throw a series of unexpected events in their direction, including ex-boyfriends, trips to the mall that result in shoplifting and even ex-girlfriends. It all comes to a climax during the family's Holiday party, where some not so well hidden lies pop out, threatening to shatter not just Abby and Harper's relationship, but Harper's family itself.
"Happiest Season" has some dashes/sprinkles of Jodie Foster's "Home for the Holidays" and even Richard Curtis's "Love Actually", but it decides to juggle the tropes of the romantic comedy, by centering its focus on a same sex couple. Whereas the introduction to the couple and their dynamics goes smoothly, as the supporting characters come into play, the darkness of some situations come into play, but are never given enough room to create an engaging scenario, one that can precipitate the inevitable epiphany that comes at the end of the arc/narrative. Some scenarios are indeed deftly played upon, such as Jane's quirkiness, however and for the most part, a large percentage of them are left unattended or lightly touched upon, such as Harper's character foibles of the past, or for that matter, Tipper's overbearing personality or Sloane's lingering darkness. Another issue of course is the fact that the supposedly comedic aspect of the film, provided in this case by Mary Holland's Jane and Dan Levy's John, aren't given much screen time, or much opportunity to actually be funny (though Dan Levy makes the most of what he can with his limited screen time). What's indeed left is a somewhat dour film, one that can't really make up its mind where it wants to be, one that almost plays out as a pilot for a TV show, where its leads are indeed compelling even  (or possibly because of) with their flaws, but that don't get to show much dimension to their characters, or for that matter, the humor that is needed in a romantic comedy. The cast is populated with great actors, including Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, but they end up playing their characters always in the same register. It's not a terrible film, but ultimately it's not a very memorable one either. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Easy A

Movie Name:
Easy A
Year of Release: 2010
Director: Will Gluck
Starring: Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Amanda Bynes, Cam Gigandet, Penn Badgley, Dan Byrd, Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka, Fred Armisen, Jameson Moss
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Will Gluck followed his feature directorial debut, "Fired Up!" with the film that finally put him on the map, "Easy A", coincidentally also the first produced script from its writer, Bert V. Royal. The film follows the story of Olive, a high school student, who fares fairly well in her academic pursuits, has supportive and relaxed parents, but who for the most part, flies under the radar at school. Everything changes when a little lie about her losing her virginity gets known throughout school, spiraling out of control, and having ramifications she didn't foresee. All of a sudden bullied kids come to her for credibility, and while initially she makes a few bucks as a result, she loses friendships, and eventually ends up being seen as a sort of Hester Prynne, the central character from "The Scarlet Letter", a book she's actually studying and learning about in her English classes.
"Easy A" for all its diverse cast of characters and wonderful cast assembled, is still at its essence a teen film, one that tries to wink at the audience and be a dash smarter than the ones in this category, essentially by referencing other teen films, some classic books, and generally being slightly meta about the whole situation. The main problem with the film is that despite all this apparent snark, the film lacks a distinct point of view on all the topics it tackles, namely female sexuality, sexual diversity and even parental relationships. Whereas Olivia Wilde's "Booksmart" smartly tackled a tighter knitted relationship ecosystem and exposed so much of the habits of teenagers as they veer towards adulthood, "Easy A" borderlines on a sitcom style of depicting relationships, which are for the most part devoid of any sense of anguish. The film is mostly watchable thanks to the wonderful cast that it assembles, with particular highlights going for Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci and Thomas Haden Church. Ultimately it's not a terrible film, but not a very memorable one either. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

After Hours

Movie Name:
After Hours
Year of Release: 1985
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Teri Garr, Catherine O'Hara, Linda Fiorentino, Verna Bloom, John Heard, Victor Argo, Cheech Marin, Will Patton, Tommy Chong, Dick Miller, Robert Plunket, Bronson Pinchot
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After the wonderful "King of Comedy" fizzled at the box office, director Martin Scorsese took a brief hiatus, before bouncing back with "After Hours", which premiered in October of 1985 and later on went to the Cannes Film Festival where it eventually won the award for Best Director (in 1986). The film follows the story of Paul Hackett, a word processor who lives in Manhattan. While in a coffee shop he starts a conversation with the beautiful Marcy, who invites him to come downtown to a place she shares with an artist friend of hers, who creates sculptures. Later in the evening, after giving it some thought, Paul calls Marcy and decides to come for a visit. On his way downtown, he loses all his pocket money (save for a few cents). Once at Marcy's place, he meets Kiki the artist, however the more he chats with Marcy, the more he realizes there's a lot going in her life, and his interest dwindles. When he tries to go home using the subway, he discovers the fare has gone up, and he doesn't have enough money to pay for it. He goes to a nearby bar in the hopes of getting enough change, but once there, he catches the eye of Julie, the waitress, while the bartender, Tom who actually tries to help him, can't due to the cash register being locked. As the evening goes Paul continuously meet more people, and the situations become increasingly more surreal, with him eventually being confused for a burglar, and having to escape a furious mob hot on his trail.
"After Hours" may be one of the most singular films in director Martin Scorsese's career, in the sense that is a dark comedy, but one where his more typical themes and universe are largely absent. Something that still pervades throughout the film though, is the central character and his journey, a hero much like many in his films, a man who is flawed and who is attempting to get home, and yet everything seems to be conspiring against him. What is so incredibly comical about the narrative, is the layer of despair Paul increasingly exhibits, with his attempts to getting home constantly being thwarted by these offbeat characters he comes in contact with. And also how so many of these situations end up being tied to each other. It's a film that makes New York just as much of a character as the small microcosms of artists and irreverent characters the film is populated by. If anything, the film ends up leaving without much information on those supporting characters, some of whom are truly fascinating. The cast is uniformly great, with Griffin Dunne making for a great central hero, with wonderful support from Catherine O'Hara, Teri Garr, John Heard and Rosanna Arquette. The camera work from the late Michael Ballhaus is formidable, as is the great production design from Jeffrey Townsend. A great film always worth revisiting.

Body Double

Movie Name:
Body Double
Year of Release: 1984
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Craig Wasson, Gregg Henry, Melanie Griffith, Deborah Shelton, Dennis Franz, Guy Boyd, Al Israel, Douglas Warhit, Russ Marin, Barbara Crampton
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Brian De Palma had a turbulent start to the 80s. The wonderful "Blow Out" (which has since then been re-evaluated and hailed as a masterpiece) failed to gain much traction with an audience, whereas "Scarface" while doing well enough at the box office, had mixed reviews. "Body Double" was a return to De Palma's universe, with a script of his own, taking place in the world of film, and toying with the notion of mistaken identities and someone's murder (his Hitchcockian legacy). The film follows the story of Jake, a young actor who is involved in a low budget film, a job he soon loses due to his crippling claustrophobia. His personal life is also crumbling, since his girlfriend is having an affair with someone else. Looking for a place to stay, Jake casually meets the charismatic Sam, another actor, who is leaving town and needs someone to check on his house while he's away. While getting Jake acquainted with the house, Sam introduces him to a neighbor, a beautiful woman who according to Sam does this sexy routine, every evening, before going to bed. Jakes becomes fascinated by her, and starts following her, soon realizing she's also being targeted by someone else, a man who has some sinister intent. As the situation has a dramatic turn, Jake starts putting pieces together, of how he was brought on into a situation that has more to it than he originally anticipated.
"Body Double" has some tints of inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" obviously, with the double identity of the central female character, but also the crippling phobia from the hero. However De Palma, manages to smartly mix the game by placing the action in the film community, giving some insight not only into the milieu, but also toying with the idea of what is real and what is not. He manages to capture the atmosphere of B-movies perfectly, the same going for the rabbit hole of investigation that he takes his central character on, particularly as he discovers Holly and the universe in which she works. It's a film that manages to have enough suspense, humor and as typical from De Palma's work, a virtuosic camera work and stylistic approach that make it unique and as always, entertaining. The downfall for this stylistic endeavor, ends up being the lack of character definition, even for Jake, who never becomes more than the actor out of work, investigating a murder he witnessed. The characters in general need a bit more dimension, in order to give the film more nuance and resonate a bit more. As it is, it's a stylistic exercise from a unique director, who always manages to create further impact when he sticks close to his universe.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Hannah and Her Sisters

Movie Name:
Hannah and Her Sisters
Year of Release: 1986
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Michael Caine, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Barbara Hershey, Lloyd Nolan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Daniel Stern, Max Von Sydow, Sam Waterston, Dianne Wiest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julie Kavner, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins, J.T. Walsh, Fred Melamed, Joanna Gleason, Tony Roberts, Helen Miller, Leo Postrel
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After the successful "The Purple Rose of Cairo", released in 1985, Woody Allen quickly returned with his yearly feature release, with what turned out to be one of his most critically and commercially successful films, "Hannah and Her Sisters". The film centers around a trio of sisters, with Hannah being the eldest, a somewhat successful actress who is now in her second marriage, with a man named Elliot, a successful financial advisor. Lee, the middle sister, lives with a much older and successful visual artist, though their relationship is strained. The youngest of the sisters, Holly is a struggling actress, who makes ends meet, by running a catering business with her best friend April. As the narrative unfolds, Elliot starts an affair with Lee, while Holly and April cut their business venture short, when a man they're both interested in, gravitates towards April forcing Holly to go in a different direction (she decides to start a writing career). In this microcosms of relationships there's also Mickey, Hannah's hypochondriac first husband, who is a successful TV writer, despite his constant fears of death. As Lee and Elliot's affair comes to a closure, Elliot realizes that Hannah has her vulnerabilities and that his affection and love remains unperturbed, while Lee moves on, while Holly reconnects with Mickey in hopes of some writing feedback.
"Hannah and Her Sisters" in a way crystalizes many of the films that Woody Allen did in the past, but that coalesced perfectly in this tale of three sisters going through relationship hurdles. It's a film that manages to capture the New York milieu envisioned by Woody Allen perfectly, one where everyone is successful or always gives the impression of being successful, living in expansive Manhattan apartments and always connected to the art world. If some of these aspects are somewhat clich├ęs from his work, where the film really reaches a much needed depth, is in the way it tackles the relationship between these well defined characters, establishing a finely tuned web of relationships between all of them, with resentment, emotional withholding, desire and humor permeating across all of them (the first date between Mickey and Holly is hilarious). It's a film that presents a slice of the universe according to its author, showcasing Woody Allen's perspective on love, family, religion, desire, fidelity, all peppered with humor, anguish and great acting from a fantastic ensemble of performers. Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest won the Academy Awards for supporting roles, but Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow, Lloyd Nolan, Max Von Sydow, all create fully realized characters, ones that are truly memorable. The cinematography from Carlo Di Palma is stunning as is the production design from Stuart Wurtzel. A great film always worth revisiting.

Apocalypse Now

Movie Name:
Apocalypse Now
Year of Release: 1979
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall, Harrison Ford, G.D. Spradlin, Jerry Ziesmer, Scott Glenn, James Keane, Colleen Camp, Cynthia Wood, Linda Carpenter, Glenn Walken, Jack Thibeau, George Cantero, Damien Leake
Genre: Drama, War
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 10
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following the acclaim of "The Godfather", "The Conversation" and "The Godfather Part II", writer/producer/director Francis Coppola tackled Joseph Conrad's novella, "Hearts of Darkness", originally envisioned as a project for George Lucas to direct and Coppola to produce. The story focuses on Captain Willard, who is given a special assignment to locate and terminate a Colonel Kurtz, in the middle of the ongoing Vietnam war. Kurt has apparently gone off the deep end, and is leading a cult like type of commune in the deep jungle. Willard is given a crew to go up the river and locate his compound, and execute his mission. While on his journey, Willard and his crew come across a variety of characters and situations, but eventually reach the compound, where what they witness goes beyond what they were led to expect.
"Apocalypse Now" is as well known as the majestic film that it is, but also for all the issues and problems that the shooting experienced (including a heart attack suffered by Martin Sheen). It was a lengthy shoot, riddled with logistical problems, something documented by Eleanor Coppola on camera which eventually made its way to the wonderful and well known documentary, "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" from Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper. The film itself is unlike anything else ever captured on film, a mix of reflection on the horrors (and surreal aspects) of war, the depiction of a dying world (the immigration and French culture which was a part of Indochina and Vietnam), and those who refuse to accept it. It's also a timeless reflection on people coming to terms with the darkest aspects of their personality, and the horrors they unleash upon others when unchecked. It's a journey that Willard takes his crew, and us alongside, through the beauty of a devastated country, one where war and death cohabitate with the recklessness of people who think the events taking place are nothing but a detour on their drug fueled existence, or people who think war is nothing but a pit stop with entertainment coming in every so often. It's an excessive, hyperbolic film, one that captures the drama and even the comical, chaotic aspects of such a war, and does so with such beauty, and a laborious character development, which allows us to learn who those characters are, and what their journey is. Based on the book by Joseph Conrad, "Hearts of Darkness", with the adaptation hailing from Francis Coppola and John Milius, it's a journey not only into uncharted waters, but into the darkness lurking underneath unchecked power. The cinematography from Vittorio Storaro is mesmerizing, as is the entire work of the crew, including the editing from Walter Murch, Gerald B. Greenberg and Lisa Fruchtman and of course the production design of Dean Tavoularis. It's an unforgettable, mesmerizing film, from one of the most accomplished American directors. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Boys in the Band

Movie Name:
The Boys in the Band
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Joe Mantello
Starring: Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Brian Hutchison, Tuc Watkins, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Celebrated actor & director Joe Mantello's first feature since "Love, Valour, Compassion!" (from 1997), is a new adaptation of the play "The Boys in the Band" by Mart Crowley, which had already been adapted into a feature film by William Friedkin in 1970. This new version follows the original very closely, taking place in 1968, as a group of gay men come together to celebrate the birthday party of one of the members of the group. The festivities are taking place on Michael's apartment, and the eclectic group of friends includes the unexpected visit of one of Michael's former college friends, Alan, who is in the throws of some marital challenges. Alan doesn't realize the group is comprised solely of gay men, and during the evening some of his inner turmoil surfaces, as does for many of the men in the group. Some of them debate the meaning of love, fidelity, insecurities, self loathing, all topics that are amplified & magnified when Michael suggests playing a daring game. The game forces a lot of the men in the group to expose themselves, their fears, prompting even Michael to come to terms with his own self questioning and sense of identity.
"The Boys in the Band" can't entirely escape the mantle of the theatrical piece which originated it. It's a verbose play, that captures a brief snapshot of the lives of gay men in the late 60s, just as the sexual liberation of the 70s was around the corner. However, for all its tackling of topics such as fidelity, racism, discrimination, it's a very pertinent look at the current reality of what gay life is in the 21st century. All those topics are still very much a reality, and unresolved by society in general not only in America but across the world. The film works best when it focuses on the closer interactions between the characters, whereas in the group settings, the stage driven nature of the narrative comes forward and removes a layer of authenticity to what is taking place. And for all the virtuosity of the writing, at times it's precisely that layer which creates a certain distance between the characters and what they're trying to represent and emote. It's nonetheless a potent narrative worth witnessing. The cast is uniformly great, but Jim Parsons really manages to command the attention, with good support from Brian Hutchison, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells. The production design from Judy Becker is fantastic, as is the cinematography from the wonderful Bill Pope. Worth watching.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Movie Name:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Year of Release: 1987
Director: Chuck Russell
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig Wasson, Robert Englund, Ken Sagoes, John Saxon, Rodney Eastman, Jennifer Rubin, Bradley Gregg, Laurence Fishburne, Priscilla Pointer, Brooke Bundy, Ira Heiden, Penelope Sudrow, Clayton Landey
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
The third chapter for the Freddy Kruger series marked the return of Wes Craven to the franchise he originated, but was also the debut for a few of the team members, namely director Chuck Russell (who would go on to direct "The Mask", among other features), writer/director Frank Darabont (who went on to write and direct "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile", to name but a few) and acclaimed actress Patricia Arquette. The film resumes the Freddy mythology, previously set forth in the original film, focusing this time around in the few remaining teenagers on Elm Street, the descendants from the parents who originally killed Freddy. These kids are all in a local mental institution, since they are dealing with issues, including substance abuse, self harm, among other issues. They are of course also terrified of their dreams, something they explain repeatedly to their caretakers, who simply think they're being overly dramatic in their statements. Into the Institution comes Kristen, a teenager who has the ability to bring people into her dreams, and eventually Nancy Thompson, now a doctor in training, who of course managed to escape Freddy's lethal attacks, and still does so by relying on a drug that suppresses dreams. Before she has a chance to get the kids to take the medication, Freddy starts his killing spree, with Kristen and Nancy championing and defending the group, while some other members try to eradicate Freddy's menace with a different plan.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" was a return to the mythology Wes Craven created in the first feature, this time around fully embracing its B-movie nature, while simultaneously amping the humor and the horrific parts of the killing of the teenagers. It's also a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, inserting some really interesting visual flourishes, even if the narrative itself is somewhat expected. While the first film had some nuance and ambiguity into what was reality and a dream, this one sheds that aspect, and goes for over the top humor, mixed with some gruesomeness, which makes it more salvageable and ultimately entertaining. It's also from the whole series, the one with the most recognizable cast, including Patricia Arquette, making her debut, and in supporting roles Craig Wasson (from Brian de Palma's "Body Double"), Laurence Fishburne and Priscilla Pointer, and of course Robert Englund, clearly having more fun on this one, not to mention cameos by Dick Cavett and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The overall team also featured the fantastic Angelo Badalamenti on the score and Greg Cannom on the makeup effects. While not as indelible as the original, it's still a solid and entertaining sequel.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

Movie Name:
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
Year of Release: 1985
Director: Jack Sholder
Starring: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Marshall Bell, Robert Englund, Sydney Walsh, Christie Clark, Lyman Ward, Tom McFadden, Melinda O. Fee, Donna Bruce
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following the success of the first "A Nightmare on Elm Street", New Line Cinema quickly went into production on this sequel, which came out a year after the original made its debut. With Wes Craven no longer involved in the story, this incarnation of Freddy Kruger takes some detours from the mythology established by the original, something that would be reinstated with the third film of the series. This time around the narrative focuses on Jesse Walsh, a high school senior who has moved to the dreaded house on Elm Street, alongside his parents and sister. The family is unaware of the events that took place in the house, until Jesse starts having terrifying nightmares, where Freddy makes his appearance, but this time around, threatens to take over Jesse's body, in order for him to live once again. These nightmares, and the aftermath of those take a toll on Jesse's life, much to the despair of his loving and supporting girlfriend, Lisa. As they enjoy an evening party, alongside their friends, Freddy escapes the dream world into reality, wreaking havoc and forcing Jesse and Lisa to a final confrontation.
Jack Sholder who at the time had directed "Alone in the Dark", was selected to tackle this sequel to the iconic "A Nightmare on Elm Street". However whereas Wes Craven created a progressively ominous and threatening world for its leading hero, this film bypasses a lot of that world creation, and places its leading character in the middle of a threatening scenario, which he has no idea how he got in, or for that matter, how to get out. The script substantially changes the dynamics of the first film, however where it ends up faltering the most, is the lackluster character and mood definition, something that Wes Craven smartly played with in the first film. It's a film where the director for the most part illustrates the narrative without bringing a distinct point of view, or nuance for that matter. The iconic Freddy becomes something else, and loses much of its impact, since all that made him memorable, the dream sequences, and the unexpectedness of his presence (perpetuating the question, is it real or a dream), are toned down quite substantially. While branching out in a different direction, the film loses much of the uniqueness of its original. It's not a complete toss, but it doesn't add much to the iconic character and series.