Rachel Talalay‘s Freddy’s Dead direction is well executed but shows inexperience. The director, who began her Elm Street residential stay as an assistant production manager on Wes Craven’s original classic, cuts her directorial teeth on Nightmare’s sixth outing. Now having around 50 credits to her name, according to IMDB, Talalay has made a name for herself in the industry.
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While it’s nowhere near the worst direction I’ve seen, Freddy’s Dead features the least accomplished direction in the series. While I keep going back between this and the terrible Freddy’s Revenge, this is the victor. Ultimately, Freddy’s Revenge features better scripting too (can’t believe I’m typing that). It’s hard to fault Talalay though, she was a newbie behind the camera. That said, there aren’t many great direction examples that spring to mind from this entry in the Springwood Saga.
The camerawork and composition simply aren’t present enough in the film. I recall a few shots: the two pull backs after John Doe wakes up and nice composition in a shot under a glass table showing a character grab an important story item. But mostly, the film is pretty stilted. There’s also a decent rotation shot that starts on John Doe during the opening credits that begins on his shocked face and turns to reveal he’s actually looking at the “Elm Street” house.
But sometimes, especially in Renny Harlin’s underrated The Dream Master, I have a hard time picking my favorite shots because there’re so many. Not in the sixth A Nightmare on Elm Street .If I’m not excited about the direction in a film, there’s a problem.
Rachel Talalay‘s Freddy’s Dead is an embarrassment to the series. Unlike some of the worst sequels, Freddy’s Revenge and The Dream Child, the fifth sequel is insulting to both the audience’s intelligence and wallet. It’s the epitome of a cash grab and frustrates me to even think of the audacity of ole Bob Shaye and New Line in releasing this crap. Freddy needed a better farewell, sadly this wasn’t it. I can’t recommend the film to anyone, unless you’re a diehard Fred Head like myself. Even then, it’s arguably not worth it. Dreamers, you’ve been warned.
THE GRADE: D
Join me next week as 1428 takes a look at the series’ next installment as late creator Wes Craven leaves Elm Street for Hollywood to finish what he started.