Freddy's back. Again. This time, in a post-apocalyptic future (1999) in which Springwood's children have all been eliminated. All that remains is John Doe (Greenblatt); Freddy's last hope at finding a bigger audience for his crap jokes and murderous intentions. He gives John a dose of amnesia, then chases the poor sap out of Springwood...
Right into the hands of Doctor Maggie (Zane) and her shelter for troubled youths. In order to treat John, she decides to take him back to Springwood in the hope that it might bring back a few memories. Also along for the ride: some more stabby-fodder for Freddy. Rich stoner Spencer (Meyer), deaf Carlos (Ricky Dean Logan) and abusee Tracy (Lezlie Deane) hitch a ride, hoping to escape the shelter. No such luck. They find themselves in Springwood, where a certain Freddy Krueger has been eagerly awaiting their arrival...
Ironically, Freddy's Dead is at its most successful/scariest whenever Freddy isn't around. As soon as Englund prances onscreen, the whole thing becomes pantomime - exemplified in a scene in which Englund literally prances around behind a deaf Carlos, to cries of "he's behind you!" from the audience (I shouldn't complain - Carlos' death is the best in the movie). Some truly terrible moments ensue as Freddy goes all Wizard of Oz on a broomstick and kills hapless Spencer in computer game form.
But there are surprisingly good moments too. The cameos are really fun. Roseanne Barr, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp all show up to amusing effect. As mentioned above, Carlos' death scene brings one genuinely uncomfortable moment - followed by another when Tracy is confronted by a dream version of her abusive father.
Even with the good stuff in mind, Freddy's Dead is impossible to take seriously as a Nightmare movie. There seem to be no set rules for Freddy's powers now - when the kids are asleep, they're able to defy the laws of physics. Spencer levitates up an imaginable flight of stairs. John falls through a table and disappears. Freddy's always been able to visit bodily real-world pain upon his victims, but now he can manifest flaming Pits of Doom and make the kids bounce around like cartoon characters. Much of the action resembles a Looney Toons animation.
Not content with making Freddy into the Ace Ventura of horror movies, The Final Nightmare pisses over his origins too. Now he was himself abused (by Alice Cooper, no less) and has a daughter, because why not. After these daft revelations, the movie skips into its 3D finale, for one of Freddy's more generic deaths. I really don't see what makes it any more 'final' than any of Freddy's other deaths - well, aside from some really, really (really) terrible snake monsters and a pipebomb. "They saved the best for last" goes the tagline. Hmmmms.
Like Porkhead's favourites, I Know Who Killed Me and The Wicker Man, this is a movie made all the more enjoyable through its sheer ineptitude. Unlike the lazier Dream Master and Dream Child, Freddy's Dead manages to show a little ingenuity and creativeness amongst the nonsensical toss. It's a movie that I can't help but love, even when I'm cringeing at the awfulness of it all. And for those reasons: