Teenager Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) is a new boy in town, and has just moved into a house on Elm Street little knowing of the history of the place. He boards the school bus home and doesn't feel he fits in yet, not talking to anyone and generally being awkward until there's nobody on the vehicle except a couple of girls who are laughing at him. They soon cease giggling when the driver goes right past their stop and heads straight on over into the desert on the outskirts of town, with Jesse noticing that he is no longer in uniform but dressed in a distinctive striped sweater and wearing a bladed glove: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is about to have his revenge...
The first sequel to the sleeper success devised by Wes Craven will forever be known as the gay movie in the series thanks to some unusual plot decisions by screenwriter David Chaskin. Honestly, you take one fully-grown man, drag him into the showers, tie him up to the pipe there, rip his clothes off and start whipping his naked behind and everyone starts calling you the gay movie. I ask you, there are some people with funny ideas out there. Well, actually the person with the funniest ideas was Chaskin, and he put them all in this, but you can see that the homosexual side of the series was not entirely what he had in mind.
It doesn't half loom large, however, as Freddy decides he wants to return to life by possessing Jesse's body, something which understandably distracts the boy from his budding romance with new girlfriend Lisa (Kim Myers), but only serves to put more weight on those gay rumours. Yet, for all the ribbing, there's a sizeable dose of teen angst in Part 2, which presumably was what was aimed for to appeal to all those who had enjoyed the original from the previous year. Wes Craven was noticeably absent from the production this time, having made it clear that he wanted his film to be a standalone work and was not interested in contributing to a sausage machine of sequels.
Which is precisely what the Elm Street saga became: the more cash it made for New Line, the more boss Robert Shaye wanted a fresh instalment to the franchise every year. Although this was a fair-sized hit, that was mainly down to the goodwill the fans of the Craven effort had who would have gone to see anything with the Krueger name attached, and as it turned out, this was few people's favourite follow-up. Gone were the distinctive ideas which had made that 1984 movie stand out, so it didn't really matter if you were awake or not, as the baddie would appear at any time he chose to kill off whoever he deemed necessary to achieve his goal. That being to become part of the real world once more.
Except you wonder why he's bothering possessing Jesse when he does so well without him. The notion behind this would appear to have been that the first film revolved around a teenage girl and her concerns, so here the aim was to explore the teenage boy's worries, that is that growing up is hard to do when you have all these emotions and confusing thoughts running through your head, but it's so heavy-handed in execution it's hard to deal with this with a straight face. Englund doesn't get much to sink his teeth into here, being mainly in shadow for most of his screen time, although he does get one good line - "You are all my children now!" - which sounded good in the trailer but when you watch the film has nothing to do with anything around it. You could say that the series was still finding its feet, only it did that with the first movie, making this a stumble about. Music by Christopher Young.