Tag Archives: Jaws II

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) or livewithfilm goes back to what it knows best…

8 Nov

Yes livewithfilm has returned to its roots: an 80s horror sequel. Could the third coming of Freddy Krueger compare favourably to the recurring wonders of the It’s Alive series or the ever diminishing rubber-toothed returns of Jaws II or IV: The Revenge? Whatever happened, livewithfilm could be safe in the knowledge that Michael Caine thankfully wouldn’t turn up sporting a floppy afro.

Chuck Russell’s sub-par entry into the Elm Street franchise amps up the gore yet unwittingly sheds it horrific origins, resulting in an imaginative yet ridiculous film. Relying heavily on earlier instalments for narrative clarity, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors wavers between clunky exposition and unexplained madness as a host of new teens come to a sticky end thanks to dream-bound Freddy Kreuger. No explanation is given as children in a psychiatric hospital begin to fall prey to the knife gloved maniac, Dream Warriors happily expecting audiences to be clued up to the Nightmare formula. That is until Heather Langenkamp arrives, reprising her role as the original Nightmare’sNancy and shoehorning explanation in at every opportunity. Now a dream specialist, Nancy works with the children to battle Kreuger and manipulate their dreams.

Following Wes Craven’s supreme original, the Nightmare series relies upon its lucid concept to churn out ingenious murder sequences. Thankfully omitting a return to the shower set death-by-towel-whipping witnessed in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Dream Warriors pushes new boundaries to slaughter its young cast. Yet while relentlessly inventive and disgusting (death by puppet veins?!), the kills disappointingly provoke few scares. Nevertheless, Russell’s intriguing attempts to maintain Craven’s original theme of American youngsters paying for the crimes of their forebears suggests deeper thinking at play. Similar to the ramifications of Vietnam alluded to in the first Nightmare, Dream Warriors now blames the youngsters’ dreams on the drug taking decadence of their parents. At points entertaining, Dream Warriors struggles to maintain the original excitement of Nightmare. Memorable for brief glimpses of imagination, the film remains a scare-free and decidedly non-nightmarish return for Kreuger.

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Jaws II (1978) or: Just when livewithfilm thought it was safe to go back in the blogosphere

31 Jan

With some surprise, livewithfilm found itself entering into a debate that has been raging since 1916 and the movie industry’s first sequel (Thomas F. Dixon Jr.’s The Fall of a Nation if anyone’s interested…Not just a pretty blog after all). Discussing the issue with friends, this blogger discovered that Jaws II remains a stalwart player in the ‘better-than-the-original-movie’ question. Whilst many classics have seen a sequel exceed their own worth, livewithfilm did not expect Speilberg’s Jaws to be a part of such a canon. That many see the second outing for this swimmer munching franchise to be superior to the first remained too tantalising a possibility for livewithfilm. Could the return of Police Chief Brody really be better than the first? Will livewithfilm once again be scared out of swimming in the sea for another few years?

After defeating the original shark with a well placed shot to the gas cylinder, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is happy for summer revellers to return toAmityIsland. But when Brody suspects that a new great white has caused the deaths of two divers and a water skier, Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) chooses to ignore his warnings. Fired from his post for the over-zealous protection of beaches, Brody must watch on in horror as evidence piles up to suggest a hungry beast is in the water once more.

Judged on its own, Jaws II is an entertaining watch that has kept livewithfilm distant from any large spaces of water ever since. Creepy rather than scary, Jeannot Szwarc’s film stages progressively more ludicrous situations for the beast to indulge in its taste for humans. At points seeming like a brainstorming session on how to make a shark attack as intense an experience as possible, Jaws II sees the watery beast attacking boaters whilst on fire and sporting a classic ‘evil’ filmic facial disfigurement. Compared to Spielberg’s original though, this return of the shark feels a tad underwhelming. No doubt an impossible task, Jaws II often retreads old ground with little of the original’s flair. People will always run into the water and crooked mayors can be relied upon to disregard public safety in favour of monetary gains. Even though both films effectively present nature ‘red in tooth and claw’, the unrelenting beast of Jaws II seems a far more rubbery creation; much to the detriment of any tension, the second shark frequently emerges from the water to expose itself in all of its prosthetic glory. The next question on livewithfilm’s lips: how do the other additions to the shark franchise fare? Jaws 4 : The Revenge (1987) does boast Michael Cane…