The biggest mistake Wes Craven made with the Nightmare franchise was handing many of the films over to other directors. I would argue that the two best films in the series are the original and New Nightmare, both of which Craven directed and wrote. The other films simply don't match up with Craven's skill in creating a creepy, unsettling atmosphere where Freddy can unleash his reign of terror. Furthermore, Craven's screenplays are stronger and scarier which is the way I like it. Otherwise, Freddy is reduced to playing the role of the class clown instead of the ruthless killer he was destined to be.
That being said, Nightmare 2 is a decent film that has a number of things going for it. While the presence of Heather Langenkamp [Nancy] is sorely missed, Mark Patton [Freddy vs. Jason, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean] does a decent job as Jesse, the new kind on the Elm street block. He's 80's cute and navigates the emotional territory of feeling like he's slowly being possessed by Freddy rather well. His sidekick and love interest, Lisa, is no Nancy. Kim Myers [Hellraiser: Bloodline, The Sitter] is good but nothing special. Robert Englund does what Robert does best with the material he's been given to work with. However, he was much scarier in the original film thanks to Craven's smart direction and dialogue.
The soundtrack has some bad 80's excesses from time to time and, overall, is a weaker score than Charles Bernstein's 1984 masterpiece. It's missing the strong musical themes established in the first film that should have been carried over into this one.
As a point of interest, Nightmare 2 also has a subtle gay context to it. Jesse is probably not gay but the way they handle the character makes it easy for gays to identify with him. What do you think about this? Also did you notice there's no T&A in this film but there are lots of guys running around in their undies. Hmmmm.
So, Nightmare 2 is not the worst of the bunch but it's not the best either. Still, I found it quite enjoyable and even fun from time to time. The pool scene in particular is a riot!
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.