Movie Review: WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARENew Line Cinema
1994
R

“Every kid knows who Freddy is. He’s like Santa Claus… or King Kong or…”

Genre writer / director / really rich guy Wes Craven is writing another instalment in the Nightmare On Elm Street series, and he wants everyone from the original movie to reunite. Robert Englund is thrilled. Heather Langenkamp…not so much. While it seems like a no-brainer, being cautious about this new movie endeavor turns out to be a good idea, as the script Craven’s writing seems to be coming to life…everything he’s writing is coming true. And Freddy…the “real” Freddy…is haunting Heather and her young son. And this Freddy doesn’t have a wacky sense of humor…

While a fan of the Nightmare series, I’ve never really been truly scared by the movies. About the closest that Craven’s brainchild has come to capturing the nightmares it’s supposed to be playing off of, and making Freddy a sinister bogeyman, was the first one. Nightmare 2 was close, but after that, the series became a succession of bad effects, been-there-done-that plots, and made Freddy into a bad-pun spewing caricature of his former self. One needs to go no further than the sixth instalment- Freddy’s Dead- to understand how sad it became.

With Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, I’ve gained a whole new respect for Freddy, as well as Craven’s ability to write something smart and scary when he really applies himself. I love the angle this movie has on the Nightmare series…more of a deconstruction of a franchise from the perspective of the actors and writers. It’s a scary concept in itself- what if our fictitious creations start taking on an independent life themselves, and we no longer have control over them? The “real” Freddy is dark and vicious, without the humor from the regular series, which makes this one much more scary. The fact that the movie has the actual writers, studio workers and the stars from the original playing themselves (that scene where Heather and Robert appear on the TV show together is great) in this movie-within-a-movie works well, making the psychological elements all that much more. A steady pace, cool effects (like the “bio-glove” concept, rather than the real glove from the regular movies), a strong cast, and a really good script…the only thing suffering is the ending, which kind of cops out. Otherwise, a great companion piece to a hit-or-miss (mostly miss) franchise…

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