Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Written/Directed by Wes Craven
What a great way to bring Freddy back to the fans! We always look at the Nightmare on Elm Street series as fiction (of course) but, this film brings the fiction into the real lives of the Elm Street actors.
Heather Langenkamp achieved a lot of fame and popularity because of her role as Nancy in the original Elm Street movies. She has had a successful career so far, has gotten married and lives in California with her husband Chase and their son Dylan (the kid who plays Dylan is the same kid who plays Gage in Pet Sematary). And, as in all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, dreams are the catalyst in this monumental comeback of Freddy.
Heather isn’t the only one that’s dreaming about Freddy. Wes Craven is also dreaming about Freddy. The idea is that as long as the Nightmare on Elm Street movies are being made, “Freddy” (explanation is coming) will forever be trapped in the story of the film and cannot escape to the real world to do damage and cause harm.
See, Wes has determined that “Freddy” is not actually just some evil dead psychopath with a very fragile ego and low self-esteem seeking revenge on all his would-be oppressors for all the perceived wrongs they have committed against him. (Nice little breakdown there, yeah?) Instead, “Freddy” is an evil entity that is only confined by the bounds of the “fairytale” (the story of the movies). What Wes has found is that as long as the “fairytale” continues and movies about Freddy are being made, this entity cannot escape the fairytale and enter the real world. This being the case, Wes asks Heather to reprise her role as Nancy Thompson in order to keep the “Freddy” entity at bay. He says that the entity is now free since Freddy was finally defeated in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and they must make another movie to trap it in the fairytale once more.
Heather is also having dreams about Freddy. Her husband and son are in these dreams as well, of course now risking them as possible victims, making the whole situation and the idea of playing Nancy again something Heather just isn’t sure about. She’s also getting phone calls from what seems to be an obsessed fan who is taunting her with the famous nursery rhyme about Freddy, in a creepy Freddy voice no less.
So, not only do we get all this turmoil surrounding Heather, we get Wes Craven AND Robert Englund, in and out of Freddy makeup.
I thought this was a fantastic way to bring Freddy back home to his loyal fans. While I can agree that some of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies are not as good as the first, and neither is this one, but this was still fun to watch. There is a definite homage paid to the original that started everything and it invokes a rather nostalgic feeling when you watch it.
It also seems to me that Wes Craven really put forth some effort in this movie to make everything from all the films come together. I liked that he pulled aspects of the entire storyline into this film to make this film’s plot more robust and satisfying. There’s also some pretty good special effects making the film more enjoyable to watch as well.
I thought it was a genius idea to make the characters play themselves and have the Nightmare permeate their entire lives. While this was still along the lines of the normal plots we get in this series, this was a unique twist that kept it relevant to the story and allowed it to be something different than what we’ve seen so many times before.
I have to mention that the kid, Dylan (Miko Hughes) is one of the creepiest kids ever in movies. Those piercing eyes and that creepy smile fit absolutely perfectly, though it IS hard to look at him and not see Gage from Pet Sematary. He does really well in this movie though.
Overall, this was fun and entertaining to watch. It’s something I could watch again. It’s always a joy seeing Freddy Krueger in action.
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