Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Director: Wes Craven
Wes Craven starts to write a new Elm Street script and what he’s writing seems to be coming true in real life. Heather Langenkamp (Nancy in the Nightmare films) begins to be haunted by the "real" Freddy and it’s not just her he’s after…he also wants her young son.
After the embarrassing mess Nightmare On Elm Street 6 was, it took Wes Craven to bring back Freddy in a fresh new way. You can’t accuse this film of not being original. It’s shot documentary style almost the whole way and interprets reality…well…in a real way. We get to see the New Line offices, Robert Englund playing himself, Wes Craven at home (great pad man) and John Saxon being a nice guy. I bought it. The film starts fast putting its audience in a shaky environment from the get go: earthquakes, creepy phone call, TV’s that run themselves and spooky dream sequences. The film also has many nods to the original Elm Street. Anybody that remembers the first one will double his/her pleasure upon viewing this film. From the opening sequence to the girl on the ceiling bit, to the "screw your pass" line to the Freddy phone, this flick is a perfect companion piece to the first. We even get to see Rod (Nick Corri) at a funeral…fun stuff….
New Nightmare manages to do something that I thought was impossible: make Freddy scary again. You see Freddy is more than his character here, he represents all the evil in the world, trapped through storytelling. But now that the stories are over, the evil is loose and he’s everywhere. Freddy is bigger and badder, we even get a nod to "Nosferatu" upon his rebirth.
Craven does mess up with the finale that takes place in Freddy’s world. The flick is psychological, touching deep themes most of the way but Craven ends it all with a slam bang, stalk scene that feels a tad clumsy and that would be more appropriate for one of the campy "Nightmare" films. With bad morphing, matte paintings and an incompetent Freddy the finale tarnishes the film. Another negative thing is the acting from Craven and producers. Its weak but it’s quickly forgiven cause they’re not actors.
This flick is a welcomed return to a more psychological Elm Street. The film moves at a steady pace, has a great highway sequences, kool settings (the slide of sheets), a nod to Exorcist (puke), lots of imagination and a few good scares. Too bad Craven had to go the clown way to cap it off. Welcome back Freddy!
Some nasty stuff: The attack of the killer glove is pretty bloody, plus the ceiling girl is just fun times.
Heather Langenkamp gives an almost perfect performance, I was in her corner the whole way. John Saxon also plays himself and damn he must be a great man. I have an affinity for Saxon, I don’t why but I’d love to have a beer with the guy. Miko Hughes (Dylan) does well half the times but sometimes in the more "weird" moments it felt like he was acting. Tracy Middendorf (Julie) is very likeable and cute too. David Newsom (Chase) does a fine job, he comes across as a regular Joe with great hair and that’s what he was supposed to be. Robert Englund (Himself/Freddy) does great with all of it, although I would have liked to have seen more of Robert throughout the film. Maybe have Freddy kill him, that would have been kool.
T & A
The beginning is pretty intense, Craven doesn’t let up: jolt after jolt after jolt. Everything is filmed very simply and he manages to paint many chilling pictures. I loved Freddy coming out of the bed or the cloud Freddy. Freddy is everywhere in this film.
A score that lies dormant only to hit you hard when you don’t expect it.
It’s nice to see Langenkamp and Saxon again. They helped make the first one special and they’re scenes together shine. This flick is almost like a celebration of the first one. I really liked the original so it’s hard for me to dislike this one. It’s scary and almost accomplishes all it sets out to do. If only that silly ending was never filmed…if only…
All of the earthquake sequences in the film were actually filmed one month prior to the Los Angeles quake of '94. The real quake struck only 2 weeks before the end of filming. Subsequently, a unit was sent out to film drive-by footage of actual quake damaged areas of the city before the end of filming. The cast and crew believed that the earthquake scenes that were filmed before the real quake struck were perhaps a bit overdone, but when viewed after the real quake hit, all were frightened by the realism of it.
The "bio-engineered" hand/glove that Freddy uses in this film (as opposed to the glove used in the prior films) is actually derived from the artwork of the theatrical poster and video box covers of A Nightmare On Elm Street.