Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Heather Langenkamp (playing herself) is starting to have strange things happen to her. While trying to figure it all out, her son Dylan (Miko Hughes) is having strange things happening to himself as well that might have something to do with Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes, Tracy Middendorf, David Newsome

MPAA Rating: R for explicit horror violence and gore, and for language.

Fun Fact: Wes Craven wanted to ask Johnny Depp if he would come back to do this film but, was too timid to ask. Depp said he would’ve been happy to do it.

New Line Cinema had promoted Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare as the final outing of Freddy Krueger. While Wes Craven never really had any say in the franchise other than two other films, he decided to come back because he felt that the other films that he hadn’t been a part of were not faithful to his original creation. This film also gives us the question what if Freddy was a real entity and came back to haunt certain people. Throw in a real life incident with a stalker to Heather Lagenkamp and you have a compelling story to tell.

New Nightmare is a refreshing take on the franchise and one of the best entries in the series. This film goes back to the roots of the series that was much needed. While the series went on, Freddy just became the opposite of what he intentionally was supposed to be. Instead of being freighting and intense, he just became this goofball normal guy that you would invite to your backyard barbeque. In this film he has an updated look in makeup that makes him scary again. His glove is sleek, and it looks sharper than the original one and there is a razor on all of his fingers now. Wes Craven has always said that Freddy was supposed to be your worst nightmare and it’s nice to see that again. Once again Robert Englund is fantastic in the role. He doesn’t have much dialogue but, his actions speak louder than words and that’s more effective than having wise cracking jokes.

The acting is what drives this film, and everyone is on their A-Game. There is not one bad performance and it’s an absolute joy to see it. Heather Langenkamp is at her absolute best and still has the fighter that her character Nancy had in the first film. She plays a concerned mother that only wants to protect her son. When it comes to kid actor’s it can be hard to judge them for certain reasons. Miko Hughes did well in his role and he didn’t come off as annoying. He just played your average kid that was having night terrors. John Saxon is back as well and he’s always great to see on screen. He has an incredible presence and I would like to check out his other roles outside of this franchise. Even the non-actors are great. Wes Craven and Robert Shaye play themselves and they come off convincing in what they are trying to do.

Unlike the other films there isn’t much visually to comment on. It takes place in real life, so we have more of what’s going on in the lives of people. What I can comment on is Freddy’s lair. The hellish tone of it has a creepy look. Throughout the series, Freddy was mostly in a boiler room where he did his work. This looks like an actual hell and it brings the horror out even more. There are some nice throw backs to the first film like the death in the hospital and the muddy stairs slowing down Heather. It brought a nice touch to a film that was celebrating its tenth anniversary at the time.

Overall, New Nightmare is a refreshing take to a franchise that had lost steam. Wes Craven is back as the writer and director, so he could really get his vision on the screen like he wanted. Freddy is back to being what he once was and is truly freighting and disturbing. Everyone is on their A-Game in the acting department and you will be invested throughout the whole film. New Nightmare is a true horror film and I suggest you look to see one of the best in a landmark franchise.

Verdict: Hit

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