Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (USA, 1994) - Color, Director(s): Wes Craven
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 112 min.

Z-rating: 3 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

Like true evil, Freddy never dies and always finds a way to come back. This marks Wes Craven's return to the franchise that he created, even though he's had no involvement since the first film. Craven tries an unconventional approach with this sequel. Instead of adding to the continuity of the films, New Nightmare is told from the aspect of Heather Langenkamp's life. The movie opens on the set of Wes Craven's new Nightmare movie. Heather, her husband, and their child are watching from behind-the-scenes. Freddy's mechanical prop hand comes to life and kills two of the special effects guys but it turns out to be nightmare Heather Langenkamp is having. She wakes up in the middle of an earthquake and rushes to check on her son. Miko Hughes (Pet Sematary, Kindergarten Cop) plays her son, Dylan.

Following the last film where Freddy Krueger's character dies, Heather's been getting nightmares about him. As weirder and weirder things start happening, it seems that Freddy might be breaking out into the real world. After paying a visit to Wes Craven, Heather finds out that he's also been having strange nightmares and he's writing the script for a new Nightmare film based on those nightmares. As it happens, "Freddy" is an ancient evil that lives for the murder of innocents but can be trapped from time to time by storytellers. This evil has taken many forms over the years but in the last 10 years, it's been trapped in the Nightmare on Elm Street series as Freddy Krueger.

I remember renting this movie and watching it with my sister. The whole concept of this movie taking place in "real life" where Robert Englund was the actor and came out on the talk show in character make up, just went way over my head as a kid. I didn't understand how I could be watching a Nightmare on Elm Street movie where Freddy wasn't really Freddy for a majority of the movie. I really hated this movie with a passion at that age, the concept of the film was just too hard for me to swallow and I was so disappointed that my night was wasted. I can revisit this film now and appreciate how clever Wes Craven was trying to be with the story. For me personally, I would've rather seen a movie that takes place within the Nightmare universe. Between that and the disappointment I felt as a child, this is probably my second least favorite entry into franchise (Still a step above A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge).

Nudity: No nudity since this isn't a conventional movie, it's supposed to take place in "real life."

Gore: The kills in this movie are a lot more tame, it's not Freddy killing people in their dreams. Most of them are people getting stabbed in the throat or chest. The best kill in the movie was Tracy Middendorf as Julie, the babysitter. She's in the room with Dylan when he falls asleep and Freddy crosses over into out world. They used another rotating room for her death as Freddy drags her up the wall and across the ceiling, in reference to Tina's death in the first film. This was Tracy's film debut and she was absolutely GORGEOUS in it.

Awesome: There were a lot of references to the first film. Heather Langenkamp says a couple of her famous lines like, "Screw your pass" and "Whatever you do, don't fall asleep." Heather also gets a gray streak in her hair like Nancy in the first film. The sticky stairs make a return towards the end of the film too. Some of the cast from the original appears too, like John Saxon who plays himself and Lin Shaye who returns as a nurse. Bob Shaye, CEO of New Line Cinemas, also makes an appearance as himself. Overall, not a bad movie, but still one of my least favorite in the franchise.