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Wes Craven's New Nightmare
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Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

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Plot Summary:
"Actress Heather Langenkamp and her young son begin to have nightmares about Freddy Krueger who, it transpires, is trying to break into the real world."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 15 July 2003 My Rating: out of 5


The 10th Anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street, saw the release of this seventh film in the franchise, and whilst it does offer something new to the genre it isn't all good.

The basic premise sees star of the orgional Nightmare on Elm Street Heather Langenkamp and assorted cast and crew regulars from the series, battle the real life incarnation of Freddy as he desperately tries to breakthrough the barriers of fiction into our reality.

The main problem with the film is timing. Released a whole years before Scream, the film is far too clever for it's own good. Whilst the idea of Freddy crossing into our reality is very clever, it is perhaps the execution that lets the story down as nothing really exciting happens until an hour into the movie.

Fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy watching the likes of series creator Wes Craven and Freddy's alter-ego Robert Englund playing themselves but there are moments where it was in danger of becoming cheesy. In fact the only actors who really worked for me besides Freddy were Heather's son Dylan played by Miko Hughes and newcomer Tracy Middendorf as the endearing babysitter Julie.

On the plus side however the actual concept and the darker Freddy were very refreshing. I particularly liked Wes Craven's line 'That new claw makes his old one look like Mother Theresa's mitten'. But any credence added by these aspects is then weakened by the Hansel & Gretel sub-plot.

I do respect this film, and especially Wes Craven for taking the material and creating something new with it and I applaud the fact that Wes and Robert were able to make Freddy frightening again, but there's just a niggling TV movie aspect to the whole thing that detracts your attention from the story.

A film for fans of the series only. The main fault is the clever script that appears to even have some of the cast and crew puzzled as to how to treat the material. Definitely one of the weaker entries in the series and the score is rather annoying as well.

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

With the Nightmare on Elm Street series reduced to a mess of a franchise which consisted of five terrible sequels (well, ok, Part 3 was okay), it was about time that Wes Craven got back onto the scene. And what a ride his New Nightmare is! As truly original as it is quick-wittedly clever, this seventh instalment in the failing series is undoubtedly the best.

It is uncommon to come across a horror movie that is undeniably smart, and over the past decade there have only been a handful to reference (to name a few; Copycat, Candyman, Scream). But New Nightmare is an absolute gem in its cleverness. Horror mistro Wes Craven - by now most probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the genre - manages to take the tired, annoying and simply not scary Freddy Krueger back to his dark roots and gives us a reason to actually fear him once more. To base New Nightmare in the 'real' world was a stroke of genius, and adds a whole new level to the movie, and indeed Mr. Krueger himself.

To Heather Langenkamp's credit, she pulls off the role as herself extremely well, and although her 'character' is something of a grown-up-Nancy-turned-actress, it was an interesting twist that made this movie almost infectious in its believability. Miko Hughes as her son did an incredible job, and despite his tender age (here, though now he has grown quite a bit!) he is quite the actor and almost steals the entire movie with his performance.

The new, more instrumental and traditional score is a great departure from the now tired theme that has long since out-stayed its welcome, and gives New Nightmare a fresh feel that separates it almost entirely from the franchise. There are also some nice directorial touches, including a bone-chilling nod back to the first Nightmare in which a victim is pulled up the wall and butchered on the ceiling, and some original dream sequences that are nowhere near as cheesy as they became in the numerous sequels.

Freddy Krueger himself has changed quite noticeably, and the pairing up of his traditional red-and-green jumper with a dark trench coat gave him a new edge of danger. His new claws were a little odd to begin with, but again made a nice change. Truthfully, Freddy is back to his old dark ways in New Nightmare, and once again the viewer does actually fear him rather than laugh along with his sarcastic remarks (yes faithful readers, for once we fear for our heroine rather than cheer Freddy on!)

The only thing that drags this movie down is the end effects that were restricted by the primitive effects of the early nineties. If Craven was to ever polish the ending up with the newly-discovered effects of today, then New Nightmare could possibly be the most perfect Horror movie ever made.

A composition of true skill, this is one not to be missed. New Nightmare is possibly Wes Craven's finest movie to date, and it's nice to see that we can still be scared by Freddy Krueger!

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