Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) Review

New Nightmare was a Spinoff of the original Elm Street Series, it was written and directed by Wes Craven, the film is has no ties to the original timeline and portrays Freddy Krueger much closer to how Wes Craven originally wanted him to be, here he is much scarier and less comical, he even has some new makeup to better resemble his original vision.

In the film the original cast and crews from the series reunite but as their real life selves, the movies main protagonist is of course Heather Langenkamp who played original Heroine Nancy Thompson.

Heather who now is married and has a son named Dylan is invited to a Television interview to discuss the Elm Street franchise on the 10th anniversary of the first movie. She is suffering Freddy Nightmares which are followed by Earth Quakes in the real world. During filming the Northridge Earthquake partly destroyed Los Angeles and the news footage you see in the movie is real Earth Quake aftermath and if it wasn’t for this movie that footage very well may have been lost to time if it wasn’t archived.

Tuesday Knight (Kristen in Part 4) and Jsu Garcia also known as Nick Corri (Rod in the original) are both spotted attending the funeral of Heathers husband but this is only a small cameo and other returning cast members with major roles in New Nightmare include series veterans Jon Saxon (Nancy’s father Original and Part 3) and of course Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) here Robert plays Freddy but he also plays himself .

With such an iconic cast reuniting for the film it is no surprise that everyone’s performance in on key and an immense effort was put in by everybody under the watchful eye of series creator and director Wes Craven he even plays himself in this movie and explains to Nancy that Freddy is an evil entity who he trapped by creating the original Elm Street franchise, this entity has now escaped into the real world and wants to Kill Heather as her being the first heroine of the series is the only person who can destroy him.

Freddy is the scariest he has ever been in his portrayal here and if you read my official ranking of the original timeline then you know how important having the right blend of scary and silly is what Freddy needs, while I really admire this dark and scarier Freddy I’m glad his character had some re-writes before the 1984 classic was released. Freddy is definitely scary in this but a little bit too scary for my liking he isn’t exactly that memorable and becomes fairly boring in this one due to a lack of creativity in his kills. The best moment was definitely the call back to Tina’s death in the original where she is dragged onto the ceiling and sliced open, here we actually see Freddy visibly kill the victim its a very cool call back and was much appreciated.

Englund and Saxon are played as Friends and Mentors to the younger Heather in this, its a very sweet portrayal and had me hoping that this was in reference to a real life friendship, Englund was originally going to have a Freddy nightmare of his own where he was trapped in a giant spiders web but this was cut due to it not fitting in with the films more serious script, personally I think this would have been a great addition and could have been really scary, also I think seeing Freddy go after the person who played him would have been really interesting, maybe we could have even had a fight scene between movie Freddy and entity Freddy?

The sets are very good in this but special props definitely go to the finale, Heather is sent into a fiery hell from the mouth of a giant Freddy rock scape, here this whole segment is fantastic with its call backs to Freddy being sent to hell after dying in part 6 and of course Hansel and Gretel a story read to Dylan earlier on in the film. We finally get to see some of Freddy’s powers here too with his stretchy arm and his snake like tongue.

I think this is what the franchise really needed after it failed so hard in its last few films, as a character Freddy had lost his way and become somewhat of a joke, this obviously had an impact on Craven who finally wanted to have the Freddy he originally wrote, I’m glad this wasn’t the final version of Freddy we got but it was interesting to see how he was originally intended, I really like this movie and I think it holds a very important role in the franchise due to the fact that this is what we could have gotten, it was also great to see the original cast reuniting but I think it would have been great to see the others too, Johnny Depp said he would have come back for this movie but never got asked.

This isn’t a film I will watch every Halloween but it definitely wont be skipped during my next Elm Street marathon

And in case you are curious if this was put in my official rankings I would say its better than 5 but not as good as the original

Happy Halloween, check your candy and stay safe

see you creeps in November!

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