Title: New Nightmare
Dir.: Wes Craven
Producer(s): Marianna Maddalena
Writer(s): Wes Craven
Company: New Line Cinema
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, John Saxon and Miko Hughes.
It’s funny doing this film so close to its original release date (October 14th) which is also my birthday.
It will be 25 years since Wes Craven’s New Nightmare had been released in theaters. The meta-horror film is the predecessor to Scream and if you’ve seen New Nightmare, you know what I mean.
New Nightmare is clearly aware of itself, aware of the impact the film and creator of horror villain Freddy Krueger has on pop culture. And yet, it seems the cast can’t escape it (or the “spirit” behind it). The cast basically plays themselves minus Hughes (plays Heather’s son Dylan) and from what I’ve seen and heard, a lot of experiences were based off of what happened to Heather (Nancy in ANOES and Dream Warriors) where she had been stalked with letters, phone calls, she is married to someone who does work in SPX (just like in the films) and it’s portrayed on screen. She is basically living her life over again for us.
The premise is quite simple; there’s talk of bringing Freddy back into more films with the work of Crave (also plays himself in the film) and Robert Shaye (founder of New Line, also in the film) and of course, they are hoping to bring in Langenkamp and Englund on board. At the same time, there have been countless earthquakes (real ones that occurred during film time so the footage from then is real) and Heather is experiencing nightmares. Her son is also going through some kind of trauma of his own and it comes to a head when it is revealed that an entity, an evil one, has taken the shape of Freddy and wants to come into our world, using the image of Freddy.
The only person who can defeat him is Nancy aka Heather. And he’s been after her son, worming his way into the real world.
All the while, we see some very cool kills, one in particular is a definite nod to the first Nightmare film and the special effects are once again, special. It is still in that creative, dream like world that we were originally introduced. We don’t know what’s real and what’s a dream or even Heather’s psychosis or even Dylan’s psychosis. That’s what I think the first, third and New Nightmare does very well.
It’s more human grounded versus the sequels that are fantastical, larger than life, very very dream like that it’s obvious a lot of times. We get lost into this time where we are invested in Heather and her family, we want her to succeed, we want her to win after tragedy and loss. Like Craven mentions in the film, she is who gave Nancy her strength. It comes across that she is integral to the climax.
I enjoy the lighting throughout the film, when it’s time for a “dream” like sequence, some cooler tones.
The second unit shots are great as well to keep the film grounded in reality with incorporating the earthquake damages and aftermath into the movie. It was originally scripted that earthquakes do happen throughout the film and ironically, they happened in real life.
New Nightmare was ahead of its time, which is true for a lot of Craven’s films (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street) and if you take a look at the entire ANOES franchise, the original, Dream Warriors and New Nightmare could be a trilogy of its own.
And the extra bonus is that Freddy Krueger is credited as himself.