Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Wes Craven Cast: Wes Craven, Jeff DavisHeather LangenkampMiko Hughes, Robert Shaye, Robert Englund

I have mixed feeling about this one.

Of course the most interesting aspect about the film is the “meta” layer.A film within a film, where everyone is actually playing a version of themselves. And so the director is actually Wes Craven himself, the head of New Line Cinema is indeed Robert Shaye, the actress who played Nancy in the first movie, Heather Langenkamp, is actually playing the actress Heather Langenkamp and of course Robert Englund is playing the the real actor behind the mask, acting as a showman in front of his fan all screaming for Freddy (though there isn’t enough of him in this film).

It not only brings a breath of fresh air to a very stale franchise, but also brings back that dark edge and mystique into the proceedings making it actually a lot more clever than a slasher has any right to be. Though while on one hand it’s trying to be too clever for its on good (raising things it’s never able to explain) on the other it doesn’t quite go deep enough into exploring the most interesting premises raised at the start and eventually the film falls into the clichés it was trying to avoid so well and becomes just like the films it was questioning at the start (especially in the very weak last act).It’s clear that Wes Craven hates the sequels and he is trying to dissociate himself from them as much as he possibly can, but by doing that he’s also making some changes he didn’t really needed. Freddy’s make-up for a start is possibly the worse of the entire series, looking more rubbery and fake that it’s ever been.

The rules of “the game” are also a bit too fast and loose by now and they show their weaknesses particularly towards the climax where Freddy gets beaten like a real man, delisted the fact that he’s in a dream. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense. There are some decent scenes throughout the movie (a particularly tense one as a child sleepwalks crossing a highway), though most of them are real photocopies of things we’ve seen before in the original: a body being dragged to the ceiling and slashed open by the invisible Freddy, a tongue sticking out of the phone, some stairs melting under the weight of the feet of whoever is running, snakes and worms melting into a puddle, and so on… Some people may call it “homages”, I see it more like a lack of any new ideas.

With all its good intentions to re-invent the wheel and give back some credibility to the scary monster, it has to be said that the “New Nightmare” doesn’t add much new.Wes Craven will of course refine this meta-horror-technique with the various “Scream” movies, finding the right balance of scare, fun and self-references, making the final product less inscrutable and a lot more crowd-pleasing.

Right now it’s just a very clever idea, only half developed.

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