After five attempts to recreate the authentic sheer terror of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street by other directors and producers, the seventh and final entry in the series was powered by the master once again. Wes Craven returns to direct, write and star in this film centered around once again Nightmare veteran and pioneer, Heather Langenkamp. Craven goes a slightly different route this time taking on the realms of real life. All of the main actors in the series are playing and even credited as themselves, even Freddy Krueger.
There’s no Nancy in this one, as this film profiles Heather Langenkamp in her everyday life. Right from the get go she begins having nightmares about Krueger but of course tries to convince herself that they aren’t real. This becomes increasingly rather difficult to do when she keeps receiving phone calls from a crazed fan claiming to be Krueger as well as her eight year old son, Dylan, who is also having nightmares about a man with knives on his hand. Amidst all of this, Wes Craven calls her up and tells her he’s planning on making another Nightmare film and wants to cast her. She’s hesitant especially with everything that has been happening to her. Soon her dreams become more and more vivid and people start dying in real life after they have died in her nightmares. Finally accepting that her Freddy Krueger situation is very real, she tries to confide in her former co-stars but they too apparently are engaged in their own battle with the clawed man so she is basically on her own.
Every encounter with Freddy becomes worse than the last one especially when he decides to go full on at her son in order to try to get to her. Eventually he refuses to go back to sleep and she takes him to the hospital where the nurses begin to think that she is crazy and an unfit mother. All of this escalates into one final battle with Freddy where Heather hopes she will be rid of him forever.
Getting back to the basics of classic horror and just being downright terrifying does the Nightmare series very well. There wasn’t much of the usual joking around by Freddy before he kills his victims. There was more of the strategic stalking and playing off of the fear of his victims that made him a horror movie icon in the first place. The real world concept that Craven incorporated into this film made it different than other horror movies in that it has the power to make the audience think that Freddy Krueger could possibly be waiting for them when they get home. The acting was about the usual in previous Nightmare films, but it was kind of eerie seeing Robert Englund the actor afraid of a character that he plays in the movies. Even Craven showed terror and concern in his eyes while speaking to Heather about her real life bouts with Freddy.
The directing was spot on; the special effects were among some of the best ever contained in a Nightmare movie. Even Freddy’s makeup was slightly different looking more like what muscle looks like under the skin as opposed to being badly burnt. My only dismay is that even though the real life concept was a big step past what others have done, much of the film still played out like any other Nightmare movie. With it being the last one, I was kind of hoping for a little twist in the story to add to the terrifying factor of the film. Other than that, I think it was well made and a great idea to take it back to being completely frightening. I give Wes Craven’s New Nightmare “3 very good reasons you should be afraid of a man who can control your dreams and has knives attached to his fingers out of 5”.
“Are you ready to become Nancy once again?”