Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare is a 1994 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, the original creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Although it is the seventh film in the franchise, it is not part of the series continuity, instead portraying Freddy Krueger as a fictional movie villain who invades the real world, and haunts the cast and crew responsible for his films. In this film, Freddy is depicted as closer to what Craven originally intended, being much more menacing and much less comical, with an updated attire and appearance.
Heather Langenkamp lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband Chase and their young son Dylan. She has become popular thanks to her role as Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. One night she has a nightmare that her family is attacked by a set of animated Krueger claws from an upcoming Nightmare film, where two workers are brutally murdered on set. Waking up to an earthquake, she spies a cut on Chase's finger exactly like the one he had received in her dream, but she quickly dismisses the notion it was caused by the claws.
Heather receives a call from an obsessed fan who quotes Freddy Krueger's nursery rhyme in an eerie, Freddy-like voice. This coincides with a meeting she has with New Line Cinema where she is pitched the idea to reprise her role as Nancy in a new Nightmare film which, unbeknownst to her, Chase has been working on. When she returns home, she sees Dylan watching her original film. When she interrupts him, he has a severely traumatizing episode where he screams at her. The frequent calls, and Dylan's strange behavior, cause her to call Chase. He agrees to rush home from his workplace as the two men from the opening dream did not report in for work. But Chase falls asleep while driving and is slashed by Freddy's claw and dies. His death seems to affect Dylan even further, which causes concern for Heather's long-time friend and former costar John Saxon. He suggests she seek medical attention for Dylan and herself after she has a nightmare at Chase's funeral in which Freddy tries to take Dylan away.
Dylan's health continues to deteriorate. He becomes increasingly paranoid about going to sleep, and fears Freddy Krueger, even though Heather has never shown Dylan her films. She visits Wes Craven, who suggests that Freddy is a supernatural entity drawn to his films, freed after the film series ended with the release of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. It now focuses on Heather, as Nancy, its primary foe. Robert Englund also has a strange knowledge of it, describing the new Freddy to Heather, then disappearing from all contact shortly after. Following another earthquake, Heather takes a traumatized Dylan to the hospital, where Dr. Heffner, suspecting abuse, suggests he remain under observation. Heather returns home for Dylan's stuffed dinosaur while his babysitter Julie tries unsuccessfully to keep the nurses from sedating the sleep-deprived boy. Dylan falls asleep from the sedative. Freddy brutally kills Julie in Dylan's dream. Capable of sleepwalking, Dylan leaves the hospital of his own accord while Heather chases him home across the interstate as Freddy taunts him and dangles him before traffic. On returning home, Heather realizes that John Saxon has established his persona as Don Thompson. When Heather embraces Nancy's role, Freddy emerges completely into reality and takes Dylan to his world. Heather finds a trail of Dylan's sleeping pills and follows him to a dark underworld. Freddy fights off Heather and chases Dylan into an oven. Dylan escapes the oven, doubles back to Heather, and together they push Freddy into the oven and light it. This destroys both the monster and his reality.
Dylan and Heather emerge from under his blankets, and Heather finds a copy of the film's events in a screenplay at the foot of the bed. Inside is written thanks from Wes for defeating Freddy and playing Nancy one last time. Her victory helps to imprison the entity of the film franchise's fictitious world once more. Dylan asks if it is a story, and Heather agrees that it is before opening the script and reading from its pages to her son.
Why It Rocks
- A very clever premise about Freddy Krueger attacking everyone in the real-world while Heather must stop Krueger from invading reality.
- Excellent acting from Robert Englund (also roled as Freddy), Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, and even Wes Craven himself.
- The design of Freddy Krueger with black cloth, the shirt is reversed and razor hands instead of gloves are what Wes Craven originally envisioned.
- Creative kills like Freddy brutally kills Julie, which was the same connection to Tina's death from the original movie and shown Freddy in action.
- It has one of the most unique horror movie ideas of all time which was having Freddy escape the movies and invades the actors and directors of the movies.
- Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Wes Craven, and the actors/directors of the franchise play themselves which is actually pretty unique.
- It serves as a prototype for Scream, only focusing on horror filmmakers rather than horror fans.
- It is a major improvement over the previous two films. It also takes an amusing stab at those two films by saying that the studio deliberately made them bad in an unsuccessful attempt to make Freddy harmless.