A New Nightmare Review

Movie: A New Nightmare
By: Gal Fleegman
Date: November 6, 2011

This time, staying awake won't save you.

After bursting out of the silver screen and into ournightmares in 1984, Fred Krueger quickly became the new face (and personality)of horror. The following years would beriddled with sequels to Wes Craven’s ANightmare On Elm Street. While this allowed the masses to receive ourFreddy fix, it also plucked the child murderer from the dark recesses of hisboiler-room sanctuary. This caused the character to grow into a sinister jesterfull of cheesy one-liners, thus robbing him of his ability to strike true fearinto Nightmare fans and audiences (includingmany children) across the world.

After the release of 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (arguably the cheesiest of theseries), it became evident that if a new Nightmare film were to be made, Freddywould have to under-go one helluva make-over in order to remind everybody ofwho he REALLY was, and the terror he was capable of instilling in all of us. But after five sequels from five differentdirectors (all released by New Line Cinema), how could this be accomplishedsuccessfully, and who would have the chops to pull off such a task? Most felt there was only one man who coulddeliver the goods, that man being none-other than the original master-mindhimself, Wes Craven. “Fredheads” everywhere were elated! With Craven now onboard, we would finally getto see our dream made into reality (quite literally) with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

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New Nightmare is unlike any of its predecessors. Robert Englund, Wes Craven, and HeatherLangenkamp (known fondly for her starring roll as Nancy Thompson in theoriginal Nightmare, and Nightmare 3: Dream Warriors) all playthemselves, with the focus on Heather living in Los Angeles with husband Chase Porter(David Newsom), and their eight-year-old son Dylan, played by the already accomplishedMiko Hughes, then also eight. Miko (now 25) has been acting since he was twenty-two monthsold. He played Gage Crandall in the filmadaptation Stephen King’s novel PetSematary at only three years old, along with rolls in Kindergarten Cop and FullHouse. It takes somethin’ special towork in such fierce, demanding rolls at so young an age while remaining level-headedand unscathed, and Miko has done just that.

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In New Nightmare, Heatheris grateful and appreciative of the unique style of fame the Nightmare serieshas brought her, although she’s happy to have seen Freddy killed off forgood. Even her stalker has stoppedharassing her. But if we’ve learnedanything from horror films, it’s that evil never truly dies. Heather is havingnightmares about her old pal Freddy Krueger, but something is reallywrong. The Freddy that she had watchedRobert Englund portray over the years is not the Dream Demon that stands beforeher today, and once again, she alone must find a new way to conquer the evilthat she had previously believed to be nothing more than a fictional charactercreated by Wes.

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New Nightmare wasthe “cup of coffee” that the series needed in order to re-awaken and keep thefurnace lit; the perfect note on which to end the saga. Watching the original players come togetherfor the last time, including John Saxon (Lt. Donald Thompson), and many otherformer cast and crew members, as well as New Line founder Rob Shae, fills youwith a warm (yet eerie) sense of gratification. It not only awakens the adoration one felt while watching the original Nightmare On Elm Street, but also plucksaway at the heart-strings, causing you to fall in love with Nightmare as an entire entity all overagain.

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It may not be the biggest blood-bath the Nightmare serieshas brought us, but the plot is so rich with emotional and metaphysical turmoilthat you almost don’t notice its lack of blood-shed. Robert Englund is brilliant as always, notonly as himself, but as both variations of Freddy Krueger as well. Aside from the first Nightmare, this is the darkest and most frightening Freddy has everbeen, with a noticeable jump in size, clothing, and even physical appearance,notably his scars. Most shocking of allis that in addition to the trademark style glove we’re all used to seeing,there are two new variations, each vastly different from the other. One of the gloves is a physical extension ofhis evil, and although it does look a bit hokey in comparison to the original,the glove remains relative to the plot, so its presence is acceptable. There is even a slight tweak in hispersonality. He still cracks jokes, butunlike the other films, his sense of humor comes across as much more menacingthan playful; even more-so than the first Nightmare.

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The twists are jarring, and the distress is at an all-timehigh. The script was beautifullywritten, and the execution was as solid as anybody could ask for, evenincluding real earthquake footage to coincide with the plot. At the end of the day, there is no doubt thatwhen it comes to American horror, Wes Craven and Freddy Krueger remain anincomparable power-house of absolute terror. After various viewings, the film still holds the ability to leave me withgoosebumps, and may be arguably the single best film in the entire saga.



A New Nightmare


A New Nightmare


Wes Craven






Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes