Films: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

“Evil never dies…”

Movie number three is “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.”


The story: Heather Langencamp, one of the stars of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, is having nightmares about Freddy pursuing her son, Dylan. When she’s asked to star in the newest sequel, she realizes this means Wes Craven is having nightmares again, too; and the line blurs between reality and fiction.

The Nightmare on Elm Street series was part of my teenaged years. I’ve seen every one of them, and I loved them for their cheesy slasher goodness. But I haven’t watched them for a while. As slasher movies gave way to torture porn, this kind of movie — violent horror with a supernatural element — seems to have fallen out of favor. And personally, I couldn’t handle anything with any level of violence for a long time.

The meta approach to “New Nightmare” reminds me of the deconstruction of the genre in “Scream,” which appeared two years later. And I seem to remember from the original films that there were many scenes filmed with a dreamlike quality, to keep you guessing about what is the waking world and what are dreams. That style is kept in New Nightmare, and as we get closer to the climax the line not just blurs, it disappears.

There’s not much that’s remarkable about the visuals, though. Some of the effects, particularly the green screen, are very, very bad.

Is it scary? Not as scary as it was when I was a teenager. And certainly not as gruesome as the movies that came after.

And augh, I need to find some horror movies that don’t involve kids.

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