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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 10/31/00

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
New Line Platinum Series - 1994 (1999) - New Line

Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B/B+

Specs and Features:

112 mins, R, widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, commentary with director/writer Wes Craven, cast and crew info circa 1991, DVD-ROM features (Script-To-Screen screenplay access, Dream World trivia game #7, up-to-the-minute cast and crew information, Freddy's Portal website access), film-themed menu screens with animation and music, scene access (29 chapters), language: English (DD 5.1) and (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Close Captioned

All the gratuitous sequels, witty one-liners and mythology we've seen in the previous films matters very little in this, Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Here, Craven gives Freddy a role as an ancient evil, doing battle with good through the centuries. He makes Freddy a real force and, in effect, gives him a whole new spin.

Heather Langenkamp stars as herself, years after her appearance as Nancy in the first (and third) film in this series. She's a mother now, married to a make-up effects guy, and she's just been offered to reprise her role of Nancy one last time. You see, Wes Craven has written a new script, and he needs his muse. Of course, Heather has a bit of concern about taking on the role again. It would seem there's an obsessed fan out there who has been ringing up her house late at night. With a little one at home, it's just not something Heather needs in her life. But when Wes asks for her in person (and seems a bit scared that she may not take the role), Heather has to make a big decision. But first she has to answer some questions: who is the imaginary monster her son is seeing under his sheets? Where did Freddy actor Robert England disappear off to? And why does the script Wes wrote mirror her real life perfectly? She'd better find the answers quick, because it's no secret that, in this film, Freddy is very, very real... and he's running out of patience.

New Nightmare explores the idea of myth and how it needs to be told in order to survive. Freddy here is an evil that can only exist when people are feeding it with attention and fear. He needs Wes to create for him, he needs Heather to run from him and he needs us to watch him. It's an interesting way to set-up a pseudo-sequel and, in many ways, it works quite well. There's some nice little homage to the original film and, for the splatter junky's out there, this flick gets quite bloody. Plus, Freddy has a new look, based more on the poster art designs through the years than on the make-up we've seen in the previous sequels. All in all, this is a pretty good film - not perfect, but good. It's actually a nice re-imagining of Freddy and is a worthy sequel.

The DVD contains a 16x9 anamorphic, 1.85:1 widescreen version and it looks really good. The picture is pretty sweet, with solid blacks and no artifacts to be found. Sound-wise, New Nightmare is pretty kick ass. There's a new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack as well as a nicely represented 2.0 track as well. The special edition materials are only slightly different for this disc than the others in the boxed set. Here, we have a commentary track with Wes Craven, which seems like it was done for the original laserdisc. But that's not a bad thing - it's incredibly informative and Craven is always great fun to listen to. Being a philosophy and religion expert, Craven really opens up on the theories around why this film works and explains away all the different motivations that inspired him to rationalize Freddy's existence. All the other fun extras that appear on the other discs in this series are here too. There's the cast and crew bios taken, from the film's original 1994 press package, and some DVD-ROM features too (including the last trivia game, a web link to the Nightmare on Elm Street website and the ability to read the script while watching the film at the same time). It's another fun disc.

A Nightmare on Elm Street and its subsequent sequels honestly made me a true horror fan. It's opened up a series of film doors that have kept me going for years and years. Having this film cap off the series is a nice reminder of why I liked the Freddy films so much. Wes Craven is a great illusionist and even if his Scream films don't float my boat, I know that he has the ability to make me love movies. So here's to Freddy. He may be dead... but he's still one of the greatest movie monsters out there.

Todd Doogan
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The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

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