7 June 2010 | Parks
Nice idea... shame about the execution...
Long before the critics started wetting themselves at post-modern, self-referential (and self-indulgent) shows like Extras and Arrested Development, Wes Craven beat them to it. His New Nightmare stars Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund playing themselves in a movie within a movie written by Wes Craven playing himself writing the script as it unfolds. How Charlie Kaufman is that?
It is a terrific idea, and has Heather discovering that she, Englund and Craven have accidentally provided an ancient evil with a portal into the real world in the fictional creation of Freddy Krueger. Now that the series of movies has ended, this entity has started invading her dreams as Freddy - and it thinks if it kills "Nancy" it will be unleashed for real.
So that's the good news. The bad news is that once this premise has been laid out for the viewer, it's all downhill from there. Heather Langenkamp's acting hasn't improved with age, Wes Craven spends his time being "mysterious" (i.e. vague and annoying) and it's left to Robert Englund to save the day. Sadly, he's not in the movie as either himself or Freddy nearly enough.
It gets worse. "Real Freddy" looks even more fake and rubbery than the 80's version, if that were possible, plus the main focus of the dreamtime incursions this time is Langenkamp's young son. Now I am against child actors at the best of times, but when this bug-eyed little squirt starts screaming and yelling about Freddy, you'll just want to give him a kick.
The climax to the movie is pretty similar to every other film in the Nightmare series, which is somewhat disappointing. However, this film is almost worth it - almost - for the creepy sequence where Heather realises she's back in Elm Street for real.
Still, New Nightmare is easily the best follow-up of the series, and way more imaginative than any slasher sequel has the right to be.