New Nightmare (1994) – 3/5

Stupid, but not entirely terrible horror film that does things pretty traditionally despite a clever and creative “meta” plot that manages to somewhat plausibly bring Freddy Krueger into the “real” world. Ooh, spooky. The writing isn’t the greatest, though, especially at the beginning, and the dialogue is god awful at times, as is the acting. And some of the effects look just plain cheap.

Wes Craven has always primarily been a visual director, and this film is no exception: great, spooky, if somewhat recycled visuals, but little to no emotional or narrative substance. And some of it is just plain goofy, though it has good moments of tension here and there. And, again, the concept of the film is very clever, namely how **SPOILERS** Freddy is in fact a real demonic presence that Craven managed to capture and bind with his first film, but, thanks to sub-par sequels, the last of which having effectively killed off Freddy and, thus, the franchise, he’s been set loose upon the “real” world to torture and kill as he pleases, unless Craven can sit himself down and write another film worthy of capturing Freddy once more.  **END SPOILERS**

It’s quite brilliant in a way, and extremely self-serving on Craven’s part, it’s just too bad the writing/directing aren’t as good as they should be.  I’ll give him some credit, though: his scenes with the always gorgeous Heather Langenkamp are some of the better acted in the film, though why they are is beyond me. I guess he’s better at guiding the performances of his actors on-screen than he is off. And he himself isn’t a bad actor, surprisingly, unlike most of the people in this film. Very strange.

Overall, though, not a terrible film, but not great either. Not very gory or scary, but it has its moments, and the premise is clever. Could have been worse.

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