A Nightmare on Elm Street is an aged franchise, but one with ongoing strength. Hell, the first movie was what launched New Line Films. Admittedly, the strongest films in the franchise were the original and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare while the five in between and Freddy Versus Jason were questionable in quality and plot. They all had fun horror movie camp to them, but became hokey when trying to pull off certain fantasy elements, including a fight within a comic book world. In the end, we got a muddled, albeit fun, mess of a storyline bent more on showcasing creative worlds than scaring us.
Then we got the remake. While many dread the concept, it performed well financially and had a sequel greenlit after the opening weekend. It’s been in talks for Nightmare 2 to be in 3D since the start, and it’s a perfectly logical fit. Even Robert Englund has gone on the record to say he’s interested in seeing the franchise move forward following the remake, because digital effects are better suited to the worlds the Nightmare movies strived to create. Even the remake showed digital effects akin to Silent Hill, which was effective. The question is whether the filmmakers will focus on effects or do what the sequels failed to do the first time around: focus on plot (excluding part 3). This may be a chance for the Nightmare series to have a set of movies centered on one main plotline. Even now, IMDb lists the sequel as being about the parents of the children who died in the remake – it’s a fresh change of pace, both switching the demographic and not starting with a brand new storyline to crank out the next film.
In short, the old Freddy movies cemented their identities by giving viewers something spectacular to see, but they lost their cohesiveness as they stretched further and further unconvincingly into the surreal. Now, with Jackie Earle Haley willing to become the next prolonged Freddy figure, coupled with improvements in effects, we have a chance to see Nightmare sequels with a stronger overall identity.
That’s, of course, as long as they focus on plot over effects.
As an aside, I am a fan of the original films and have seen all of them multiple times. I’m not looking to bash them, but give an honest statement of what needs to happen if we wish to see the series continue effectively.