This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
P/I/Z/Z/A’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
31 Days of Halloween Bluray - Day 27.
You would assume with the return of Craven - not in the directors chair sadly but he helped write this one - they'd have learnt the errors of their ways after the awful Part 2 but my Dad always tells me "you mustn't make assumptions" and that mantra feels very valid here. The original screenplay he had written was subsequently rewritten by several other people before the film was actually filmed and Craven was reportedly, once again, very unhappy with the changes. It's funny that the franchise consistently shits on the key to their success.
It's usually pretty obvious where Craven's original input shines through and where his screenplay was butchered, perhaps most prevalently in the return of Nancy. The film strips out all of what made her endearing in the first film and reduces her to a husk that vomits exposition as she drifts emptily through the film until she can pass the torch on to new female lead Kristen. It's certainly a better continuation of her character than what we got in the second film but that really is like saying being stabbed in the face with a knife is better than being stabbed in the face with a rusty knife.
I just don't like the idea that Freddy got her in the end, it's a much more bitter conclusion than the film may present itself as and I honestly just don't believe that Craven would have taken Nancy's arc to this conclusion, especially after all the fight he gives her at the climax of the original Nightmare film.
It probably doesn't help that new girl Kristen left little impression on me, like pretty much all the "Elm Street Kids" honestly. Sure Kristen can proudly claim she landed a dropkick on Freddy but it doesn't seem worth killing Nancy over.
Probably the only character who really gets a good film out of this is Freddy himself, who is at his absolute apex here. Yes the new developments around his conception are ridiculous but he's just doing what he does best, even better. He's always used peoples fears against them but after Part 2 decided dreams were surplus to requirements Craven really rubs their noses in how wrong they are.
Despite a pretty arbitrary budget increase, the special effects here are incredible. Yes there are a LOT of obvious wires for some reason but it easily has the best kills, the highest thrills and at times some of the most chilling scares so far too. I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite moment from the toe curling human marionette to the "what a rush" sequence that left my skin crawling, Freddy finally lives up to his hype. If this would truly become his send off, it's much better than I really believe he deserves but that isn't a complaint.
Overall what we get at least is a decent blend of everything that has worked so far, but ultimately a film that although not as downright awful as Part 2 just isn't as downright brilliant as the original. I'd be interested to see how Craven intended for this film to play out before all the sequelbaiting was rammed into the screenplay during subsequent rewrites.