An excerpt from my script review for Nightmare on Elm Street which will be available 10/31/22:
2.) Plot Stability
Like most “monster” horror projects, the bad guy is only as good as the rules he’s forced to follow.
Freddy can only attack you in your dreams.
As mentioned above, this is the part that makes him “cool”.
Any dream so it’s not only night time that he can get you.
While Nancy becomes more and more sleep deprived, her sliding into an afternoon nap yields the same result as if she were at home asleep in her bed at night.
This second one I really thought was cool, because everyone assumes nightmares come at night. It’s in the name after all. Making Freddy attack during the day only ups the stakes, and doesn’t give the characters an easy way out.
You can communicate/interact across dreams with other characters…sometimes.
There’s a line in the script where Tina calls to Nancy, because she can “see” her. But Freddy replies…
She’s still awake. Nancy
can’t hear you.
The idea that this group of friends can work together inside their dreams is cool, and making some of them awake while others are asleep makes for better tension when they can’t coordinate.
Can bring items back with you.
Sure the scars and bruises, that goes without saying, but at one point Nancy brings back Freddy’s filthy fedora as proof to her mom that what she’s seeing is real in the fact that she can be hurt or killed while dreaming.
At first I wasn’t a fan, but then it did make sense that if you bring the burns, cuts, bruises back why not physical objects?
And of course this “rule” sets up the finale.
Freddy takes many forms.
I enjoyed that Freddy sometimes showed up as different characters (i.e. the Hall Guard Nancy bumps into), particularly when it’s not clear whether it’s him or not.
This makes the characters (and us) wonder if this is the real world or the dream world, and we’re looking for him in anything and everyone.
The above rules all made Freddy a nasty bad guy to deal with.
My advice under this section is keep it consistent.
I get that Freddy inhabits the dream world, and certain things happen in dreams and nightmares that don’t happen in real life.
But please don’t make your script cheesy.
A good example of that is when Tina is in an alley behind her house and Freddy’s arms “extend” so that he can scrape the walls on each side.
The sound of Freddy’s knives scraping against the wall is a great spooky effect that plays throughout the script, but this scene? Well, see for yourself below…
To me the “long arms” effect looks dumb, and even with modern day CGI, why not just have him slowly approach her while scraping a wall?
His trademarks, from the first script at least, were the eerie laughing and the scrape of his knives.
But he plays more “tricks” on his victims that just seem all over the place.
Sometimes he oozes green puss when cut.
Then there’s times that his “flesh” turns into worms or maggots when cut off.
Part of the receiver end of the phone turns into his actual mouth, letting his tongue slide inside Nancy’s mouth.
Listen, I get he can manipulate nightmares, and that’s fine, just don’t throw every gruesome thing into your script that’s down the drain of the kitchen sink.
The twist at the end wasn’t predictable so much as I’m pretty sure I learned this a long time ago about the project. It was good though, and we’ll get into a bit of what I didn’t agree with in the dialogue section in regards to Marge, Nancy’s mother.
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