Dylan’s New Nightmare: A Nightmare on Elm Street Fan Film (2023)

I love a good fan film. On rare occasions they can offer up interesting ideas and concepts. “Dylan’s New Nightmare” is an ambitious and interesting fan film in that its concept works for and against the final film, in the end. While the whole concept of a follow up to “New Nightmare” is a good one, it’s problematic in that: it basically feels like a proof of concept for a sequel, and “New Nightmare” isn’t canonical to the rest of the series. With “New Nightmare,” Wes Craven was holding up a magnifying glass, stepping back to examine the overwhelming expectations and pains of success.

It was also not on the timeline of Freddy Krueger, as the monster in the film was not Freddy Krueger.

Following in his mother Heather’s footsteps, Dylan Porter is now an adult trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood. He has a real nightmare of an audition trying out for dismissive casting agents for the new “Hatchet” movie. Before long, he realizes that his audition may not be what he imagined, as he is suddenly visited and taunted by what appears to be Freddy Krueger, back from hell and angrier than ever since 1994.

Taken as a short epilogue to “New Nightmare,” Cecil Laird’s horror short is perfectly fine as is. But there’s not a lot of argument for where it belongs in this presumed mythology. Is it a part of “Nightmare” series or the “New Nightmare” timeline? Is Dylan being taunted by the real Freddy Krueger? Did he somehow inexplicably shift through the fabric of reality? Or is Dylan being taunted by the demon that became Freddy in “The New Nightmare”? Is this Freddy just a manifestation of Dylan’s trauma? What happened after “New Nightmare” ended? Is Heather having the same experiences?

In either case, “Dylan’s New Nightmare” is a fine fan film with a now grown Miko Hughes returning to the role of Porter. Hughes hasn’t missed a beat reprising this character, and he’s very good here, playing wonderfully off of Dave McRae. McRae, complimented by wonderful make up by Nora Hewitt, does a great job as Krueger. He’s vindictive, he’s angry, and he’s as bitter as ever. You can’t really match up against Englund, but McRae thankfully doesn’t seem to try. For what it’s worth “Dylan’s New Nightmare” is entertaining and well directed, I just never could figure out where Laird was leading toward. What is Krueger’s goal with Dylan? Is this an intended series of films like “Never Hike Alone”?

Nevertheless, I appreciated seeing this extension of “New Nightmare” as it continues to be one of the more underrated horror films of the nineties. It stumbles thematically and narrative wise, but I enjoyed the spirit behind it, and the love for the parallel mythology that Craven established subsequent “Freddy’s Dead.”