A prolific horror director whose movies have never lived up to the weight of his name, at least from the movies I’ve seen. I really like good horror, but it’s really hard to spook me on the big screen. I’ll give him credit for some cool ideas, but the end product has never kept me awake at night, nor talking to my friends about that awesome scene.
The Last House on the Left: Somewhat commendable, I suppose, for it’s pornographic depiction of violence and gore, but that doesn’t make it good. Production values are awful with the exception of the realistic gore, and the acting is even worse. There’s nothing exciting about the plot either, with a group of rapist/murderers unwittingly taking refuge in the house of the parents of one of their victims. Not much in the way of suspense, mostly revulsion.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: A unique and engaging premise: Freddy Krueger was killed by a lynch mob, and finds himself able to enter the dreams of his assailants’ children and kill them there. Some freaky scenes, but I saw this when I was young and didn’t really find it scary. Johnny Depp’s film debut, and he’s fun.
Scream: Another cool premise, where teenagers are being offed by a serial killer who is really fond of scary movies. Nearly everyone is a suspect, and there’s some cleverness throughout the script. Ultimately unsatisfying, with a bunch of mediocre performances by mostly mediocre actors.
Red Eye: One half of a fantastic movie, Rachel McAdams is taken hostage on a plane by Cillian Murphy, who reveals to her that he is involved in a plot to kill the Director of Homeland Security and needs her help (while on the plane) to make it happen. If she doesn’t help, something even worse will happen. Very suspenseful first half; Cillian Murphy is a fantastic villian, and McAdams is also a believable victim. But when the plane lands, the movie devolves into cliche horror movie tropes and an irritating ending.
Other Movies By Wes Craven You May Have Seen
Scream 2, 3, & 4
The People Under the Stairs
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
Vampire in Brooklyn
Music of the Heart
My Soul to Take
2 thoughts on “Wes Craven”
I’ve seen a bunch of these; take out Red Eye, add all the Scream movies plus New Nightmare and The People Under the Stairs. The latter is bizarrely amusing, as it focuses as much on black comedy as on horror. New Nightmare is a rather clever take on that series. Scream 2 becomes a parody of the first movie pretty quickly, and I see what 3 was trying to do but it, too, falls flat. The fourth one is actually fairly good until the usual gang of idiots shows up; there must be a contractual obligation to protect certain characters, because ALL THESE MOVIES HAVE THE SAME FUCKING ENDING.
I do think you vastly underrate the first. The acting is suspect, sure (though I like David Arquette in this kind of role, actually) but the script was something new to horror, and it stands out among horror movies as something that could actually happen. I’m sure I overrate it, too, as I saw it in the theater at age 17(?), but I still really dig that movie to this day.
However, I won’t deny that Craven is 90% name value, 10% actual value.