Nightmare On Elm Street Can’t Repeat A Major Slasher Reboot Mistake

While a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot that brings back the original movie’s Final Girl Nancy could work, the movie would need to avoid an increasingly common, deeply annoying slasher trope. Modern slasher movies prove a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot could work in 2022, as the sub-genre still clearly pulls in viewers judging by the box office success of many recent hits. However, the revival of the sub-genre brings with it a new set of cliches that are seemingly designed to infuriate long-time fans.

The original slasher movie boom of the 1980s resulted in a lot of movies wherein promiscuous young women were killed brutally while virginal heroines survived, resulting in film theorist Carol Clover identifying the phenomenon of the “Final Girl” trope in 1990. The meta slasher craze of the 1990s provided movies wherein the characters now knew the rules and conventions of horror movies, but still fell victim to masked killers. Now, the latest batch of slasher reboots has given rise to a new cliche.


Related: Nightmare On Elm Street’s Worst Franchise Flaw Wasn’t A Mistake

Ever since the success of Halloween 2018, the reboot formula of that slasher hit has been plundered by the producers of numerous major franchises. However, new slasher reboots are now under fire for under-utilizing, ignoring, or outright dropping their original heroines. As such, if the Nightmare On Elm Street series brings back the original movie’s Final Girl Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy, she needs to be central to the movie’s story. Halloween Kills and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 both earned criticism from fans for disregarding their returning horror heroines, while Scream 6 is already being slated for the franchise’s failure to bring back Neve Campbell's Sidney. As a result, Nancy’s role needs to be substantial enough to justify her character's inclusion in any potential Nightmare On Elm Street reboot.

Why It’s Hard For A Nightmare On Elm Street Reboot To Bring Back Nancy

Nancy Thompson on the phone in her house in New Nightmare

Of course, a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot bringing back Nancy is not necessarily as simple as that sounds. For one thing, the character was canonically killed off in 1986’s Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and since that movie is arguably the franchise installment most beloved by long-term viewers, retconning this story could prove unpopular. Furthermore, Langenkamp already returned as the franchise’s heroine before, playing a fictionalized version of herself in Wes Craven’s trippy New Nightmare back in 1994. That ambitious meta-horror saw Langenkamp play herself playing the star of a new Nightmare On Elm Street movie-within-a-movie, and it would be tough for any new Nightmare On Elm Street reboot to outdo this clever conceit.

That said, a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot starring the original heroine could still work. The original villain of the series can still return, as proven by Robert England’s 2022 roles in Choose Or Die and Stranger Things season 4, meaning that Nancy could be reunited with her old foe onscreen. This potential reboot could succeed if the project centered on the duo, instead of publicizing Nancy’s reappearance only to sideline her as earlier slasher reboots were accused of doing. Whether a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot will arrive in time to capitalize on the current retro slasher trend at all, however, remains to be seen.