The “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise holds a special place in my heart after a childhood spent watching each entry countless times each, so this four-hour long documentary about the series feels like a dream come true. Much like “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th” (which also shares a co-director), “Never Sleep Again” assembles a large cast of players from the franchise, everyone from directors to performers to writers to the production crew, and each of them contributes enough humor, candor and insight to keep things entertaining despite the daunting length. The documentary’s episodic structure is perfectly sequenced for this type of retrospective, with each new chapter introduced by Michael Granberry’s first-rate, gorgeously realized stop-motion animation highlighting key moments from each respective entry. It’s an impressively intimate experience for longtime fans because many of its actors are primarily known for their roles here so seeing them again is like catching up with an old friend, all of which is highlighted by beloved series heroine Heather Langenkamp doing triple duty here as interview subject, narrator and producer (Sidenote: I met Mrs. Langenkamp at Fan Expo in 2010 when she was promoting “Never Sleep Again,” and she couldn’t have been nicer, warmer or more personable). I don’t know if this holds any entertainment value for folks who are unfamiliar with the franchise, but for Fredheads like me it’s the equivalent of a great big hug.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)