Author(s): James Somerton
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Wes Craven
Aaron Eckhart as George Madison
Robert Englund as Fred Kruger
Rachel McAdams as Lauren Binder
Colm Feore as Richard Wallas
Tagline: "Suffer The Children"
Synopsis: Springwood is the kind of town where everyone knows each other and no one locks their doors. You know that kind of town. You probably dont live in one but you know them. So you can imagine the shock when the bodies of four children were found brutally murdered and raped in the boiler room of the local elementary school.
The town was in complete shock. The mourning soon set in and no one could believe that this kind of thing would happen here. It didn't take the police long to round up the suspect; a man named Fred Kruger, the boiler room operator at the school. He denied it but the evidence was everywhere. The fact that there was a trial at all sent the town into a rage. George Madison, the best prosecutor for a hundred miles, volunteered his services. Kruger was appointed a young public defender named Lauren Binder. A mother of two herself; she had to put a lot of her personal opinions away in order to represent him. But as the media began to descend upon Springwood, Ms. Binder realized that this could possibly be the biggest boost her career could ever receive. If she did the impossible and managed to win.
The trial, which should have been short and to the point, dragged out for weeks. Both sides had enough witnesses to fill the courtroom twice. What was the point though? Everyone knew the jury would side with the prosecution. This was just delaying the inevitable. The only thing that the defense could hope for was that Kruger wouldn't be given the death penalty. But nothings over until its over.
The defense was handed something on a silver platter. Something no one had realized in the fervor of the discovery of the bodies and the trial that fallowed. The police who had raided the boiler room in which the bodies were found had not gotten a search warrant beforehand. So now none of the evidence would be admissible. The prosecution's air-tight case had just been dealt the death blow. The case against Fred Kruger for the rape and murder of four young children was declared a mistrial. The people of Springwood would now have to make justice happen themselves.
What the Press would say:
"Springwood" is Wes Craven's best film to date. Here we delve into the backstory of Freddy Kruger, one of the most famous movie slashers in history. Backing up the story is a fantastic cast led by Aaron Eckhart and Rachel McAdams, playing the two lawyers on either side of the case. Eckhart's George Madison is appalled by Kruger's crimes and often lets his emotions get a hold of him in the court room. Although he has no children of his own, he does have several nieces and nephews and he just cant help but put their faces on these poor murdered children. His polar opposite is Rachel McAdams' Lauren Binder; a young lawyer and mother of two who blocks thoughts of her children out of her mind in order to represent Kruger. She really has no problem doing so as long as it advances her career. And if she can win this case, she can get a job at any law firm in the country. Her conversations with Kruger are often frustrating for her as he is quite open with the fact that he did, indeed, kill those children. He's convinced he's being put to death so what's the point in fighting? However, she's convinced that she can win this case or, at the very least, get a reduced sentence. The anger and frustration she feels in the courtroom is quelled when she arrives home. Her long days are leading to her never seeing her children except when they're asleep. Making it all that much easier for her to block them out of her mind while she works. Kruger, on the other hand, cant stop talking about her children. Robert Englund gives an amazing performance here. Although he has mastered the roll over the course of many years, here we are treated to an even darker version of Kruger. He is silent for most of the movie, letting his face do almost all the acting. One scene in particular really stands out as one where Kruger becomes true evil for us, and not just a slasher movie icon. In this scene he grills McAdams' character on why she's representing him. After seeing a picture of her children in her wallet he begins on how it could have been them in that boiler room. "If you get your way in that courtroom. If you win and get all the applause. All the big job offers. I could do the exact same thing again. And who's to say it won't be your kids next time?". McAdams is visibly shaken but quickly pulls herself together and tries to change the subject. Kruger is like a wolf in these kinds of scenes. Hungry and unrelenting. The character trailed me out of the theatre. He is far more effective here than as a clawed killer. The film ramps up to the revelation that sets Kruger free. The last courtroom scene before this is almost mundane, with the prosecution believing they have their case won. The eruption that takes place with the announcement of a mistrial spreads throughout the entire town and eventually leads to the most disturbing scene in the film. The people of Springwood, led by Richard Wallas, the father of one of the victims, corner Kruger in his home and set it ablaze. They have turned to mob mentality and this scene is terrifying as the looks on their faces exude more evil than any of Kruger's. Wes Craven brilliantly crafts the film this way; to lead up to the good people of Springwood letting their anger control them. We are never shown Kruger's crime scene and so this scene becomes all that more powerful. It is disturbing, shocking, and unrelenting. This isn't the moment you cheer because the bad guy was beaten. This is the moment you cringe, seeing what normal people like yourself can resort to. Craven's approach to this scene leaves a sense of finality to the movie; giving us no hint at what Kruger will become later. He directs the courtroom scenes with little flare, making them seem like they came out of a documentary. The scenes with Eckhart and McAdams at home are cozy and comforting, even if they are short. He lets us, as the audience, rest before forcing us back into the trial. Here Craven leaves horror behind and shows a great flare for drama. It's his strongest film to date and its ending is likely to stay with you for a long time; making you think, and haunting your nightmares.
Best Director - Craven
Best Actress - McAdams
Best Supporting Actor - Englund