Austin’s review published on Letterboxd:
Craven reflexively examines themes and motifs explored through much of his career with a (probable) semi-autobiographical gaze into identity and loneliness. Shocker's unwanted, haunted legacy, A Nightmare on Elm Street's unreliable reality, Scream's shifting believability, and a filmography of suburban butchery, all bleed into maybe Craven's most aggressive, most abstractly emotional film.
Here, identity is shattered pieces shared between bodies, molded by dark destinies and social pressures. And not just from a monster hiding in the past, but from high school's nebula of toxins and relationships. Warped versions of masculinity and emotions not yet given a chance to mature, lost futures and lived in nightmares, Craven is scrapping a personal nerve.
And the nerve is bloodied. This movie is vicious and scary; kills linger and terror runs at you. But no death is exploited. Every horrible moment is deeply tragic and serves to enhance Craven's formal rawness. Moments are awkward and emotions operate just outside of normalcy, but damn, if that isn't what adolescence feels like.
The nightmare is dark but what comes after is warm.