Surely, “I Am Nancy” isn’t one of the best documentaries ever made, but it will definitely go down as one of the most unique. How often do documentaries focus on the final girls of horror movies? “I Am Nancy” is that documentary about Heather Langenkamp who ended up playing one of the best final girls: Nancy Thompson. But unlike people like Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell, actress Heather Langenkamp’s fate as a performer was much different. Rather than become a big star, Langenkamp slowly slid in to obscurity as the film’s villain Robert Englund became an icon of pop culture and film history.
While Langenkamp has no sour grapes about how both careers ended up, Langenkamp does find the phenomenon of psychos being more popular than the heroines very fascinating. “I Am Nancy” is Langenkamp’s attempts to figure out why Nancy Thompson isn’t as popular as Freddy Krueger, and the importance she held in horror history. And the results are pretty mediocre sadly. It is fun watching Langenkamp greet her fans and speak with them, but Langenkamp stretches her boundaries trying to find meaning behind a lot of the devices in Nancy’s character. This makes for a pretty paltry segment involving Wes Craven. She tries to find out the symbolism behind Nancy’s rose covered pajamas, and even her name, and Craven mostly just shrugs and never offers much insight.
That said, “I Am Nancy” isn’t terrible, it’s really fun, it just tries way too hard to stretch its subject at times, thus feeling like Langenkamp really doesn’t know when to quit while she’s ahead. And that’s kind of a habit she has during the documentary. People praise her performance, and she asks them why they don’t have Nancy tattoos, and they can only really answer with awkward silence most times. Langenkamp is a perfectly well mannered and sweet individual who loves her fan base, and it’s remarkable how little she seems to have aged since the eighties, it’s just “I Am Nancy” can never focus on its subject material, and doesn’t take advantage of better segments involving convention goers, and horror stars that have rose to fame or faded in to obscurity. “I Am Nancy” is a perfectly okay way to fill time for the respective horror buff, I’d just suggest it strictly for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” completists.