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Freddy Krueger has sliced and diced his way across Elm Street and the Dreamscape enough times to ingrain himself in pop culture, possibly forever. Despite this, it seems like many teens today are not actually familiar with his work. This was most likely the reason âA Nightmare on Elm Streetâ was remade. Unfortunately, director Samuel Bayer, known for his music videos, has created a tame version of the original fright flick that is easily the weakest film in the Elm Street franchise. Sorry âFinal Nightmare,â thereâs a new âchampâ in town.
If you donât already know what the film is about, it involves a group of teenagers (Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy) who are stalked in their dreams by a horribly burned gerbil of a man wielding finger-knives and a Christmas sweater. Originally played by Robert Englund, Krueger was a sharp-tongued maniac with a playful sense of violence. Under the helm of Jackie Earle Haley, however, the remade killer lacks everything that made Krueger a fun and interesting villain. Whatâs worse is that heâs not scary in the slightest. Without all the one-liners Krueger was famous for, this filmâs monster loses much of its insanity and reverts instead to a mopey caricature, lashing out at kids who canât put up a real fight.
Most people probably wonât consider slashers or the slasher genre in general to be fun and playful, but they should. After all, theyâre about teens running around, partying, having sex, making bad decisions, and then dying because of it all. These films are funny, sometimes stupid, and always gory. âA Nightmare on Elm Streetâ is none of these things. From beginning to end, itâs all one big sob story you really donât care to listen to. There is no emotion to connect with and none of the subversive elements that made the original series get under your skin. This is bare-bones Elm Street if there ever was one, stripped of everything, even scares.
Speaking of the filmâs fright factor, there really isnât one. Recycled moments from the original film are thrown out there, though they never last as long as they should. One scene does do its predecessor justice, and could have possibly set the scene for a great and gruesome movie, but in the end it stands alone.
Though the film isnât scary, it might make you jump from sheer volume. All the pop-up scares are accompanied by excessively loud noises that force you to cringe. It is effective, at first, but quickly gets annoying. This shouldnât come as a surprise, though, considering the fact that Michael Bay is one of the producers. And no, I donât think that was below the belt.
This new version does prove effective in one sense, it reminds us how the classic stands on its own and needs no modernÂ re-hashing.Â Even Hollywood tricks and big budgets arenât able to spin the story in a fresh, new way. This is unfortunate, and one can only hope that the remake wonât ruin the series for anyone unlucky enough to have it as an introduction to Freddyâs fucked up world.