A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010



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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 “A Nightmare on Elm Street” 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 “Final Nightmare,” there’s a new ‘champ’ in town.

If you don’t 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. What’s worse is that he’s not scary in the slightest. Without all the one-liners Krueger was famous for, this film’s monster loses much of its insanity and reverts instead to a mopey caricature, lashing out at kids who can’t put up a real fight.

Most people probably won’t consider slashers or the slasher genre in general to be fun and playful, but they should. After all, they’re 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. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is none of these things. From beginning to end, it’s all one big sob story you really don’t 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 film’s fright factor, there really isn’t 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 isn’t 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 shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, considering the fact that Michael Bay is one of the producers. And no, I don’t 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 modern re-hashing.  Even Hollywood tricks and big budgets aren’t able to spin the story in a fresh, new way. This is unfortunate, and one can only hope that the remake won’t ruin the series for anyone unlucky enough to have it as an introduction to Freddy’s fucked up world.

5 Responses to “A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010”

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  2. MarkSpizer Says:

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  3. H-Man Says:

    Worst in the series? As in even worse than "Freddy's Dead"? Damn, that's a accomplishment.

  4. anon Says:

    i haven't seen it yet and i hope i do like it as i have loved the nightmare series since i was little.

  5. H-Man Says:

    Just saw this last night, and… yeah, it's not very good. But, I didn't think it was terrible, and it's a fucking classic compared to Platinum Dunes' previous horror franchise ass raping remake, "Friday the 13th", which was just miserable on every level. As others pointed out, it relies too heavily on quick jump scares and Rooney Mara is pretty awful as Nancy… she acts like a robot on Valium. I did, however, like Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund will be iconic as Freddy, but I think Haley did a nice job of making it his own.