19.10.10

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Directed by Samuel Bayer
Release Date: 2010

Written by Wesley Strick & Erci Heisserer (screenplay)

Story by Wesley Strick

Based on characters by Wes Craven

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley
      Kyle Gallner
      Rooney Mara
      Clancy Brown
      Connie Britton
      Thomas Dekker

** (2 out of 3 stars)
"You have nothing to worry about- this won't hurt one, little, bit."

Freddy was wrong- this remake, which was more unnecessary than most, certainly hurt quite a bit.  Krueger is one of my favourite villains of all-time, horror or otherwise, and he's the only thing that saved this lame retelling of the original.  We don't get anything special as far as kills go, and most of the time I wondered why the made Freddy look less scary than the first time around?  We'll never know.  That being said, the story behind Krueger's death and the part played by Jackie Earle Harley are both what saves this film.  Other than that, there are a whole lot of emo kids and a whole lot of inconsistencies.  

Instead of listing what's wrong with this movie, I'll give you what I enjoyed.
Freddy Krueger was a child killer and the parents got revenge- that was the extent of Wes Craven's explanation in the original Nightmare on Elm Street.  There was no more, and no less.  In this version, we see a darker version of what Freddy's past looks like.  We get the feeling that he molested the children and tore them up with his claws, but then we also get the feeling that maybe Fred was pegged for something he didn't do.  We don't exactly get much evidence for either, especially not the latter, but once the kids of Elm Street figure out what their naughty parents did they immediately question it.  Rightfully so.  If your parents told you someone had hurt you and so they murdered that person, wouldn't you at least question it?  In the original film, this is something that I always wondered- didn't the kids have any questions?  Regardless, the murder was uncalled for (I'm against the death penalty in all forms, vigilante or by law) but wouldn't you want to know what the proof was?  It would certainly be easier to sleep at night knowing for sure that it was at least somewhat justified.  This is something I really enjoyed- too bad the rest of the movie wasn't as thought out as this point was.  
I saw Jackie Earle Haley in a movie called Little Children, and ever since that Oscar nominated performance I have been watching him.  He is the only shining point as far as acting is concerned here.  He adds a little something to Freddy that makes up for the terrible effects used on his appearance; a dark, creepy growl of voice and excellent delivery in the lines.  He is void of all the humour that Robert Englund brought to the character, and I think that it's fitting.  Even though this film didn't strike the bullseye by any means, Haley still gives Freddy dimensions that weren't present in the original performance and that is an attribute to this terribly flawed film.

It's hard to believe that Wes Craven was onboard for this one, but I guess that's the fad of the day- remake every and all horror film of the past 40 years, no matter if it needs to be remade or not.  You'd think that they would stick to remaking movies that had great premises in the 70s and 80s but weren't well executed, yet we still see them remaking classics.  I would assume it's all fueled by greed.  To think that a movie like Nightmare or Friday the 13th would need to be remade is like pissing all over the classic pioneers of slasher films.  I'll give it to Rob Zombie, he certainly impressed me with his remake of my all-time favourite slasher, Halloween.  I'll even give Marcus Nispel and Jonathan Liebesman for their reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (particularly the latter for the prequel to Leatherface and his family's story), which is also on the top of my list for classic horror films.  But to me, there is no need to try and reinvent Jason or Freddy- above all, these two are iconic and immortal characters in the movie universe and we should just leave them alone.  Some of the sequels in these franchises were enough shame, let alone a flaccid reboot.

I honestly gave this movie 2 stars solely based on Haley's performance as Fred Krueger, and the elaborated backstory to his death.  Other than that there is nothing special about this film.  Maybe if they pulled off something as gnarly as Johnny Depp's death scene in the original film I could give them another star, but unfortunately it was a brutal effort.  Kudos to the filmmakers for trying- Wes Craven has some big directorial shoes to walk in.

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