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Hurm...Hurm...Whenever I Want To, All I Have To Do is...Drreeaaamm...Dream...Dream....Dream....

  • May 1, 2010

...of a world with NO Remakes. Hurm....Hurm...

The original “Nightmare on Elm Street” was a film experienced that broadened the scope of “Slasher” films. Wes Craven managed to bring an imaginative twist to the 80’s slasher fare that “Friday the 13th” or “Halloween” could not match; “Nightmare” brought forth a deformed, burned entity that preys on his victims when they are most vulnerable--while they slumber and dream. The first film was excellent in what it wanted to do and quite frankly it made some folks afraid to fall asleep; it had also spawned several lackluster sequels that made “Freddy Krueger” a loud, audacious, scary and a darkly comical figure of horror cinema. Craven had a hand in promoting the remakes of “The Hills Have Eyes” and even the more recent “Last House on The Left” but for some reason, he distanced himself from this remake. I guess this is a cause for alarm--plus, Michael Bay had a hand in producing this remake.
There is something sinister that goes on in a small town, where teenagers seemed to die for no logical or obvious reasons. There is something that is stalking people in their sleep who appears as a severely burnt man in a striped sweater with a glove with razor-sharp knives. Nancy (Rooney Mara) and her friend Quentin (Kyle Gallner) are in the search for the truth about the man called Freddy Krueger as their parents (Connie Britton and Clancy Brown) try to keep it from them. But that is the least of Nancy and Quentin’s problems as their friends have all been killed in their sleep and now they must stay awake or suffer the same fate…

           A scene from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

          Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
I know what you are thinking, is this remake really necessary? I have to admit I felt a little cynical when I heard about this remake. But let’s at it this way, the franchise didn’t exactly keep up with the success of the original as it made a fool out of itself until “New Nightmare” that came a little too late. Well, I have to say that this remake is better than the laughable sequels that came after “Freddy’s Revenge” and the other good news is that Freddy Krueger has a great new actor in the person of Jackie Earley Harley (played Rorschach in “Watchmen”). Harley has the personality and the raw creepy appeal that is necessary to bring Krueger back to life. His hoarse menacing voice brings forth a great feeling of dread that can make the teens in the film shudder; He speaks when he needs to and keeps mostly in the shadows that mimics the atmosphere of the original (for a time anyway). The actor is real effective as the antagonist in “Nightmare” and this is indeed a cause to celebrate. 

                 Katie Cassidy as Kris in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

                 Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
Now the problems with the film becomes visible when newcomer director Samuel Bayer (acclaimed music video director) tries to bring forth the meat of the story. Another music video director with the name of Zack Snyder did alright with the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” so I know the transition from music vids to horror movies are possible. But the problem is, while Snyder stayed faithful to the original, Bayer tries to make an impression by instilling some “emo crap” with his hot looking women being preyed upon by Krueger. The characterization is real weak and therefore I didn’t find myself being invested in Freddy’s rampages. The screenplay is pretty routine, as we also see the dream world that was crafted by Bayer. Yes, he doesn’t shy away from the special effects as we see them injected to generate horror.
I guess what made the original so effective was the fact that it gave Krueger an air of mystery and the plot revolved around this, as he was barely visible in the screenplay until the second half. Ok, you can argue that this is a remake so we can just enforce Krueger’s iconic status so he doesn’t need to hide. Yes, I can buy into this, as long as the film still managed to promote suspense and raw chills. The script by Wesley Strick did make some changes to the Krueger character. Freddy was a serial killer who used his ice cream truck to draw his young victims in the original; this time around, Strick made Freddy a kid-molesting gardener who sleeps in the basement of a pre-school. His steel cultivator also inspires his glove. I guess the film was trying to relate a more current event to the Freddy character. It also tries to bring forth some questions as to Krueger’s guilt as the parents themselves were somewhat portrayed as ‘villains’ while the children were filled with uncertainty. 

                    A scene from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

                   A scene from "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
I guess in doing so, this 2010 version lost a lot of the mysticism that brought forth confusion and hysteria in Elm Street. For a remake to succeed, it must expand on the main character and not to simply routinely follow sequences to make an excuse to generate scares and shots of some blood and gore. The film also telegraphs each scare, even for one who hasn’t seen the original, they may still see the scares a mile away. From a technical standpoint, the film does look good and Haley does make the set designs fairly convincing to exhibit that dream-like atmosphere.
I also had issues with how the “Nancy” character was reduced to an emotional wreck when “Nancy Langenkamp” who was a strong, courageous young woman in 1984’s version who almost behaved like a “hunter”. Rooney Mara is pretty attractive, but she just couldn’t bring out the best out of her character (or her character was so limited that she was held back). The rest of the supporting cast was also lacking in their performances; as they had no personality or emotional strength going behind them. I guess the fatal flaw of the film is that I never cared about what would happen to them. Alright, I know you want to know: Does Freddy make funny one-liners in this remake? He does in the 2nd half that Bayer damages the tone he had established in the first half.
Wes Craven’s creation was a horror movie built on a surreal atmosphere that abodes in dreams; this time around, Haley seems stuck in between a ‘tribute” film and lethargy. This remake loses the little stuff that made the original “Nightmare” a classic; playing the emotions to make us doubt what is real or not. The director did seem a little over his head, but I have to admit, the film tried to become an effective, horror film rebirth and it is a lot better than the sequels that came after the first one. Wes Craven stayed away, I guess I should’ve taken the hint.
RENTAL [ 2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Hype Level: Moderate. I guess the general movie-going public is used to remakes that expectations are kept low. The production crew that remade "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" wouldn't get expectations way up. But I was hoping for the best. 
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Whenever I Want To, All I Have To Do is...Drreeaaamm...Dream...Dream....Dream....

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June 11, 2011
I love the opening of this review - glad to hear I'm not the only one who couldn't help but hear Rorschach in Freddy's grunts.
June 11, 2011
I know!! hurm hurm....LOL!!
December 03, 2010
This is very smooth and readable--and it makes my bottom-line posturing a bit of a sham. I love your review: It is so engaging. I thought less of this film than you, but your details and readability are so very worthwhile. Nice job, mate!
December 03, 2010
Thanks, JP! I think we felt the same way overall with this, but our interpretation/execution of Lunch's rating system is a little different. You are using it the right way, but I tend to keep movie reviews in a positive 1-5 scale since it is entertainment. I save the negative ratings for despots and bad politics LOL!

The quality of this movie is a weak 2.5 out of 5, pretty mediocre. Thanks for the read!
May 15, 2010
I could see everything I needed to know about this flick when I saw the trailer in the theater. At best it was going to be unoriginal and derivative and completely unnecessary. And produced by Michael Bay, who needs to know anything else.
May 15, 2010
Yup, I should've heeded my own warning. Did you read Dave's review on it? It was a little more positive...
May 20, 2010
I think I did but then I've been gone a couple of days so I'm not sure. I'll have to check tomorrow when I get a chance.
May 03, 2010
It's weird, because Jackie Earle Haley is an amazing actor, but between the hat and the voice, I just kept thinking Rorschach with a burnt face. Doesn't work for me one bit. I love the original and from what I saw of this online it's terrible. If they wanted to update it, they should have set it in the '80s like the original. Somehow, it just doesn't translate well to a world with cell phones. Plus, the old dirt-cheap effects look better than the new expensive CGI ones.
May 03, 2010
I have to tell you--cellphones are the bane of slasher movies for sure! hurm hurm...
May 03, 2010
Understatement. LOL!
May 02, 2010
Dude we are planning on seeing this next weekend and now I will go in expecting less, thanks for the review man. Now that I know this I may half way enjoy it. EXCELLENT review young Woo.
May 01, 2010
I didn't like the original there were certain aspects of that film that made it hard for me to completely believe or even care for the characters and one of those reasons was the terrible acting and poor script of the 1984 original. But I was holding out hoping this one would actually generate some scares. But I guess that was just wishful thinking. Good review.
May 01, 2010
Admittedly, the original is now dated and the dialogue feels hokey. However the screenplay was a lot better and the Nancy character had more depth. Jackie Earley Harley made for a good Freddy but he could only do so much. You're better off rewatching the original.
May 01, 2010
Ugh, how could somebody remake such a classic? I was curious about this, but thanks for saving me!
May 01, 2010
I took the bullet for you so you can make us more cream puffs! YUM! ;-)
More A Nightmare on Elm Street (201... reviews
review by . March 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     The remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a mad failure of a horror film; a horror movie trying to seduce us through visuals that aren't even the creation of the director or the writer (or even the visual effects designer), as well as that ever-so generic feeling of horror. Yes, I know that this remake isn't the first, of many, to suck. But since "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was originally a good movie, with all its surrealism and intelligent ideas, I would …
review by . November 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST.      Remakes are a crazy thing because no matter what people will have certain expectations for it, even if they don't mean to. In this day and age remakes are becoming the norm while originality is becoming a thing of the past, kinda. Don't get me wrong I like remakes for the most part because I believe that they help to showcase something that once was off to a new generation. But the end results are mostly negative with …
review by . June 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Please Tell Me It's Only A Dream
I'll admit that Wes Craven's ANOES was perhaps one of the most influential, if not innovative scripts of the eighties. In light of that, it's almost impossible to believe that any sequels or needless remakes could ever recapture that charm in it's entirety. Nevertheless, I've seen virtually every sequel ever made & even had a razor glove as a kid which I bought from Toy R Us. Naturally, it would only make sense that I'd manage to find a way of seeing the remake in opening …
review by . June 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I'm honestly not sure why they bothered to make this movie.      It's not that this new take of Wes Craven's classic Nightmare on Elm Street is bad. It's well-made, polished and dark and gleaming, and has some truly memorable scenes. There's a scene in a supermarket, flickering in and out of dreams, that I found particularly effective and well-done.      But here's the thing - it's not very engaging, it's not very funny, and …
review by . March 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
If asked to describe the man of your dreams, what would you say?  Would you call him "dreamy" or any other cliche term? Although this particular man has been known by many since the '80s to be associated with dreams, I bet only a few if any would think of him in this context.  In fact, Freddy would probably be the last person you'd name, however after this weekend he will be the one man in everyone's dreams.      From the opening scene and straight …
review by . October 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
While there's really no reason to remake Wes Craven's cult original, I wondered what 20 years and a pile of mediocre sequels would breathe into the franchise and, of course, who would play Freddy. Following in the footsteps of Robert Englund is no small feat but Jackie Earle Haley (of Watchmen fame) was a great casting decision, and carries out the sadomasochistic teen-slashing quite convincingly. He does this despite the script so kudos for making something out of nothing.      …
review by . May 03, 2010
   In 1984 Wes Craven introduced us to a little character named Freddy Kruger, a true boogeyman.  This film introduced us to a new type of slasher featuring one of the scariest villians ever created, pretty much jump started Johnny Depp's acting career and spawned 8 sequels.  This is one of the best horror movies ever made and when I heard that a re-make was being made I was really disappointed as I feared it would suffer the fate of well...all horror remakes and end up being …
review by . December 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There's no doubt that if you're looking for a film to give you some jolts, you won't do wrong renting this piece. On the other hand, if you're more selective, there are other adventures that are more worthwhile. I've never actually seen the 1984 classic, which gives me all the advantages and disadvantages that come with seeing only the remake. This dream sequence slasher film is done effectively enough by Jackie Earle Haley in the title role, but the mayhem gets tiresome with …
review by . August 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A midget Freddy and
Nightmare on Elm Street reboot was terrible.  I didn't care for the cheap scares, the bad acting, the terrible writing and the plain Jane actresses.  When the women wear less make-up than the guys, somethings wrong.  I wished the made a sequel to the series a la Predators instead of this ill advised remake for the "Twilight" crowd.  The use of twenty something teenagers is starting to bother me.  The new Freddy was real laughable and not scary at all.  …
review by . May 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Nightmare on elm street? more like A Nightmare of filmmaking......
I am not a fan of the original  "A Nightmare on Elm Street" in fact I did not like it much at all  mostly due to the fact that for a movie with it's reputation it lacked everything a great horror film  needs it just fell flat when I needed it to soar. Sometime in mid to late '09, I started hearing rumors that New Line Cinema was looking to reboot the famed Nightmare on Elm Street franchise but then I had not seen the original so I had no interest in watching the …
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Michael Bay (Transformers,Pearl Harbor) produced this remake of Wes Craven's 1985 horror classicA Nightmare on Elm Street, which means updated shocks, computer-driven special effects, and a brand-new Freddy Krueger, this time played by Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley. Unfortunately, it also means a mechanical, largely scare-free carbon of the original film--the same fate suffered by Bay's remakes ofThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreandFriday the 13th. Director Samuel Bayer, best known for helming videos for Nirvana and Green Day, does well by the film's visuals, which hew toward stylized doominess, but the film itself limps from set piece to set piece, with the ones borrowed directly from Craven's original scoring the most impact. What's left are a group of dull teens on the run from Haley's Freddy, who proves unsettling, if not the dynamo that Robert Englund was in the previous franchise entries. Speaking of which, the picture ends on a note that suggests a follow-up is imminent, though some more inspiration is clearly needed if Bay'sNightmareintends to have the longevity of the first series.--Paul Gaita


Nightmare on Elm Street
 is a reboot of the popular Freddy Krueger franchise from the eighties and nineties.  Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) will take on the razor glove as the new Freddy.  It is scheduled for release on April 30th 2010.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 2010 American slasher film directed by Samuel Bayer, ...
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Director: Samuel Bayer
Genre: Horror
Release Date: April 10th 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Wes Craven
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Runtime: 95 minutes
Studio: Platinum Dunes, New Line Cinema
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