Back in the 80’s, razor-fingered Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) became an iconic figure of horror and mainstream pop culture with the film “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Thanks to great special effects, macabre humor, and the charismatic Freddy, audience flocked to theaters and launched a highly successful series that spanned several films. Eventually the series ran its course, but the title character remained a mainstay of horror fans everywhere. Last seen in “Freddy Vs. Jason”, the terror of teenagers’ dreams has returned in a new take on the film from the Platinum Dunes production team, the same team behind the successful relaunch of the “Friday the 13th Series”.
The new film stars Jackie Earl Haley as the title character, and once again he is dispatching the teens of Elm Street in all manner of bizzare and grisly fashions in their dreams. Soon the town is full of dead teens and their insomniac peers anxious for an answer to the madman. Their parents are no help as they are quick to downplay any questions about Freddy and quickly disregard any concerns raised by their kids, even when the body count continues to rise. As their numbers dwindle, a group of friends starts to uncover the reason behind the unresloved deaths and band together to solve the mystery of Freddy Krueger and survive.
Freddy is only able to menace the teens in their sleep, so they take all manner of precautions in an attempt to stay awake and plot a defense, but sleep is something one can only postpone, never fully avoid, which means Freddy is always lurking, just waiting for his chance to strike.
What follows is a fairly by-the-numbers horror film that is sadly is lacking much suspense and horror. I was a big fan of the series and I found myself wanting to watch the original Wes Craven classic rather than what was unfolding on the screen. Haley does a great job as Krueger, blending menace with gallows humor, but Englund left a very large Fedora and razor gloves to fill and Haley comes up lacking. I also missed the elaborate effects that defined the series, greatly underwhelmed by this film’s attempts. The gore, suspense, and thrills were restrained compared to the previous films.
This is not to say this is a bad film, but the generic cast headed by Thomas Dekker gives us very little to root for and left me wanting more. Here is hoping that the next offering gives fans more of what made the series so popular and less of the formulaic predictability that has become so common in horror.
2.5 stars out of 5.
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