I have to give the people behind "A Nightmare on Elm Street" credit for avoiding two mistakes that easily could have been made. Firstly, they did not try to make it a parody, which is more than I can say for last year's very disappointing remake of "Friday the 13th." Second, they remembered that Freddy Krueger is meant to be frightening; he's not meant to be a pizza-faced comedian with a repertoire of really bad puns and cheesy sight gags. After many, many years, he's once again a figure of fear, and just like in Wes Craven's original 1984 film, it's for reasons other than his melted skin, his demonically deep voice, his dirty stripped sweater and fedora, and his distinctive clawed right hand. 2010's "Nightmare" gets not only the antagonist right, but also the consistently creepy atmosphere, a blend of eerie shadows, dirty rooms, and muted colors.
The weakness is in its story, which is both routine and subject to severe lapses in logic, especially as it nears the end. The characters are also problematic; they may not be like the promiscuous youths of the average teen slasher film (and for that, I'm grateful), but they are awfully bland, having been given little in the way of personality and depth. Granted, I too would be sapped of energy if I spent all my time trying to stay awake. After the apparent suicide of a high school student in a diner, classmates Kris Fowles (Katie Cassidy), Jesse Braun (Thomas Dekker), Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner), and Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) all begin having nightmares. Strange that they all dream of the same thing: A burnt man wearing a clawed glove on his right hand.
No more of the plot need be described. We all know about Freddy Krueger, both as a dream demon and as the man he was in the waking world. Taking the reins from Robert Englund is Jackie Earle Haley, who fits into the role perfectly. None of his expressions emerge, for his face is both buried under a ton of makeup and mostly kept in shadow. And yet, the makeup and lighting are expressions in and of themselves, and they truly do convey the sheer malice of his character. You will not see this Freddy Krueger turning anyone into a cockroach and squashing them in a roach motel, trapping anyone in a video game and playing them to death, or slitting anyone's arms and legs and using their veins to move them along like marionettes - the goal of this movie is to scare you, not make you laugh.
If only the filmmakers had made more of an effort with the screenplay, which at times is incredibly inconsistent. When Nancy and Quentin confront their parents for not being forthcoming about Krueger, for example, they're told that it was only in an effort to keep them from remembering. "From remembering what?" Nancy pleads. We do eventually find out, although we may find ourselves confused, for it seems highly unlikely that anyone could ever forget events of such extraordinary emotional magnitude. And then there's the ending; I, of course, will not give anything away. But I will say that it raises serious questions as to the nature of Krueger's existence and why certain characters did what they did because of it. What rules are they playing by, here? Up until that point, the story was more or less within the realm of common sense.
Many people will see this movie and say that it was bad. I take the approach that it could have been a lot worse. That may not be much of a compliment, but there you have it. There are elements of this movie I liked a great deal - the sets, the lighting, the makeup, the special effects, the serious tone, Haley's menacing performance. Superficial, you say? I suppose you're right, but keep in mind that this is a horror movie, meaning that if it's going to play scary (and it does play scary), it might as well look scary too. As for the actors besides Haley, I will say that they do the best they can considering the shortcomings of the material. Mostly, they just go from one scene to the next with permafrost expressions of horror on their faces; that may be fun to look at from time to time, but eventually, there does come a point when we need less character and more development.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" is by no means a great movie, but I do think it's better than some have suggested. Still, I can't help but wonder if there's going to be an entirely new series of films, and if it will only continue going downhill. The last thing I want to see is a frightful-looking Jackie Earle Haley doing something goofy on the screen, like Robert Englund had to do for five sequels and a spinoff (I exempt "Wes Craven's New Nightmare," a thoroughly absorbing example of cinematic metafiction). To be so cavalier with a well established horror franchise would truly be a nightmare.
* 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 … more
...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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
In the town of Springwood, teenagers are suffering from nightmares and they're doing everything possible to keep from falling asleep. They all mention a terrifying looking man pursuing them in their dreams with murderous intentions. After several of them end up dead, Nancy (Rooney Mara) and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) come to believe that this man has the ability to kill them in their dreams. In addition, he also has something to do with their childhood past. Together, they attempt to put a stop … more
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 … more
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 … more
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. … more
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 … more
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 … more
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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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, ...