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 to him before they also end up dead.-summary
I wasn't the least bit surprised when the rumors of a remake on A Nightmare on Elm Street(NOES) began to circulate. It only made sense to give a reboot to the most popular of the big three slasher icons. Jason and Michael Myers already received their makeover. So why not Freddy? I seriously doubted that the character or the franchise could have been damaged anymore than what it already was. My suspicion was indeed correct, because A Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Sam Bayer is nowhere near as bad as most of the series. Unfortunately, it doesn't take many steps to be much better either.
After finishing this movie I actually laughed. I laughed because I immediately thought about the folks who said that this remake alone ruined the entire franchise. I mean really? How? Personally, I thought the series was long dead the second it became a parody of itself, by venturing into the territory of a dark comedy which began during NOES's 3 & 4, and it only continued to get worst from there. The sinister demon who terrorized teenagers in their dreams became a joke. Eventually, Wes Craven, the originator of the story, returned the franchise to its dark roots with the under-appreciated and under-rated New Nightmare. Which for its bad luck was released too late to save the franchise. However, this remake returns the franchise to its dark origin but it has its issues too, because the writers appeared not to truly understand anything in regards to the NOES mythos. On top of that, they also appeared to be unsure where to take it.
First off, the acting for the most part really isn't much to speak about. The characters are pretty bland with little to no emotional range, and as a result, I found myself not caring for any of them. This is especially noticeable with the characters of Nancy and Quinten, in which the latter was more painful to watch at times. On the other hand, Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger is the reason to give this a watch. He brought a vile and sinister side to the character that has been lost for a long time. Freddy once again felt scary(at first), and appeared to be out for vengeance by mentally torturing his victims before polishing them off. But that isn't all though, Haley seems to be the right fit with the voice and the way he handles the bladed glove. I don't think he's better than Robert Englund as of yet, but he makes a good Freddy Krueger.
For everything the film does right, there are several goof ups that leads to the films downfall. It seems as if the writers were unsure of how to handle Freddy's character and the movie. In the case of Freddy, the character seemed to be going very well in the beginning. He was mysterious, evil, but most importantly, he was able to be taken seriously. His dialogue was somewhat limited, and when he spoke, he was disturbing and able to provoke chills, but for some reason, the writers decided to add in a few cheap one-liners that tore him apart.
The screenplay was also dealt a blow. The movie reused certain scenes and dialogue from at least two of the movies, which came off completely bland. The invisible slash death which is actually reused here from the original stands out. Although the death is still brutal, the symbolism from the original did not carry over. Therefore, instead of watching a work of art at play, we're limited to only moving pictures. Even one of the quotes, in this case the wet dream line, is taken out of context. If I learned anything new about this movie, it's that there's actually filmmakers out there who watch and love films, but clearly don't get what they watch. This remake reminds me of My Bloody Valentine 3D with how bad the point was missed.
The film was standard slasher fare with a mild bit of suspense, and characters running around into plot related elements. But the scares aren't handled right at all. Should the fright factor be compared with a boxer, then it would be a lousy one, because the scares are too telegraphed. Someone who hasn't seen the original will catch them all.
The special effects at times is worked really well into the dream segments. I really did enjoy the use of lighting and colors. While during another segment, the effects were easily trumped by the 1984 original which really came as a shock. The new look for Freddy appealed to me immediately though, he really does look like a person who was horribly burned. The make up artist earned their money with the job. The kills are fairly decent and the gore is moderate, there's nothing over the top here, and because of that, I'm pretty sure gore hounds will not care for the death scenes.
I really thought the movie was going to be worse. Instead, it was better than what I heard, and it's far better than most of the horror remakes I seen. One of the main problems here is that the movie feels schizophrenic. Bayer should've began dark and ended dark. It almost seems as if he tried to please everyone, and in the case of Freddy Krueger it just doesn't work. In regards to him you have two choices, serious or not serious. I would prefer them taking the serious path, since this is how the character was meant to be in the first place. I recommend this movie to fans of the franchise without a doubt. If you enjoyed the original or not, come into this with an opened mind and try to watch it as its own.
The DVD also has a special feature called Freddy Krueger Reborn; This is a short documentary with the production staff and several of the actors. They speak on certain elements of the film and what they think of it. I mainly enjoyed Haley though. He sounded the most enthusiastic about it. The movie is 95 minutes.
-New Freddy is pretty good, has the soul of the original...
- ... but not for very long, predictable scares, weak acting
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