Freddy’s Back… Sort Of… “A Nightmare On Elm Street”

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)The wife isn’t a huge horror movie fan, but she’ll indulge me once a year on Halloween.  Last year we watched Psycho and the previous year we checked out the original Halloween.  I’d had the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street sitting on my shelf for quite a few months now and I figured Halloween night was a good opportunity to check it out.

In a word… meh.

First off, the flick starts in the middle of a dream which is fine cause it’s keeping in the tone of the original (which incidentally, is one of my favorite horror flicks of all time).  The problem here is there’s no character development, no reason for us to care about the characters… nothing.  After we get the first kill the movie about 10 minutes in (which I have to admit was pretty decent) the film REALLY slows down.  While we have the character of “Nancy” returning, she’s Nancy in name only.  There are very few similarities between this rendition and the original played brilliantly by Heather Langenkamp.

The general plot is the same: Kids are dying in their sleep being hunted by a dream demon (Freddy) who’s pissed off cause the kids’ parents killed him.

However… we’re not even given the name “Freddy” until about 50 minutes into the film.  That’s WAY too long in my opinion for such an iconic character that we’re CLEARLY here to see.  Jackie Earle Haley does a more than suitable job donning the red and green sweater, but is still overshadowed by Robert England’s version of Freddy.  I will say that this version of both Freddy and the film is has quite a bit more gore than the original but unfortunately gore does not a successful horror movie make.

Missing here are two iconic scenes from the original.

  1. Where dude (Glenn played by Johnny Depp) is pulled into the bed only to spew blood all over the room and
  2. The most import “Rambo” showdown between Nancy and Freddy

I’m just not sure how you can remake this movie without those two scenes.  There were modifications in the reboot of Friday the 13th, but at least that flick had the sense of hitting all the high spots.  I do have to say that I loved the fact that they included a scene where the Elm Street parents caught and killed Freddy.  Would have liked to have seen that in the original.

This is a decent horror movie at best.  However, I can’t even really recommend it.  It seems to me as if the film makers said, “Let’s do an amped up, bloodier version of a great movie.”  Unfortunately they forgot what made it great… story.  If you’re looking for a Nightmare on Elm Street fix go get the original.  And tell em Freddy sent ya.

UPDATE: All of my horror movie reviews are now located over at ScareTissue.com!

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One Comment

  1. My thoughts on this…

    I’m also a great fan of the horror genre with (the original) NOES being my favorite of the group. It was such an interesting, innovative idea that was different from all the other slasher franchises. A guy that kills you in your sleep? Fantastic idea! But that’s the thing about a new idea, it’s only a new idea the first time. Giving it a new sweater and glove doesn’t necessarily make it better.

    Segue to 2009 when I hear a re-imagining for NOES is officially under way. Like a kid in a horror movie trying to pop his cherry, I’m both excited and terrified. Excited because I think today’s technology would pave the way for some really interesting dream sequences. Terrified because none of the horror re-imaginings ended up being worth the effort (although I sort of liked Zombie’s Halloween, which most people panned). Side note… I’m avoiding using the term reboot because that would imply that these new movies were good enough to spawn multiple sequels, which none have managed to do. Halloween 2 was released, and it was almost as bad as the original Halloween 3. Where am I? Off track…

    2010 arrives and it turns out I was right on both accounts. The visuals in the movie were well done. My favorite scene being the one in the drug store when Nancy was “flashing” in and out of a dream while Freddy was attacking her. That, amongst a few other scenes really had an appropriately updated look and feel. I thought the casting was decent, I liked Rooney Mara (soon to be seen in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as the new Nancy. It was a modern twist on the character, which was better than rehashing the 1984 Nancy. I also liked Connie Britton as the mom, who is now doing great things in the new FX show American Horror Story (shameless plug). The rest, I agree with Chewie, was underwhelming and a lack of character development left me apathetic when they inevitably met the business end of Freddy’s glove.

    And that leaves me to my biggest personal hurdle with this film… Freddy Krueger.

    Could you imagine them rebooting the Indiana Jones franchise with a new actor in the lead role? Maybe our kids would enjoy it fine, but it would never hold water with us who grew up with Harrison Ford. You can’t just replace an iconic character like that and expect everyone to adapt. Robert Englund was, is and always will be Freddy Krueger. It’s more than just a face and a bunch of cheesy one liners… it’s the way he leans, laughs, smiles (wait, am I in love with him?)… the guy defined the role in a way that cannot be replicated. He branded way too many trademarks on that character, making that dirty red and green sweater too big to fill for another actor. There is only one bastard son of a hundred maniacs, and it is forever Robert Englund.

    So all in all, my verdict is also a firm “meh…”. I’ve re-watched it on dvd and it has a charm, but not one that compares to the iconography of the first film. Some scenes were unnecessary shot for shot remakes. When all is slashed and done, the 1984 version is the definitive. From Tina’s exorcism-like bloodbath to Nancy’s “Screw Your Pass…”, there’s only one Elm Street.

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