Movie Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
This respectably constructed remake of the 1980s A Nightmare on Elm Street is worth a nod or two...or three. The teen characters are less clueless and more believable, as are their screams, and they're not as stupid as you would expect. They spend way less or no time kiddishly jamming out to non-conformist tunes and squabbling in petty love (lust) triangles, sparing the more intelligent percentage of the audience much frustration.
And while the vibe of this Freddy Krueger is not as sensational as in the 1984 film, his appearance is far more hideous and disturbing than you would have expected it to be, which seems to add something to yet another needless remake. They only got it wrong in terms of his voice quality, as it sounds too embellished to be maximally creepy.
The 2010 film gets high marks for a film with no originality or creativity. And it may add nothing new to the crimson/gore-ish glory of the oldies, but it does bring in a little more detail in the application of the effects of sleep depravity, calling in use of such terms like “micro-napping” (what happens when someone fights sleep for too long as they begin to sleep in short spurts while awake) and the danger of comas from sleep deprivation. The longer the kids fight sleep, the greater the increased toll taken on them, which you see in almost every scene.
And unlike many gore-fests, you want to root for these kids to survive. I will root for any kids who willingly walk into a library, check out books, and have the gall to read and * gasp * do research! That they do the research without a stereo playing in the background and lots of colorful wristbands on are added bonuses. This one is, surprisingly, a more intellectually stimulating film than the first one, with the story as the centerpiece instead of a swift repetition of blood-flow and evisceration.
You have kids sharing nightmares of a burned, contorted, blade-handed killer chasing them and killing them one by one, and you have parents trying to keep their children from knowing a painful secret of their past about school maintenance man Fred Krueger and what they believe he did to their young, innocent children. That's a fairly complex plot for a “slash 'em” horror film, though the disputed truth of the allegations becomes an unfitting plot-point in the direction it is taken.
Contrary to what condemn-it-before-they-see-it critics tell you, this remake may actually be a slight improvement over the older version in that the depth of the story makes Freddie's terrorizing of the people on Elm Street more interesting, and at some points, even compelling. I was never bored and I found the special effects luridly creepy and, may I say, a bit scary.
In the end, however, it's old business as usual, with pointless deaths that show us what all Jason and Freddy-type horror films have shown us (and what all 80s horror buffs want to remind us of); that there is simply no way to stop or kill off this dreamworld fiend. May the slashing begin...again?
Unless you happen to be a Freddy Krueger fan and/or a teenager looking to scare a date, this means the new Nightmare on Elm Street is a really just “A Disappointment on Your Street.” The designation is well earned—all the more so in light of the films remarkably ridiculous ending that makes everything accomplished by the rooted-for characters in the space of 1 hour and 30 minutes a waste of their time, and therefore, a waste of your time.
Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: R (for violence, language, and extreme gore)
Director: Samuel Bayer
Summary: Freddy Krueger, a serial killer in dreamland, kills kids whose parents burned him alive.
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley "Freddy Krueger," Kyle Gallner "Quentin Smith," Rooney Mara "Nancy Holbrook," Katie Cassidy "Chris Fowles," Thomas Dekker "Jesse Braun," Kellan Lutz "Dean Russell," Clancy Brown "Alan Smith," Connie Britton "Dr. Gwen Holbrook"
Genre: Horror / Mystery / Thriller