Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Alice, having survived the previous installment of the Nightmare series, finds the deadly dreams of Freddy Krueger starting once again. This time, the taunting murderer is striking through ... See full summary »
Kelly Jo Minter
After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.
Death stalks the dreams of several young adults to claim its revenge on the killing of Freddy Kruger. Chased and chastised by this finger-bladed demon, it is the awakening of old memories and the denials of a past of retribution that spurns this hellish vision of a dreamlike state and turns death into a nightmare reality. Written by
Incredibly disappointing, a slap in the face to true horror fans
Picture the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now picture that film if it was produced by bombastic Michael Bay, director of Pearl Harbor and the Transformers films. Now picture all of the worst possible outcomes of that marriage.
You don't have to. You could just plunk down your hard-earned cash better yet, don't for this lame remake.
Not that I can stop you from seeing it. No number of bad reviews (and this will be just one of many) would have kept me away. Curiosity alone demanded I see the new Elm Street, so when a critic buddy asked if I'd like to tag along to a screening, I did.
I mean, it couldn't be awful, right? It's a darker take on a character that had fallen into parody. Its screenplay was co-written by Wesley Strick, who has worked with Martin Scorsese (1991's Cape Fear). And supernatural killer Freddy Krueger is played by Jackie Earle Haley, an Oscar-nominated actor who was so creepy as Rorschach in Watchmen. How bad could it be?
Really bad, it turns out. Astonishingly, amazingly, how-could-you- possibly-screw-this-up-any-worse bad.
Samuel Bayer, a longtime music video director making his feature-film debut, accomplished his stated goal of draining away all the cheeky fun of the Freddy films. Unfortunately, he also drained away all the scares. What's left is a dreary, poorly-lit slog with uninteresting characters, wooden acting and a complete lack of tension, suspense or energy.
We could spend all day talking about the problems, but two big ones sink this new Nightmare all on their own.
The first is the new Freddy he's not scary at all. (Robert Englund's original Freddy at least was creepy for a couple of films before falling into camp.) Haley's tiny frame makes Freddy look puny and his voice sounds like an even-more-ridiculous take on the raspy Christian Bale "Batman" voice.
Haley's not helped by the terrible new Freddy makeup, which presumably is supposed to look like a more "realistic" burn victim, but it robs him of any expression. Freddy's not scary; worse, he's not even interesting.
You'd expect the new Nightmare to provide some creative new "kills," but that's the second huge problem. There are only a handful of kills throughout, and the better ones are taken directly from the 1984 original. In fact, fans of the original will note several virtually- identical scenes, all of them done on a higher budget but without a whit of artistry.
Special note has to be made of the acting, which (with a couple of exceptions) is dreadful. I'll blame Bayer, because a few of these folks have been decent in other things, but they're laughable here. (I'm pretty sure Thomas Dekker was attempting to portray Casey Affleck if Casey Affleck had suddenly completely forgotten how to act. And he's one of the better ones.)
Of all the leads, only Kyle Gallner manages to bring some desperately- needed personality and humor to the proceedings. Gallner single-handedly makes the final act interesting, since you'll have wanted every other character dead from the opening minutes.
But he can't overcome Bayer's clueless direction, which telegraphs every shock and dream sequence from a mile away. One of the most effective elements of an Elm Street film is the subtle slide back and forth from the real world to the dream world. Bayer doesn't get this at all. Every dream sequence is clearly defined, completely destroying any suspense.
The film spends two-thirds of its running time having its leads uncover Freddy's "story," which is ridiculous because it's a story everyone already knows. It momentarily plays with a slight twist on the original plot a second of creativity, emerging like a flower through a crack in the sidewalk then immediately chucks it.
Don't get me wrong: I love horror films. I don't even ask too much of them. I only ask that they be either A) scary or B) fun. If they can be both, that's awesome.
But with none of A and far too little of B, the new Elm Street barely rises above an F.
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