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
Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in that film, Haley didn't, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in this remake 26 years later. See more »
(at around 16 mins) The cardboard boxes marked 1996 and 1997 in the attic rearrange themselves between shots. See more »
Can I have another? Hey. Can I have some more coffee, please?
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The movie's title doesn't appear on screen until nearly 10 minutes into the movie. See more »
With remakes being inevitable, I'd prefer that they be based on flawed originals. The new Clash of the Titans, in concept tried to do this. This is my stance on remakes. The trouble is that Hollywood green lights remakes of popular, good, movies because of their justifiable built-in fan bases. The 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street was a refreshing, novel, approach to the slasher subgenre film. I can understand why Platinum Dunes would have was well-known music video director Samuel Bayer helm its remake.
A Nightmare on Elm Street focuses on a group of teens that share haunting nightmares. When they go to sleep, they have demented dreams of a maniacal burn victim named Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley). Freddy chases the kids through his world and if he can get his knife-tipped glove on them, they die in the real world. The remaining teenagers are then tasked with insomnia as they search for the reason why Freddy wants them dead.
I'll start with the positives. From an acting and casting standpoint Jackie Earle Haley is the guy you want in this role. He has a haunting voice that he modulates with perfection, coming up with his own unique take on the notorious Mr. Krueger. When combining his talents with the usual high production values (for horror films) provided by Platinum Dunes, you get a workable formula. Unlike the other films, but like Platinum Dune's other remakes, there is an attempt at a Freddy Krueger origin story. It just so happens I like the way this part of the movie is told and having the cursed teens see it in their dreams is interesting.
With these elements working in the film's favor, there are many conflicts elsewhere. Notable among these are redundant dream sequences. The settings sometimes change but they almost all play the same way: teenagers walk through eerie environments followed by a Freddy attack. For a screenwriter to be so lacking in imagination is mind-boggling. Freddy's costume is easily recognizable, but the new burn victim look of his face is unappealing. Chances are a real life Freddy would look more like this than he did in the '80s, but The English Patient is not a frightening countenance.
What mars the first half of the film is an insistence on not developing characters. We assume these are high school kids, who mysteriously are devoid of personalities, and then they die. I understand the concept of an ensemble cast, but when main players take such a backseat that when they finally move to the front of the minivan we don't know them.
Despite a rocky start things do turn around, but our unfortunately thickheaded protagonists are slow to put things together. They should be going on about a week of sleep deprivation, but the new Nancy (Rooney Mara) seems only mildly annoyed. When Heather Langenkamp played Nancy, she was just as active but with more lines we had a better understanding of her frustration.
The biggest problem of all is that the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street is not scary. Scare tactics all center on sound effects and it gets old fast. Every time Freddy appears there is a scream of some kind that pierces the ears of the audience. No one is jumping at fright; maybe some will jump at the surprise. This is silly, outdated, and uncreative.
After Remake on Elm Street, Platinum Dunes is seemingly out of horror franchise fodder. Almost all of their remakes have been critically lambasted, but most of them managed to be profitable. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that they plan to shell out as many sequels as the original franchises generated, but I'd prefer that action since it would keep them busy and off of more esteemed films.
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