Nightmare on Elm Street, A (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Never sleep again.

When a group of teenagers began having the same dreams about a disfigured maniac they start to get killed one by one. It is up to one of the survivors to try and put an end to him and figure out why he has chosen them for slaughter.

 

The last of the icons of horror to be bastardized with a pointless remake or re-imagining, Freddy Kruger’s 21st century makeover signals the death knell for any hope I ever had that the studios today would be able to do justice to such classic legacies. Leatherface and Jason’s reboots were decent enough but hardly cutting edge horror like the originals were. The least said about Rob Zombie’s abortion, Halloween, the better. Here Freddy drags his barely-beating corpse across the finishing line to star in arguably the worst big budget horror film of 2010 – heck I’ll go further than that. It’s the worst big budget horror film I’ve seen for a many years. I don’t hate it because it doesn’t do the original justice, nor am I one of the ‘anti-remake’ brigade because some big budget remakes have been excellent (Dawn of the Dead anyone?). I hate it because it blows big time.

A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s biggest problem comes from the fact that it tries to be scary but fails miserably. Sudden blasts of sound are sent crashing through the speakers when you’re supposed to jump. It’s not jumping out of fear, it’s jumping out of being surprised by a sudden blast and after the tenth time, it all gets repetitive. There are attempts to include some traditional shocks but you know as soon as the camera pans away and you’re expecting Freddy to appear, rest assured when the camera pans back again he’s standing there for a ‘boo’ moment. Yawn-inducing terror at it’s finest.

Not only is it repetitive but it’s extremely slow and long winded. The dream sequences are also overused to the point of being meaningless. You can easily gather what you’re watching on the screen is a dream or reality simply by how absurd some of the situations are. The dreams are more elaborate and last longer but thanks to the constant unnecessary overindulgence in flashy effects, these sequences are more about the style and less about the substance. Its all well and good creating a fantasy world but when you have a character walk around it for five minutes without so much as a hint of any danger, you’re asking for trouble. Gone is the original’s eeriness and unsettling nature and without it, even the most thrilling dream sequence will leave you scratching your head just wondering what the point was.

A whole batch of sequences from the original are rehashed with better effects but seem to have been included solely because they’re in the original and not for any particular relevance to the story. Remember the death of Tina in the original? Well it’s played out again here with another character but it’s pathetically copied. There’s even the appearance of Freddy’s bladed glove appearing between the legs of the heroine as she takes a bath but, unlike the original, there’s absolutely no reason to include it here. He doesn’t drag her underwater – it’s there for the sake of referencing the original and no doubt would look good in the trailers.

A lot has been made about Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as Freddy Kruger but I saw nothing that I couldn’t have seen in countless other supernatural slashers. Haley talks in a deep, mumbling voice most of the time (like Christian Bale’s porn-style Batman voice) making it hard to hear certain lines and he is hidden behind some rather shoddy make-up. In fact Freddy’s new face is arguably the worst he’s looked. There are odd moments where you think that the character is going to pick up steam and burst out into being something other than a cookie cutter slasher – stringing a victim upside down and telling him his brain will work for another seven minutes after his heart stops, meaning Freddy has more “play time” with him before he dies, is one such moment. But the character then fires off some random one-liners which seem to have been lifted out of the previous sequels. This is hardly a re-imagining of the character and more like leftovers of the past.

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street has been watered down into a pathetically generic teen horror film for the brain dead generation. You can tell that it has been directed by a former music video maestro with its rapid editing, its style-over-substance approach and general lack of anything that you’d call horror. When will studios stop putting amateurs in charge of horror films and let some promising young directors take the reigns for a change? Where is this generation’s Carpenter, Craven or Romero? Everything that made the original such a great horror film has been obliterated and mashed down into just another typical contemporary teen horror slasher. And for a series with such infamy, that just isn’t good enough.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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