Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street (remake)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) *½

Young waitress Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) and her classmates are being stalked in their dreams by razor-gloved killer Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley). After one of the kids is killed in the diner where Nancy is working, Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner) and Nancy realise that they are all having the same nightmares. Their parents are dismissive when Nancy and Quentin ask questions about this ‘Freddy’ character, what are they hiding from the kids..?

Who cares? Certainly not me and from what I can gather from IMDB, it seems that hardly anyone else cared either. This is yet another Platinum Dunes remake of a classic horror movie, and this time they’ve really outdone themselves and made their worst remake yet. The movie may have better quality of shots, lighting, framing, stock and direction… but that doesn’t make for a better movie.

It is devoid of scares, creativity and this new Freddy is charmless. It probably sounded like a good idea, and that buzzword ‘edgy’ would have been thrown around at story meetings, to make more of Freddy’s dark and twisted paedophile past but it works against the film. How can you cheer for Freddy to kill these kids when the film makers have demonstrated how despicable he was/is?

Like most fans of the genre, when we heard that the movie was going ahead, the one thing that sounded like a positive move was bringing in a quality actor like Jackie Earle Haley for the Freddy Krueger role. Haley has proved that he’s a great actor in Little Children (also as a paedophile) and as the best thing in Watchmen as Rorschach. However he’s been handed a humourless, one-dimensional, watered down version of Freddy. He’s not helped by the new make-up which although probably a more realistic version of a burn victim renders him expressionless. The movie also features the up and coming Rooney Mara, soon to be seen in the David Fincher remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, hopefully she’ll be given more to work with in that.      

As with most of these remakes, it is directed by a music video director making his feature debut. This time around it’s Samuel Bayer who like everyone before him has managed to make a stylish, bland update devoid of any scares. Poor script, shallow characters, even the death scenes are awful, Freddy appearing in the wall above the bed, and Kris (Tina in the original) being dragged across the ceiling were done much better in 1984. No build-up, no tension, no clue. This is THE WORST of the recent spate of remakes.

Quality: 2 out of 5 stars

Any good: 1 out of 5 stars