Review of “A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)”

I went into “A Nightmare On Elm Street” hoping that it would be a decent remake and that it would just be a decent film, period. Well, it turns out that it failed in its mission, on both fronts. Strangely, the worst thing about the movie was that it was a little boring. Yeah, boring. Some of the films in the franchise haven’t been that hot but I can’t say that any of them were particularly dull, not even part 5 “The Dream Child”. Though I am annoyed by Freddy and his “zingers” in the later sequels, I find that there is always something enjoyable about a “Nightmare” film. The effects are always unique, the kill scenes are interesting, the dream sequences are surreal, and the Freddy character is engaging. Even “Freddy vs. Jason” was enjoyable to watch, though it didn’t quite capture the spirit of the original films. In essence, that is the whole problem with the 2010 “Nightmare” remake. It just wasn’t enjoyable to watch.

One of the main reasons that I disliked the film was that it boiled the Freddy character down to make him relevent and topical, in regards to 2010 society. So what did they do exactly? They made Freddy a creepy pedophile. No, not a child murderer, a pedophile. In the original 1984 film, it was sort of implied that he was a pedophile, along with being a child murderer. Craven didn’t come out and say it point blank, but you kind of got that feeling from it. The remake out and out based its whole premise upon the pedophile angle and it just ruined the film. That is the main reason why it wasn’t enjoyable. I am not making light of pedophilia in any way; it is a horrible thing. But, I also don’t want to watch a movie based upon it. For example, look at “Hard Candy”. For all purposes, it was a good, well-made film but it is not something that I have the urge to rewatch every now and then. I don’t find myself saying, “Yeah guys, come on over! We’re watching “Hard Candy” again. We’re gonna order some Chinese food and play Uno and…” That’s exactly how I feel about this remake. I don’t think that I will want to watch it again. Actually, “Hard Candy” would be a much better choice, regarding the subject matter.

Along with that unsettling aspect, there were other things that failed to make it a good film. Because they didn’t make Freddy a murderer (when he was alive), the whole “parents-cornering him-and-burning-him” was slightly askew. I understand that the parents were horrified and angry but it really didn’t make sense. If he were a murderer, you would see that the extreme punishment was appropriate and justified. But in this case, it almost makes Freddy look like a victim. I know that they were trying to force him out of hiding, with the fire, but there is no mention of the legal system failing, etc. that was part of the original. This is an example of one of the many “gaps” in the movie which disturbed the overall flow of it.

Another shortcoming was that Freddy’s dream power was never clearly explained and no “rules” governing the dreams were established. In the original, early on in the film, you “get” that if you’re harmed in the dream, you are harmed in real life. You get that these are no ordinary nightmares and you have a sense of why this guy Freddy is doing this in the dreams. In the remake, there are spots where some of the dream content is explored, such as the tie-in with the legend of The Pied Piper and Nancy’s ability to pull him out into reality. But overall, it didn’t make total sense why Freddy became a dream killer… other than the fact that the parents shouldn’t have been vigilantes. As for the glove, you don’t get that feeling of impending danger from it as you did with the original. In this one, he mainly uses it as sort of a prop to scare the kids. Of course, there are scenes where you do see him cutting with it, but it is a long run to each of those kills, with a lot of melodrama to sit through, in-between.

On a positive note, I did like Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. I thought that he did a good job with the character and he did make him “his own”. He looked like a real burn victim but I still don’t know if that worked or not. Also, the voice was more of a softer monotone, rather than the insane nature of the original Freddy. Again, I don’t know if that worked or not but it was interesting facet of the character. One other thing that I did like was that the kids talked about sleep deprivation and the fact that at a certain point, the body will go into a coma. I thought that it was a neat idea and it was one of the brighter spots of the film. I liked the way that they used that and it was thought-provoking how Freddy could also benefit from the coma.

Well, enough already. I’ve said what I wanted to say. There are a couple of positive things about the movie, but otherwise it fell flat and it was truly boring, at times. It was a case of too much story, bland characters, not enough action, and obvious connections that ruined the suspense and intrigue. Throw the awful subject matter into that and it was a brooding, depressing experience which was a lot like a U.S. remake of an Asian horror film. Even the effects weren’t all that great. The CGI looked bad and it was most noticeable in the famous “protruding-from-the-wall-scene”. The original shot was scary and surreal. This shot in the 2010 version was contrived and looked fake  (in some cases, practical effects still look better than CGI). To be fair, there are a few startles in the movie, but overall I think that the original is scarier and is a much better film. The 2010 version is worth checking out, to see what they did with it, but I would rather stick with the original films and remember Freddy as he was, in his gratuitous glory days.

Review and Byte by Peter Syslo  


2 Responses to “Review of “A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)””

  1. Freddy has more of a story to him, but it’s really nothing special and the whole time I couldn’t help but be totally bored out of my mind with the non-stop cliches and total dullness that lurks everywhere in this crappy remake. Also, why did Freddy look like a sunburnt lion? Good review, check out mine when you can!

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