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12/15/12

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) - REVIEW


Here's one horror remake I was actually looking forward to.

I had heard some negative feedback but also some good things about it so as far as I was concerned it didn't look too bad in the trailer so there was a chance that it might actually be a decent remake.

Nope.

There was something about the original A Nightmare On Elm Street that made it an easy film to watch and re-watch. It didn't take itself too seriously, its villain was a prankster with a REALLY dark sense of humour, Freddy's dream kills were creative and pretty surreal to the point where you genuinely didn't know what was coming next and you got to see a Johnny Depp in serious trouble. It was a silly flick but it was a lot of fun and introduced us to one of cinema's most iconic killers. Here we have a slick, Michael Bay-produced remake starring the always reliable Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Dark Shadows) as Freddy Krueger, a part which had been played for decades by Robert Englund.

The film starts off ok, with an entertaining dream kill. It doesn't waste any time and gives us what we want straight away. Then, unfortunately, it repeats the same technique over and over and over until you're frankly sick of it. There's a good mini-twist early-on when director Samuel Bayer pulls a Psycho: you're following one character predominantly and you just accept them as your main character but, as it turns out, that's SO not the case. As an unintentionally hilarious death scene confirms. Speaking of Bayer, the entire film feels like a really nice-looking but really shit music video, and since the man is mostly known for directing music videos, that makes sense. What these remakes fail to grasp is that atmosphere and suspense isn't built-up and achieved through the fancy lights or cameras you're using but rather through how invested you are in what's going on, the characters you see being put in danger and how unpredictable and creative you allow your film to get.

So the room is the colour of Freddy's sweater...

Neat...?

Sure Freddy is meaner here, not only is he grosser-looking and more bitter but he's also... pretty much a pedophile. But none of this makes him scarier, it just makes him more dislikable. This guy doesn't stand out, he's just another sick f***. Englund's Kruger wasn't just sadistic, he was absolutely bat-shit insane and no matter what he did or didn't do, he was demented enough that his inappropriate witticisms and theatricality added an uncanny feel to this virus of a man and made him consistently entertaining. You need to like your bad guy on some twisted level at least otherwise there's no connection there. This Freddy Kruger is DULL. Mumbling awful one-liners, looking rubbery, wandering around dark corridors... I'm falling asleep just thinking about him!

The last half-hour of the film is particularly boring, be warned.

Overall, though the film starts off adequately, it looks nice, Haley does his best and Rooney Mara makes a good lead, it's still a lifeless, humourless waste of resources and as goofy as the original Nightmare was, I'd watch it any day over this bloated, standard bore.

Yawn.

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