“A Nightmare on Elm Street” Movie Review

Film poster for "A Nightmare on Elm Street"“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is yet another remake that suffers unoriginality, but such is the lot of remaking something that is well established in pop culture. The production company Platinum Dunes has chosen their position in film to be the re-makers of classic horror films and found early success with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” giving them the green light to run wild with remakes including “The Amityville Horror”, “The Hitcher”, “Friday the 13th” and of course “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

Why you’ll like this:
You’ve never seen the original and like the premise

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” stars Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, a scarred killer sporting a wicked glove with knives attached atop the fingers who invades your dreams to kill you. In this rebirth we kind of follow Nancy, I say “kind of” because the narrative jumps quite a bit, but I think she’s the main character since that’s how the original went down, anyway, she’s played by Rooney Mara (younger sister of Kate Mara). Well, Nancy and her friends are being tracked down by Freddy and they aim to get to the bottom of it, preferably before they die.

This film is wrought with issues. The CGI is decidedly awful and seeing as how the original managed to do it in-camera, rather unnecessary. The makeup of Freddy himself is inspired in contrast of the Robert Englund version, going for a more burn victim effect rather than the demonically burned, but it was an epic fail in that he could hardly move his lips, which steals away the suspension of disbelief. Movie logic was never really a big factor in any of the original films, so I’m willing to overlook “nitpicky” flaws inherent when mixing dreams with reality. However, the sheer lack of originality left much to be desired. I can understand why you would want to pay homage to memorable scenes, but homage doesn’t mean it needs to be a shot-for-shot recreation.

That’s not to say I didn’t find something good lurking in the shadows. Despite makeup setbacks, I thought Jackie Earle Haley still turned in a solid performance, striking that balance of dark creepy mixed with wit, teetering on the line of campy without fully committing to it. The non-CGI effects are also decent enough, though hardly unique and worthy of more than a passing mention.

Why you won’t like this:
Uninspired rehash of something that was executed nominally better 25 years ago

In the name of creativity I hope that someone else starts to helm these remakes if they indeed must be “reimagined”. There was only an elementary attempt at being inventive here. The story lacked any character depth whatsoever, at least in the original we see the normal lives of these people before everyone starts dying to get an idea of who we’re dealing with. Therefore the acting is rather shallow with the exception of Jackie Earle Haley and an always enjoyable Connie Britton. I think this movie ultimately suffers from spending too much time in the dream world, an understandable attempt at giving us more of “what we want”, but it dooms the already stretched thin narrative and prevents us from ever developing an attachment to anyone. The one question that aptly sums up this rather blah remake is one that the filmmakers never took time to address with an inkling of passion or inspiration: “Why does this film need to be made?”

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton
Director: Samuel Bayer
Genre: Horror
Rating: R (gore, violence, language)
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: April 30, 2010