Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

It is a warm Los Angeles afternoon and two Hollywood types sitting at a posh restaurant across from one another.

"What do you have for me?"

"Well, remember a few years ago that Rob Zombie dude, remade Halloween?"


"What about 2005 remake of The Fog?"

"Old news, don't you have anything new for me?"

"And what about Last House on the Left, and Friday the 13th"

"What is this a history lesson, get to the point."

"Well, get this, you know that Clash of the Titans is being remade?"

"Yeah, I know, so?"

"And Robert Rodriguez is redoing Predator."

"Ok, so what is you are trying to tell me?"

"Freddie Krueger man, Freddie Krueger, we gotta do Freddie!"

Thus, began the creation of 2010's "Nightmare on Elm Street." A bland remake of the 80's movie that kept viewers (yours truly included) awake at nights. The highly touted horror-slasher "Nightmare on Elm Street" debuted April 30, to mixed reviews. I saw it Friday afternoon in an nearly empty theater. Starring Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Breaking Away) in the role made famous by Robert Englund, in the 1984 original. An updated version testifying to our civilizations advancements in technology, Bayer features, MP3 players, computers, and the Gigablast search engine. Writers (Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer) update the language, now that we can swear more in films. They also try to shed new light on the origins of the man in the dirty red and green sweater. Rounding out the cast of protagonists is Kyle Gallner (The Haunting in Connecticut - 2009) as Quentin Smith, sort of the Glen role, played by Johnny Depp's in his début appearance, Rooney Mara (Kate Mara's younger sister) as Nancy, the heroine. Taking the helm directing this remake is Samuel Bayer, music video director, most notably of Nirvana's remarkable "Smells Like Teen Spirit," brings a glossy sheen and realism to the nightmare scenes. Reality and dreams don't go together in a movie called "Nightmare."

If you are familiar with the first film then the differences are in this remake are noticeable. If not then perhaps you will enjoy this film. Opening credits show the kids jumping rope and singing the haunting melody from the original's ending. The rest of the story is somewhat similar; several high school kids start sharing the same nightmare of a man with knifes for fingers. One by one as each fall asleep they die a horrible death as Freddie rips open their chests with four knifes of the man in their dreams. Being pretty much the two survivors, Nancy and Quentin work to stay awake and solve the mystery of their dreams.

Bayer works this story with considerable effort to make this a horror masterpiece, he cranks up the sounds, every slamming door, and every noise amplified hoping to make you jump and scare. Steve Jablonsky ("Transformers," "Friday the 13th") writes some truly good scary music that builds tension and suspense. The biggest disappointment is Freddie Krueger himself. Unfortunately, Haley doesn't have the same foreboding screen presence that Englund gave to the original. The story is similar in some scenes, but strays in others, delves deeper into Fred Krueger's origins and his crimes against children. This remake has Freddie talking excessively much that reduces the creep factor. Gone are the weird elongating arms imagery and the scene where Freddy cuts off his own fingers. Mara's acting is passable, her characterization of Nancy is reserved and introverted, an opposite of the Nancy played by Heather Langenkamp in 1984. Kyle Gallner as the hallow-eyed, adrenaline pumping Quentin, does is a surprisingly good job in convincing the audience of his desperation.

I have said it before, and I will say it again; if a remake builds on the characters, or develops the plot further than the original then it is a good remake." Nightmare on Elm Street" does develop the background of Freddie, however, without Englund's screen presence and Wes Craven's nightmarish nightmare scenes, leaves this version wanting. "Nightmare on Elm Street" is a miss for producer Michael Bay of "Transformers" fame; with Freddie Krueger, the last of the 80's horror villains redone, and now put to bed, perhaps we can all get a good night sleep and start thinking of original characters and plots in the morning.

Movie Data

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Year:  2010
Staring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara
Director:  Samuel Bayer
Producer(s) Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller
Writer(s): Wesley Strick & Eric Heisserer
Rating: R

Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: 4/30/2010

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