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Movie Review: A Nightmare On Elm Street

 
Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 2 months ago

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Written 4/30/10

RANT

I’d like to say a few words before I review the film. I’ve just about had it with all these horror remakes. BARF! Is the only way I’ve felt with the crap that’s been released the last few years. I personally think that with the exception of Zombie’s Halloween, and Last House on the Left, everything else has been nothing but garbage. I’m seriously starting to consider staying away from these mediocre horror film remakes which do nothing but tarnish the originals to a certain degree.

Time and time again, I’ve stated the art of horror is so admired by me, that it takes more than just predictable jump scenes, or gore to freak me out, or perhaps anyone else that thrives within this classic genre of films. It’s really sad what has turned out to become everything I recall as a kid a symbol of what I like to refer to as mindnipulation… back in the day, like Hip Hop Music, horror writers, and directors had a style. Their art-form when approaching one of these films was so unique, and powerful and so full of interesting story-lines, and characters, from the beginning, there was somewhat of a hypnotic affect… So much, it seemed as if it was deliberately placed in its own format to really dig within your psyche, and challenge your morals. Sort of flip them around, and introduce you to another outlook, or way of existence. I may be going off on a tangent here, but I recall watching Nightmare on Elm Street back in the day as a teen, and perhaps that affect was there because I was a lot younger, and easier to venture into the world of gullibility, but no, because even now as an adult when I view horror flicks from that era, and even earlier like classic pieces such as The Exorcist (Which I own both edited, and directors cut), or the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or I Spit on your grave… these films had certain style, rawness, and even language that just made its way into you, made you think, and freaked you out when vile scenes of violence, and evil just smeared the screen for added pleasure.

I sometimes wonder what happened. It’s like “The Joker” says in The Dark Knight “What’s the matter? Did you lose your balls?!”

That’s how feel about contemporary Hollywood writers when it comes to horror flicks. I really do think they lost their balls, and if that’s the issue… well a classic like Nightmare on Elm Street should have been offered to Wes Craven first, and if one of the kings of horror declined… leave it the fuck alone. Seriously! Leave – it – the – fuck – alone!! God, it’s like that nagging ex-boy/girl-friend that wants to rehash a relationship that once was, no longer is, and feels they can go back in time, and try to Krazy-Glue the pieces in order to make it stand out like it did when it first started. it’s done, and that’s it.

But anyway, that’s just me, now that I’m done bitching about horror flick remakes, and nagging ex’s, I think it’s time I get down to business.

As I sat in the darkening theater with anticipation and careful to avoid early reviews (My common approach until I brand it with mine) or the reactions of fellow critics, I returned to the giddy little boy of years past, popcorn and Aquafina (cheap plug) in hand ready for a possible good time at the movies. I tried and tried to go with the images that were unraveling before my Glaucoma infested eyes. I tried to ignore the terrible opening, the lack of character development, or the undeniable fact that Jackie Earle Haley just isn't that frightening as Freddy. I tried to like something, anything, about this new Nightmare. But as the credits rolled, I sat in my seat in a bit of a daze, trying to come to terms with the fact that 2010's Nightmare isn't just flawed, but BLOWS camel cock! .

The film opens with all the subtlety of a frying pan to the face. Where the original slowly and effectively built to Freddy's first on-screen kill, the classic and unforgettable death of Tina (Amanda Wyss), blood is shed only moments into 2010’s version. In the original, the characters and audience alike sweated through the subtle reveals, learning little by little just what atrocities Krueger was capable of unleashing on his victims in the vulnerabilities of sleep. Here, one scene in, you know Freddy can kill you if you sleep. Characters have already stopped sleeping and Freddy is picking off victims at a breakneck pace. Character development? Nah, we'll pass. Here's a bunch of sleep-deprived kids wearing dark clothing and looking like drug addicts. Mr. Krueger, here's your buffet. Enjoy! See, I told you it BLOWS!

Samuel Bayer should go back to music videos and never look back. With few exceptions, the visuals aren't terribly impressive and far less compelling than the original film, shot 25 years ago with the budget that this new film probably spent on Craft Services or Extras. The pacing is a fucking mess, the acting is wooden and any sense of drama or character dimension is noticeably absent. (One can get a lot more from that fudging Scarface school play clip that went around a few weeks ago.) Instead of the goodie two shoes Nancy Heather Langenkamp perfected, we get Rooney Mara's brooding Nancy, an outsider who sits in her room listening to her iPod (Cheap plug #2) and staring into space or painting pictures that belong on the covers of '80s heavy metal albums. How do you know Quentin (Kyle Gallner in the Johnny Depp role) is troubled and dark? By his Joy Division t-shirt, of course – DUH!

And Jackie Earle Haley? (Who I enjoy very much) Well, he tries. Many of the reasons Freddy isn't so scary this time around aren't really his fault. First, he's in the light almost from the beginning. While Dunes was ridiculously careful to avoid revealing Krueger's new look prior to release, in the actual movie he's practically in a spotlight from his first appearance. Haley's height is quickly and inexplicably apparent. I mean, no one knows Tom Cruise is 5’5” tall when you see him on screen. Couldn't they afford platforms or a step stool or the Yellow-Pages? The flashbacks only further serve to drop Freddy's intimidation factor. He's less mysterious, less frightening and more pervy and creepy.

In a day and age where we've come full circle on the slasher genre, from the early days where Michael Myers, Freddy and Jason were first born to the self-referential fun of the Scream series and back again, Nightmare 2010 is surprisingly humorless. No one's really having a good time, including the audience and Freddy himself. Scream's killer mocks his victim saying, "You might as well come outside to investigate a strange noise of something." In this movie, Kris (the Tina role from the original) actually does just that before a rehash of the levitation ceiling kill, without the flair or brutality or visual stylization Craven pulled off 25 years prior. Scares are cheap and obvious. Loud sounds, screeches and Freddy constantly popping up behind or beside characters in a series of lame peekaboo scares.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is disappointing from start to finish. It takes everything that set the “Elm Street” series apart from the standard slasher and shits it away. The result is a snooze-inducing, run-of-the-mill remake that furthers the argument that more times than not Hollywood should leave well enough alone.

Oddly enough, I enjoyed Letters to Juliet a lot more than this one. If I had to sum this review up in as little words as possible, it would go like this… This film BLOWS!

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