A Nightmare on Elm Street

2010-07-15 11:41
A Nightmare on Elm Street

What it's about:

A teenager apparently kills himself at a diner, while friends look on. At the funeral, one of the friends recognises herself in a childhood photo of the deceased, despite only meeting him in high school. Moreover, the apparent suicide is not all that it seems, as gradually the group of friends reveal that they have been seeing the same burnt man in their dreams. And it seems that the teens’ parents know a little more than they’re letting on.

What we thought:

It’s a shame nobody’s ever thought about killing Freddy by making him watch one of his own movies. This "re-imagining" might have done it. The technical shortcomings of the film are one thing (Lights, anyone? Did no-one think to hire any lights?), but the basic execution of a horror flick without horror or self deprecation is unforgivable. No surprises then, that it’s from Michael Bay’s production house.

What could have been a refreshingly vibey new start-up - it is, for all intents a "prequel" of sorts - ends up being little more than a poor excuse to load as many jump-cuts and ear-piercing screeches into 90 minutes - story, character and basic logic be damned.  

In Nightmare 2010, Freddy’s backstory is explored a bit more in-depth than in previous titles. We get to see Freddy’s early days as a homely hick who loves kids (sort of) and how he becomes the monster we all know and love. Previous movies never dealt with this in this much visual detail, and there was probably a reason for that. Freddy’s backstory seemed better left to a few lines of exposition, rather than being played out awkwardly and somewhat brutally on screen. In this case, less is definitely more.

Freddy is one of the last great creations from the pre-digital generation of horror auteurs. Krueger, Michael Myers (no, not the Austin Powers guy, although a case can be made...) and Jason Voorhees were brought to the screen by Wes Craven, John Carpenter and Steve Miner respectively (Jason wasn’t the killer in part one), and were terrifying ideas as well as characters – at least in their initial appearances.

A shame, then, that Nightmare wastes a misdirected Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. Haley is dangerously close to being typecast as the freak in the movies, thanks to a fine turn as Rorschach in Watchmen. But in Nightmare, he’s expected to give Krueger a human face with an almost-sympathetic history, which is not really the point of Freddy Krueger, a face of pure evil if there ever was one. 

Conversely, the hapless teens that are slaughtered on screechy cue are never worth caring about. It may be a director’s trick to shift the narrative from one doomed teen to the other, so you never really know who’s going to last, but the result is that the film doesn’t have a Heather Langenkamp to attach to, either. So one minute it’s "Ok, this is obviously the hero..." then "Oh, nope, guess not."

And none of those who DO get gutted is likely to be a Johnny Depp or a Kevin Bacon, either. Which leaves you with a film that simultaneously demoralises, deafens and emotionally blunts any remaining love for a character that we’ve somehow managed to tolerate for so many years... Michael Bay.

Freddy Krueger returns to haunt the nightmares of a new crop of innocents, though it proves a futile exercise.

raine 2010/07/16 8:08 AM
yes... but what did you really think about the movie? ;-)
max 2010/07/16 11:16 AM
  • Rating:
I have been a fan of the franchise (especially the first 3 movies) and I was quite excited about Freddy making a real comeback (not some Freddy vs Jason crap), but I was disappointed. It started off bluntly and amateurish and never improved. Also, the new guy shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as Robert Englund. He is a pathetic, creepy little man - more like a bug you wanna squash than a terrifying horror icon... I give it 3 out of 10 :-(
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