A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) Film Summary & Review

Posted 2005/06/02 32 0

Let me first say that Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is for me the very definition of “formative.” The first horror movie I had ever seen at the tender young age of — 7? 8? I can’t quite remember — it sent me cowering into the sofa pillows and gave me nightmares for weeks. (My parents’ policies regarding what constituted appropriate viewing were, shall we say, laissez-faire, for which I remain grateful.) To put it mildly, Freddy scared the shit out of little me — and yet I still wanted to watch, which speaks volumes about Craven’s ability to make movies that are scary-fun rather than scary-brutal or scary-nasty.

Nightmare’s Remake “A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)” is Better?

This isn’t to say that I currently worship the original Nightmare — I haven’t seen it in some time, and only have a couple of the sequels under my belt. (The ultra-self-referential New Nightmare I thought was pretty damn great.) But I have a lot of affection for it — and especially for Robert Englund’s performance as the cruel, occasionally wisecracking, profoundly wicked child murderer bent on revenge (in dreams, with knife-hands). In the series’ better films, Freddy brilliantly toed the line between menacing and cartoonish — though a quintessential horror villain in a lot of ways he was, in that sense at least, pretty unique.

What Does A Nightmare on Elm Street Holds for Fans? – Synopsis-

Which brings me, reluctantly and rather angrily, to the new version, regurgitated by Michael Bay’s horror remake mill Platinum Dunes, and directed by music video vet Samuel Bayer. I am loath to start tossing around insults, but A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 casts serious doubt on the adage, often trotted out by critics when they are feeling charitable or contrite, that no one sets out to make a bad movie. Astoundingly useless and boring, the remake is — forgive me — a goddamn nightmare.

I mean, start with the fact that the movie is cut together as if an actual script had never been written. Horror movie characters are rarely very eloquent and clever, but the soon-to-be-dead teenagers here often sound like they aren’t even in the same room when they’re talking to each other. “They’re just dreams, they aren’t real,” coos girl reassuringly. “These dreams, they’re real,” responds boy, undeterred. Or consider this exchange between two characters, who apparently haven’t seen each other in a while:

“It’s been a long time.”

“Especially under these circumstances.”

I don’t mean to nitpick, but the movie is careless, sloppy, and tone-deaf. It doesn’t care about these people, and doesn’t care if you care. They are cogs in a cynical machine, spitting out glossy product according to a reliable formula — and befouling classic genre films in the process. Because it’s what the machine dictates, this Elm Street is one dreary jump scare after another, without so much as a moment to breathe, show something interesting or revealing about one of its doomed teens, or deliver a single line of dialogue that isn’t dully and directly on-point.

R – Rated Or Kids Rated?

Nor does Nightmare have anything to offer by any of the usual horror flick standards. Though it took the R rating instead of shooting for the potentially more lucrative PG-13, it is astonishingly tame, as if the filmmakers were too lazy or afraid to go for broke. The plot is essentially identical to the original, with a scarred and melted Freddy showing up in the dreams of high-schoolers hell-bent on revenge years after their parents ran him out of town and burned him alive, but knife-fingered Freddy, played by a game Jackie Earle Haley, no longer has any sense of mischief. He’s just a baddie, showing up on cue to terrorize our anonymous heroes. The film’s most promising thread is the protagonists’ debilitating struggle to stay awake, since falling asleep means certain torment and probable death, but Bayer’s point-and-shoot direction can’t convey their desperation.

There’s one modern horror remake that’s transcended the epidemic of by-the-numbers tedium that has captured nearly all of its contemporaries: Marcus Nispel’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which had real characters, real stakes, and real scares. A Nightmare on Elm Street is kid stuff — amateur hour. The seven year-old me would probably have been duly horrified, and would have turned it off. The adult me was bored to tears.

Open minded, avanturistic & futuristic guy. Ladies go crazy after me. Fallen in love in writing movie reviews. Ever since my dad took me to cinema almost every weekend I’ve moved on from reality and jumped in the sci-fi & fantasy realm.