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A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

What he said:

He

I remember when the trailer for this came out I thought it looked fairly decent. It wasn’t one of those remakes that I saw a preview for and said “Well I won’t be seeing that one”.  I was interested from the get go for a few reasons.

First, Jackie Earle Haley was in it. You may or may not know who he is, depending on your movie history knowledge; he first gained popularity as a child actor, most notably for playing “bad-ass” (and baseball star) Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears. Then for all intents and purposes he fell of the map. He was still working, but not making anything anyone really wanted to see. Then in 2006 came a movie called The Little Children.  I have never seen this movie, but I understand it gained some notoriety. From what I have read, he plays a pretty bad boy in that movie, which is important because it laid the groundwork for the resurgence of his career.  Since then he’s played the sociopathic Rorschach in the Watchmen, a mental patient in Shutter Island, and now major creeper and supernatural killer Freddy Krueger. The guy really does “off” people quite well. I would love to see him do a mafia movie, because his size and intimidate factor remind me of something along the lines of vintage Joe Pesci.

This version of Freddy is a few notches up on the “eww” scale. He’s done things that the original Nightmare actually dropped from the first script because they felt it was too much. Robert Englund’s Krueger became something of a parody after a few liners. The movies became something else. Freddy spewed one-liners like the goofy troublemaker in the back of class. He also became something of a whipping boy too – getting whooped on by various teenagers over the years. Not since the original Nightmare on Elm Street has there been such a frightening version of this character.

The other reason I wanted to see this movie was because of how Freddy looked, I mean that quite literally. Even before Freddy became something of a punch line the makeup always looked a little fake to me. It simply looked like rubber. This movie corrects that issue and is in my opinion the best looking Freddy to date.

The characters themselves are nothing all that special. They aren’t unlikeable and you don’t find yourself rooting for their deaths like say in a Friday the 13th movie, but there’s just no wow factor. They are pretty disposable and are merely there to be tortured by Freddy. I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit and would give it a higher rating, but the characters were as forgettable as they come. The original has such a strong female lead that the bland characaters in this movie stand out a bit. That being said, it was quite scary and Jackie Earle Haley's performance makes up for that.

Rating: Thumbs half way up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on October 13, 2010.

What she said:

She

Sweet dreams….at least that’s what Freddy Krueger whispers to his victims as he beckons them into his world.  Then he slashes them to pieces, killing them both in their dreams and in reality.  And there’s lots of blood.  Lots and lots of blood.

Horror remakes, or even any remake for that matter, are always risky.  Why mess with something good?  And the industry rarely seems to remake the bad movies (except maybe The Hulk).  Anyway, A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t bad.  It’s just not super duper either.  Like all horror movies it has those doh moments.  And some stuff seems completely contrived.  It also seems that this Nightmare is the story of a town of single, and strikingly irresponsible, parents.  But that’s good, because it’s less parents to get in the way of the gore and terror. 

I can’t complain that I found this film in any way boring.  It’s pretty engaging from beginning to end.  Not because the viewer is engrossed in the depth of the characters, or watching any big lesson being told.  It’s because the color of crimson really looks good on these kids, and it’s kind of interesting to watch their physical appearance deteriorate right before your eyes as they fall deeper and deeper into the throes of sleep deprivation.

Here’s the thing that I’m just not sure about with this movie.  They try to explain the monster that is Freddy Krueger.  Who cares, he’s scary, demonic, and supernatural.  He doesn’t really need some weak backstory to show why he’s singled out these kids to kill. Who cares, he’s psychotic.  And the backstory, well, it’s just kinda gross and all it tells us is what we already know…he’s a sick killer. 

So, the movie is fun to watch, especially around this time of year.  But it’s no masterpiece.  I’ll recommend it, just because it’s October.

Diagnosis: Thumbs mostly up.

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