Proof Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Release Date
April 30, 2010
Director
Samuel Bayer
Screenplay
Wesley Strick
Eric Heisserer
Distributed By
Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget
$35 million
Horror
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language
95 minutes

A Nightmare On Elm Street

In the true art of relentless horror remakes, Nightmare on Elm Street becomes inducted into the failed attempts pile. With Jackie Earle Haley replacing Robert Englund and the misfit teens being replaced by “emo” youth, the remake leaves knife sized slashes through the legacy that the horror king Wes Craven left behind.

Sure, the original Freddy Krueger sagas were anything but commercial successes, but they eventually stood for something. Krueger became an anti-hero that was cheered for snuffing out unruly teens. However, through the decades, horror films lost their luster and became gore fests, existing for the sole fact of keeping prosthetic workers in business. The thrill of the hunt was lost to the desire for seeing a man’s intestines strewn out for all to see. And that is exactly where the revamped Nightmare on Elm Street picks up.

Credit should not be taken away from Jackie Earle Haley’s acting ability. The man is an excellent actor with amazing performances in Watchmen and Shutter Island, however, the role in Nightmare on Elm Street was doomed from the start, with horror remakes rarely ending well. Take Rob Zombie’s versions of Halloween. If anyone could successfully portray a horror film, you would imagine Zombie would be that man. Instead, the Halloween films are a bust, accepted only by those who show undying love to the singer/director. Anyone not privy to the fact that Haley was in Nightmare on Elm Street would hardly know it was the same man. The “burns” on the face of Freddy come off as a caricature of the original and do not allow for much of a range of performance from Haley. As old as he has become, I would have almost rather saw Robert Englund back in the part, just to have some solid portion of the originals back.

The teenagers in Nightmare on Elm Street are victims of their parent’s wrongdoings. However, in the original films, the disobedience and misguided natures of the teens made them perfect targets for Freddy. The teenagers of the remake have no dimensions and appear characterless. The viewer is simply force-fed a dozen teenagers with zero personality and we watch as they struggle to stay awake and try to survive the onslaught of Freddy. Does the audience have any emotional attachment to these characters? Not in the slightest.

Nightmare on Elm Street is not even slightly scary. Had the film not been a remake of such a popular franchise, it fails to scare even on the simplest levels of being a horror film. When did scraping fingers on a wall become the scariest part of a film? There is no depth. Just teens ripe for the killing and even that does not appear to even fit correctly.

 

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