16 May 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 - REVIEW

As a huge fan of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, I found it hard to go in without that film in my head. I did my best to put aside my disdain for remakes and the disappointment that Robert Englund wasn't in the role that MADE Freddy Krueger a real life nightmare for us all. I've been mulling over this review for two days now. How do I put aside my faithfulness to the original and give this new film an honest review? The truth is, you can't. The original is there, and it's there to stay and you can't just unsee something. There's no switch you can flip and make like it was never there. With that said, I'll do my absolute best to give it an honest review while throwing in the differences between the two films.

I'm not gonna get into a long synopsis of the film because we all know the storyline, (this ain't our first rodeo). A disturbed child molester gets trapped and killed by avenging parents then comes back to get his revenge by haunting, torturing and killing their children in their dreams. In the original there was never any mention of molestation which amazingly makes 2010's Freddy (Jackie Earl Haley) even more despicable. There was a huge difference in the whole "making of Freddy" thing. This time around, he looked more like a healed burn victim whereas in the original he had a more recently burned look about him. As far as make up goes, I'd have to say 2010's Freddy won the battle.

Now you might ask which Freddy I like better and that's a great question however, I can't answer it. I've honestly never been so torn between an original and remake before. There was always that clear sucks ass or doesn't suck ass opinion in my head but not now. I found the new Freddy to be extremely creepy and more of a "I don't fuck around" kind of dude. The original Freddy had that "I'm gonna toy with you until you can't take anymore then I'm gonna put you out of your misery" thing going for him. As far as I'm concerned, they were both successful in their efforts to grab hold and demand your attention.

Moving onto the rest of the cast who, for all intensive purposes, were just drones added in to give Freddy something to play with. I didn't get why almost the first full hour of the film was dedicated to Kris (Katie Cassidy) when she was in fact the modernized version of Tina who was tossed around the room The Entity style and gutted within the first 15 minutes of the original. Why waste an hour of the film on someone who ISN'T the main character? Didn't make sense to me. And some of her scenes (the one where she wakes up screaming in class) were actually Nancy scenes in the original. She's sitting in class and hears Tina's haunting calls. When she looks out into the hallway, Tina's battered and bloody corpse is there, in a leaky body bag then dragged away. THIS is how we know Nancy has gone from being awake to dreaming. There was always a transition in the original. In the remake it was so hard to tell what was truly going on and I think it has a lot to do with the introduction of "micro-napping" which is described plainly as your brain shutting down. You're awake but you're so tired that your mind just starts dreaming. (Yeah, okay)

And the character of Nancy (Rooney Mara) was a total misfire in every way. Every time I saw her, I thought of the little girl from The Ring. Did she bathe at all during the making of this film?? She was so dull and boring. I found nothing likable about her at all and she really wasn't given much to do. I mean the movie is 1 hour and 35 minutes long and the majority of it was focused on Kris. For the most part, the whole cast seemed like a bunch of blindfolded penguins just running around bumping into each other.

Kyle Gallner, who plays Quentin, is effective as Reed Garrett on CSI: NY but here, he falls way short. Another blogger said he looked like a reject from the Twilight saga and I couldn't agree more. I won't even get into Thomas Dekker's portrayal of Jesse (who is suppose to be Rod) except to say he needs to cut back on the guyliner.

I did appreciate the way Samuel Bayer incorporated pieces of the original into the new one i.e. the bloody body bag in the hallway, the bathtub scene, Freddy's face stretching out of the wall. There are also new things added in and changes made that I couldn't even wrap my brain around. Like, Nancy is this meager, timid young girl who hides in her room and sketches. But the first sign that she's deep into a micro-nap she sticks a car lighter to her arm and barely makes a face? Whatever dude, no one is THAT tough.

Also, in the original they were all basically best friends sharing the same dream about the same scary guy in the red and green sweater and the dirty fedora. Now, they're strangers who were actually friends in preschool but don't remember because their parents killed the sadistic freak that was molesting them all. Okay, all together now..... HUH?????????????????? What the fuckity fuck fuck were Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer thinking when they came up with that switch? Let's break it down --- They were all friends when they were little, right? Right... ok so, please explain to me how they all grew up in the same town, went to the same school, ate at the same restaurant and never, ever, EVER remembered that they all used to get a little pickle tickle from the freaky gardener?? Come on!!! You're not just making this movie for horror starved teens! WE ARE HERE!!! The people who've known and yes loved Freddy Kreuger and the NOES franchise since 1984. To us he's a horror icon and if you're gonna redo it, holy fuck, make it good. Is that too much to ask??

Bottom line, Haley delivers and totally carries the whole movie. The changes they made sucked and disappointed but at least the story line stayed the same. I can't say don't go see it because it's not terrible but I'm not sure that it'll be one I rush to get when it comes out on DVD.

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