There is always a ton of horror movie nerd controversy about remakes in this genre, perhaps more than usual. And a remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street is way up there on the list. You seem to either be a die-hard Robert Englund fan and feel like this remake is some sort of personal afront to him and anyone that loves his work, or you have an open mind and take this movie for what it is.
There is always a ton of horror movie nerd controversy about remakes in this genre, perhaps more than usual. And a remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street is way up there on the list. You seem to either be a die-hard Robert Englund fan and feel like this remake is some sort of personal afront to him and anyone that loves his work, or you have an open mind and take this movie for what it is. And what is it, you ask? Not bad, actually.
This remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street has the same story; a grounds keeper at a nursery school, Fred Krueger, gets chased down and killed by a vigilante group of parents after their kids tell them he’s done bad things to them. Krueger ends up coming back to kill all the kids one by one, in their dreams.
This film carries with it a considerably darker tone than the original, with less humor and cheeky comments from our villian, Freddy Krueger. I have to say, I like that choice. As much of a fan as I am of the original and of Robert Englund, after the second or third Nightmare film, I found them less scary and more comical. I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. And it wasn’t necessarily Englund’s fault. You find yourself in a successful horror franchise, you keep doing them because the money’s good and they’re fun. But with the progressively silly wisecracks and absurd ways of killing people, well, the horror turned from creepy and scary to laughable. The scare was gone, and is there really anything worse that can happen to a horror movie?
Now that’s not to say there isn’t ANY humorous verbal jibes from the steel-clawed slasher. He gets some juicy tidbits of fun wordplay, it’s just that they tend to be humorous in a much darker vein. *Rimshot, please. This is, of course, the crux of the film: Freddy Krueger. Jackie Earl Haley is our new Freddy, and he does a fine job of it. He’s creepy, he’s got a presence on screen, and he makes you want to see more of him. No small task for a man that had to live up to one of the most popular horror icons of the past 25 years. I’d say he did a great job.
That being said, certainly I realize the original was great and was not yet plagued by the campy cheesiness that overshadowed the later films in this series. So looking at it from a single film, there probably wasn’t a big reason to remake this, and although I did enjoy it, I can’t really say that it added much of anything remarkably new to the original. However, from a franchise point of view, this is a great way to rejuvenate a classic horror film character with a darker tone and perhaps create some interesting new stories in the Freddy universe. Of course now all we have to hope for is that Hollywood doesn’t fuck it up again. How much faith do we have in that?
The film looked good, the majority of the effects were either practical or looked like it, anyway. There were a few places where it was obvious CG and those were the ones I liked the least. CG effects in horror almost always look like it and take horror away immediately. They have to be REALLY well done to pull it off. But it was only a couple moments here, so it’s not a huge deal.
The actors were all at the very least adequate if not quite good. You’ll recognize many of them from various TV shows and film. Clancy Brown plays the father of one of the kids and he’s always great. Connie Britton plays one of the mothers and she’s good, too. The film is shot nice and dark and keeps the mood. And there is enough blood and gore to definitely call this a horror film.
I wasn’t exactly blown away by this, but I do see enough good here to be explored further. This script was decent so as long as they can maintain that, I think Freddy may indeed be back. I certainly think Jackie Earl Haley pulled it off. This was a fun horror movie.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, pleasantly surprised by his visit to Elm Street.