Happy Halloween month horror fans! It’s me, Slick Dungeon and I’m here to review yet another A Nightmare on Elm Street film. Sharp eyed readers of this blog may notice I have reviewed every Freddy film up to this point in order. But, I’m making an exception here because I am skipping Freddy vs. Jason. The reason I am skipping over that one is I consider it to be part of my Friday the 13th review series and since that movie will be the last of those (come on we need a 13th Friday the 13th movie!) I will be releasing that review on the next Friday… the 13th. There isn’t one of those this October so you’re gonna have to wait. Also, you can probably guess who I am in favor of in this match up by that release schedule.
Okay, that out of the way, I am here to review the remake of the original film in the Nightmare series. This is the one from 2010 simply titled A Nightmare on Elm Street. Do be aware this review will contain spoilers so if you haven’t watched the movie, give it a look, reflect on whether remakes and reboots for horror should be a thing at all, try to sleep, have a nightmare or two, then come back here and read this review.
Wes Craven, Robert Englund, and pretty much anyone else having anything to do with the original series are not to be found in this film. Freddy is instead played by Jackie Earle Haley. It seems the intention behind this remake was to go back to Freddy’s roots and make him the dark, less quip-filled, character Wes Craven originally had in mind.
A lot of the elements of the original are here. The plot is not dissimilar from the first, although it is set in modern day. There is a man invading people’s dreams and if you die in your dreams, you die in reality. His name is Freddy Krueger and he’s a scary looking burned mess of a man who wears a glove with knives on the fingers.
This man has a history of committing unspeakable acts against children and the parents in the town are covering up the fact they murdered him. We even see a lot of the same scenes which were most memorable in the first movie. There’s the ceiling scene, yes that one, and also that other one too. We see the bath scene as well.
This is still a remake though, so there is a bit of a spin on the way the scenes are shot and not everything in the movie is identical. The plot is essentially the same though.
I think that may be the problem with this movie. The original A Nightmare on Elm Street film was groundbreaking. Wes Craven came up with not just a relentless killer, similar to Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees, but who could appear anywhere. If he can invade your dreams you can’t escape him. It was a brand new way to terrify audiences. In 2010 if you had even seen a horror movie, you knew the story of Freddy Krueger. That makes it nearly impossible to bring new terror to this story.
The makeup they use for Freddy here is more realistic to actual burn victims but somehow it seems less terrifying. With Robert Englund, part of the appeal here is impossible things from your dreams could kill you, so if Freddy wasn’t exactly photo realistic, it didn’t matter, because he was still a dream.
And the CGI effects use here don’t seem as menacing as some of the simple film tricks from the first movie. The ceiling scene, where a victim is thrashed in the air has a nearly cartoonish quality in this film but seems utterly believable in the first one.
There is more of a clear explanation of Krueger’s history in this movie, it doesn’t elevate the story enough to make it truly terrifying. The directing of the film is good and overall the acting is not bad but it’s just not new in any way.
For my money, I would rather see a new innovation in horror than rehash an old classic. If you are a Freddy movie fan, this one is one of the few I would say is totally skippable.
Maybe I’m just biased here because I remember the original movie from when it came out. Are you a fan of horror remakes? If so, let me know in the comments. Maybe there is one that delivers better than this one, and I would be interested in seeing how it holds up.