A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 11, 2010

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is inducted into the failed attempts pile of horror remakes. With Jackie Earle Haley replacing Robert Englund and the misfit teens replaced by “emo” youth, the remake leaves knife-sized slashes through the legacy of the horror king Wes Craven.

Sure, the original Freddy Krueger sagas were not 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 to keep prosthetic workers in the business. Stalking slasher films were replaced with the desire to see a man’s intestines strewn out for all to see. And that is precisely where the revamped “A Nightmare on Elm Street” picks up.

Give credit to Jackie Earle Haley’s acting ability. The man is an excellent actor with outstanding performances in “Watchmen” and “Shutter Island.” However, his role in “A 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 for the singer/director. Anyone not privy to the fact that Haley was in Nightmare on Elm Street would hardly know it was him. Freddy’s face burns come off as a caricature of the original. They don’t allow for much of a range in Haley’s performance. As old as he has become, I would have almost instead seen Robert Englund back in the sweater to have some solid portion of the originals back.

The teenagers in “A 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 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.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is not even slightly scary. Had the film not been a remake of such a popular franchise, it would have failed to scare even on the most superficial levels of being a horror film. When did scraping fingers on a wall become the scariest part of a film?

RELEASE DATE
April 30, 2010

DIRECTOR
Samuel Bayer

WRITTEN BY
Wesley Strick
Eric Heisserer

BASED ON
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”
by Wes Craven

STUDIO
Warner Bros. Pictures
New Line Cinema

R
(for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language)

CRIME
DRAMA
HORROR

MYSTERY
95 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jeff Cutter

COMPOSER
Steve Jablonsky

EDITOR
Glen Scantlebury

CAST
Jackie Earle Haley
Kyle Gallner
Rooney Mara
Katie Cassidy
Thomas Dekker
Kellan Lutz
Clancy Brown
Connie Britton

PRODUCED BY
Michael Bay
Andrew Form
Brad Fuller

BUDGET
$35 million

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