A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) Review

I was 14 when I snuck into the theater with a bunch of my buddies to see some movie we had heard about called A Nightmare On Elm Street. It was 1984 and my life would never be the same again. It was one of those experiences, like the first time I held a girl's hand or ate salsa, that would forever change my life. Some years later when I met my wife and we got married, we saw a commercial for Freddy's Dead (Elm Street 6) and I was pleasantly surprised that she was excited to go. She, like I, loved Krueger. We also both agreed that none of the sequels came close to the sheer awesomeness of the original. A few months back we went to see the movie The Crazies and a trailer came on that blew our minds away. It was like a dream come true or should I say a nightmare come true. Yep. They had remade A Nightmare On Elm Street.

The Elm Street series had become so ridiculous that I think it's only fair to judge this remake compared to the original film, but that's not enough. Recent remakes of classic horror movies have set the bar pretty high. Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th were all awesome movies, and were all fantastic remakes. In preparing for this joint review, Meatwad and I agreed to some guidelines:

The key to a great remake is it has to be true to the original, but should also bring something new to the table. Plus most of the originals of these movies were made about 30 years ago so advances in special effects, make-up and movie-making in general has got to be used wisely in the remake. A good remake has to help people forget what was so wrong with the sequels. In the case of Elm Street they just became too damn goofy. I don't think I could handle seeing another teenager's head featured as a meatball on top of a giant pizza that Freddy is eating. So for this movie to be good, it couldn't have any of that crap in it.

Long story short, this movie was awesome. It met and exceeded all expectations. It did drag a bit in the beginning but wow, it got so good I almost felt 14 again by the end of it. Several iconic scenes from the original have been incorporated while whole new concepts were explored making the film much richer than the original. I've read several reviews that make a big deal about the "Micro-naps" shown in this flick, as if they're something the producers of this movie had just made up. However, it seems to me the Department of Transportation has been warning us of the dangers of driving while fatigued for years. Now there's a whole new reason to fear the dreaded micro-naps. Sadly I can't tell you about my favorite aspect of this movie without ruining a crucial part, but I will just say that the final sequence goes somewhere where the original dared not to tread.

There was some bad. This Freddy is much more talkative than Freddy in the original film, but no where near as bad as he would eventually get. Unfortunately he does get close once or twice and for that the film loses a star. I would also like to take a star away for some of the special effects. There's two scenes in particular that were pretty bad, but I just can't take that 2nd star away. I loved this movie far too much. So with that in mind it is my great pleasure to award A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) 4 stars.

I was a little bit of a psycho as a kid in terms of what I considered great entertainment. After being introduced to Freddy in the 5th grade, I became a horror freak delighting in on-screen death, dismemberment, and gore. Fangoria magazine was regularly found on my night stand and some of my family, specifically my big brother was sure I was going to end up a serial killer. His paranoia culminated in an act that I consider one of the most traumatic moments in my young life.

In preparation for a costume party at school for Halloween in my 6th grade year, I had watched and rewatched that opening scene in the original A Nightmare on Elm Steet at least 100 times. Utilizing things I had at my disposal, Scissors, wooden dowels, an old glove, and some serious ingenuity, I fashioned what I thought of as a perfect replica of Freddy’s infamous glove. Knowing our schools policy on bringing implements of death to school, I had even talked to my teacher and received special permission to bring my glove to school as a costume accessory. Once I had that permission, I spread it around like wildfire that I had a real Freddy glove and would be bringing it to school. None of my friends believed me, so showing them on Halloween would be so sweet. Unfortunately, the night before Halloween, I was in my room admiring my handy work when my big bro walked by and saw me wearing the glove. He pounced, grabbed the glove, ran into another room, took a pair of scissors, and cut the fingers off of my masterpiece right there in front of me. He just looked down at me and said “Dude, you are a psycho” and handed me back only the cut-up remnants of the leathery palm. It was already late and their was no way I would be able to rebuild before the party. So, through blurry eyes, I made some cardboard cutouts, wrapped them in foil, taped them to the fingers of a yellow cloth glove, and took it to school the next day so as to have a somewhat recognizable costume. Everyone said they knew I was lying about the glove, and they thought the story about my brother was just a lie piled on a lie.

I tell you this prior to reviewing this movie to let you know how invested in this story and character I was. In a sick kind of way, he was my Superman, demented as that sounds. I followed the whole series of movies and enjoyed the comic relief, charisma, and creative mental tortures Freddy always gave his victims. That being said, they got a little too campy and I really only consider the first movie as truly horrific. There were a couple of scenes in that first one that still keep me up at night. Tina in that body bag whispering “Nancy” still creeps the hell out of me. So, like Jim mentions, we are only basing this review as a comparison of the first movie, not what the series became.

This was a true remake, in that they tried very hard to recreate the exact scenes that made the original so good. I can count at least 3 or 4 scenes that were almost exactly like the first, however, I have to say they didn’t garner the same “horror” as I remember. The body bag wasn’t really as creepy and reminded me more of a Ziplock full of Heinz than a dismembered teenager in a bag, even with the new special effects. They also redid the flying around the room scene which pretty much did the original justice, but still didn’t torture my soul with anything new.

As for Freddy’s new look. It is more burn victim-like, but less scary to me for some reason. I would describe it as a cross between the inbred kid banjo player in “Deliverance” and Rocky Dennis (look it up). He does talk too much and we really do see his face way too much in this version as well. That is also a divergence from the original film which is another aspect that I think made it so scary.

They did throw a couple of twists in this one about the origins of Freddy, which was not at all like the first version. I didn’t mind these changes with the exception of one biggie. Freddy’s motivation in this movie has nothing to do with the raw evil that his biography tells us was bred into him from “a thousand maniacs“. He is supposed to be the embodiment of the worst parts of every one of those sickos creating a being that was predestined to plague this earth. This new incarnation of Freddy has motivations that go to a place that was not really touched on too much before, and to be honest, I didn’t like it at all. I don’t want to give too much away, but come on, it is obvious that Freddy has always been fueled by the fear and torture of others, and it was never just about satisfying something sexual. Leaving a little more mystery would have been a good thing.

Other things like the micro-naps were good and added to the “not sure what is a dream and what is reality” aspect of the film. I didn’t jump once, and didn’t see anyone in the audience jump either, which isn’t really prerequisite to a good horror film in my book, but might be for some. There was absolutely no nudity, which is consistent with the series but disappointing none-the-less. I am also sad to say that if you remember the very last scene in the original, and the fact that it looked out of place and didn’t really make sense with the rules of the dream world, there is likewise a scene in this film that follows suit and should also have been omitted. In that respect, the new movie makers could have been more clever.

I don’t really know what would have made this a better film for me, but Rob Zombie as a director would have been a good start. Also, if they could have found a way to kill Johnny Depp again in a fountain of blood, I would have been thrilled. It was modestly entertaining but after watching the film, I didn’t even think about it once the remainder of the night, including when I went to bed and was lying there in the dark. That was not the case with many of the other recent remakes that were so well done. That being said, it didn’t do anything horrifically memorable for me and will probably be thrown in with the new Chucky remake rather than the masterpieces that were the new Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes. They had scenes that still won’t leave my head. Yeah, meat hooks leave a mark. I’ll cut a little slack though because, for one, I am soul-less and am desensitized to everything, and two, for me, they had some pretty big shoes to fill. So, I’ll grant 3 stars on this one.


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...