Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) - Samuel Bayer

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Director: Samuel Bayer
Writers: Wesley Strick (Screenplay), Eric Heisserer (Screenplay), Wes Craven (Characters)
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton

While waiting for A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) to come out I went through moments of both excitement and complete disappointment. At first I thought that it shouldn't be remade because I didn't want to see anyone other than Robert Englund in the iconic role of Freddy Krueger. On top of that, it was being made by the same studio that made Friday the 13th (2009) and we all know how much I hated that movie. Then I found out that Jackie Earle Haley was going to play Freddy and I thought that if anyone could take the role and make it work it would be him.

Well it turns out that I was right about how I would feel about the movie. There were some good things about it and there were some bad things (probably more bad than good). I will just begin by saying that I didn't enjoy the movie but if they hire some better writers for the sequels they may be able to conjur up a decent horror film in the future.

We'll start with the good. Jackie Earle Haley is actually really good as Freddy. He actually brings an intensity to the role that hasn't been seen with Freddy in awhile. he definitely isn't better in the role than Englund but Freddy had become a somewhat silly character in a lot of the sequels and Haley leaves all that silliness behind. He has his one liners just like Freddy has always had but he makes them come across as menacing and never silly. He was the one bright spot in the movie and he is the only reason I think a sequel could work if done correctly.

The makeup they used for Freddy also looked pretty damn good. I love the old look of Freddy but with this movie they went for a more realistic, burn victim look. He looks more like you would expect someone to look that had been burned alive. This is to be expected though. Technology advances and makeup effects get better. I mean, as much as I hate Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001), I can't deny that the make up effects are far superior to those used in the original. However, I don't think they were going for realism in the original Nightmare, I think they were going disgusting and it worked.

Now, on to things that I didn't like about the film. That would be just about everything else in the movie but the thing that bothered me the most was the lack of character development. The original Nightmare did use mostly cliche, horror movie stock characters but the audience got to spend some time getting to know them before they started dying. The audience sees them interacting together, sees them having fun together, basically sees them living and enjoying their lives. You never see any of this in the remake. All the characters seem depressed and tired from the very beginning of the movie. They never really seem alive so there is no reason for the audience to care when Freddy comes to kill them.

There weren't many scary moments in the film either. I never once felt any feelings of suspense or dread while waiting for Freddy to attack. I was able to tell exactly when Freddy was going to jump out and try to scare the audience. The film makers didn't seem to put any effort at all into building up the suspense. This is the same problem I had with the Friday the 13th remake so maybe we just have a lot of film makers today that don't know how to make a scary horror movie. Overall there just isn't much in the movie worth seeing except Haley and for him alone I will at least check out the sequel when it comes out but I'm not expecting much.

Rating: 4/10

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