Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street [2010]
Starring: Jackie Earl Haley and some random teens
Directed by: Samuel Bayer

A serial killer who wields a glove with four blades embedded in the fingers stalks the dreams of a group of teenagers, resulting in their real death in reality.

Maybe my expectations were punched down into the gutter due to the bad reviews this film is getting, but i was honestly entertained enough by this remake to enjoy it. It didn't reach any massive heights, but it was never going to anyway, the original has been out for years, this is a remake, other than a few new changes here and there, it's all very "been there done that".

I've been hearing about how atrocious the acting was, can't say i was all that horrified by it. The actors were serviceable enough. They certainly had to take on more than the original cast of kids did, and for that i think they did fine. I thought the new Nancy was likeable enough, and i didn't care that the kids were emo. That seems to be an issue for some fans, they're apparently sick of seeing emos in horror movies. Only a couple of the cast were, so i didn't see the fuss really. The movie reflects the generation this was geared to. Whatever.

The story was fine [though i had some minor gripes, i'll talk about them later]. I certainly think they tried to give the movie a meater feel, and there was at least more depth to the conversations and back story than the original offered. Some fans mentioned they were really bored by it, i wasn't, i liked that in some ways it became a horror mystery rather than a by the numbers hack and slash fest from start to finish.

The music was great and the look of the film was good. The slightly cheeky side of Freddy that we all know and love wasn't evident AT ALL in this, but i didn't have an issue with them taking the material as seriously as they did. I've seen enough funny Freddy in my lifetime, at least they tried to give us something a little different when compared to the original series. That's what a remake should do, offer something new. Whether or not that's the style of Freddy you like is another story though.

As for Jackie, i enjoyed his portrayal. His face was odd to look at, i wasn't sure if i liked it that much, but at times i kinda did. It's hard to wipe the image of Englund's Freddy out of my mind, i had to keep trying to do that in this to focus on critiquing this Freddy on his own merits. He certainly LOOKED like a burn victim, but his eye area at times made him kinda look like a cute kitten face or something, lol.
I liked where he took the character though. He wasn't "scary" [though Freddy doesn't scare me anymore as an adult anyway], but he certainly felt dangerous in parts, and i liked the little mannerisms he had at times, like the way he would quickly moves his fingers together playing with his knives. Nice touch. He was a bit of a creepy pervert too, he certainly liked getting close with the girls. I thought he did a good job in making it his own.

Now for the stuff that i had some issues with.....

I wasn't sure if i liked that Freddy was a paedophile instead of a child murderer. The movie didn't have enough emotional impact to take that route. They should have kept him as a creepy child killer. I dunno, that just wasn't really meshing well for me.
The scene where Nancy finds the peado pics of herself as a kid didn't really leave any impression on me. Making the kids victims of molestation added a whole new weight to the story that should have been a very intense and emotionally unfolding experience. They didn't really do it that way, opting to just have the kids "remember", freak out a bit, and then go on with their day. I realize they had more important things to worry about, like DYING, but if Freddy was simply a child killer, they could have just gone straight to that instead of giving the teens this extra burden to focus on and sweep under the table quickly.

The one thing that the original Elm St does best when compared to the remake, is tension and build up. Freddy is a creepy shadow for most of the first half of the original. We don't see him too clearly, he's a voice in the darkness, he stalks you, he plays with you. In the remake, he doesn't do any of that. He seems to go right in for the kill a bit too fast for my taste. SCARE the teens, HAUNT them, get them shitting their pants, make them feel like something is coming for them. The new Freddy seemed so desperate to see them all dead, the only thing keeping them alive was the coincidental times the teens "woke up" and got away from Freddy. That's kinda boring.

The one major moment where atmosphere and tension was lost was with the 'Freddy coming through the wall scene'. In movie 1, that's executed SO perfectly. We get a brief shot of Nancy sleeping with that giant white wall behind her and the cross hanging above her head. That in itself looked creepy. Then when Freddy comes through the wall, it's done in a way that makes you feel like he's watching her. He isn't going to kill her right now, he just wants to let the viewer know he's a presence in her dream. He melts through the wall, and goes away.
In the remake, there's no quiet build up or atmosphere to that scene.
He literally just randomly melts through the wall, and quickly moves down to make an attack. Wtf? give us a little suspense please!. The scene seemed to come and go in 5 seconds. Didn't like how that was pulled off, but the scene itself wasn;t "bad"..

Another part of the film that i thought could have been remade frame by frame was Tina's death. Again, Freddy just goes in for the kill with no build up.
She rises off the bed [that was cool] and is then thrown from wall to wall violently????? no. What made the original Tina death so iconic, was HOW he killed her. It was SLOW, he took his time, and having her be pulled UP the wall and over the ceiling was a REALLY GREAT moment. She was being dragged to her death and it looked creepy doing it upside down. They really should have done it that way in the remake. Having her simply thrown around was boring and completely took away from what made the original so memorable.

The dream sequences i didn't mind. They weren't overly interesting, but they went for a more "realistic" type of film, so i guess they didn't want to go to crazy with the over the top dreams. Still, the dream sequences are when they could have been really creative, but they kept it a bit too low key for my taste.
I loved the re-creation of the of Tina/body bag school hallway scene [her name wasn't Tina in the remake], that was creepy.
I also liked Nancy falling through floor of liquid, and then her falling out of the blood ceiling. The pharmacy dream was REALLY cool, and the only dream throughout the whole thing that had a sense of fun to it. Loved the constant micro sleeping that was going on while Nancy was trying to stay awake while crawling for help with Freddy's image flickering towards her between both worlds. That sort of stuff reminded me of what i loved about the dreams in the original series. They were fun. I would have liked to have seen more of that.

My last issue with this film was
the line Nancy delivers right before she cuts off Freddy's head. I'm all for cheesy one liners, but they need to be used right. In that scene, it just came off a bit random and stupid. "This is my world now, bitch!"...........erm, when did she start talking like this?...........she was reserved and quiet, and all of a sudden she becomes Stallone in Rambo. No. Shut up. Drop the "bitch" and just get to the killing. Awful cringe worthy moment.

Overall, was it as good as the original? no, but as a remake i certainly didn't mind it. I think it improved on a few things, like the script and acting, but with atmosphere that wasn't as strong as it should be, and with the imagination being sucked out of the dream sequences, it all felt a little too empty in parts. It's a decent enough effort though, and not the blazing turd disaster critics and some fans are making it out to be. It's light years better than cap like Zombie's Halloween and the Friday the 13th remake.

If you completely remove the original from your brain, it's easier to enjoy. That's hard to do though. Not sure how it'll hold up on repeat viewings, could go a tiny bit higher, could stay the same. We'll see.

1 comment:

Annyex9 said...

I saw this the day after it came out. My ratings would be 2.5 out of 5?
I'm trying very hard to see this movie like I have not seen the originals.
I think it is okay, quite entertaining and enjoyable for the audience who hasn't seen the 1980s version.
A lot of the bad things have already been mentioned. But I'll note just a few,
One, there's that absent of ambiguity between the dreamworld and reality of the victims. Make it even more obvious when Quentin states it!
Two, that hunger which Freddy just wants to slaugter them all kind of lost the humor and sense of what Freddy really wants with them- kill them, then what?
And, the parent's ways of dealing "justice" is comical and quite foolish.
Certainly a light pat on the back for the remake but sometimes you just can't make originals better than it is...