HHC:25:Nightmare on Elm St (2010)

I have spent a lot of time in the adorable suburb of Springwood. Each time with a different group of doomed teens. I watch as one by one, they get picked off by an alarmingly burnt fashion-fail of a man who seeks his revenge on the parents of the town by going after their children through their dreams.  Sadly, each time, the acting gets worse and worse, while our villain gets more goofy and less frightening. So 2010 seemed like a perfect time to reintroduce our man Alfred Krueger to the next generation and hopefully keep them awake at night.

My first exposure to Freddy, the knive-fingered stabbing machine, came when Nightmare on Elm Street 3 first came out on VHS, and a bunch of my friends came over for a birthday sleepover. We watched two Friday the 13th films and a Halloween. We blew right through those effortlessly and without incident. NOES3 was the only one that had any effect, and that effect lasted 3-4 days. I was too terrified to sleep, and held off as long as I could before finally succumbing. And so began my love affair with the Springwood Slasher. Needless to say, this remake has a LOT to live up to.

This is a fine attempt, but does it work?

Positives: Jackie Earle Haley is the perfect actor to take over the role made so infamous by Robert Englund. He brings his own special attitude to the role he makes it his own. He did a fantastic job here. Also, thank GOD they got an actual ACTRESS to play Nancy’s mum. The woman in the original was just awful. This movie deserves something for casting Friday Night Lights actress Connie Britton! Thanks, Connie,  for making that role bearable! (She truly was the worst part of that original). There are a couple cute little touches that I like in this film. At one point, Quentin is at the library on his laptop researching insomnia, when he dozes off while his computer is seen going into “sleep mode”. I like the addition of Micro-naps, which are a real occurance and bring an real element of surprise, that Fred can appear anytime at all. Another cool addition is the allusion of Freddy to the Pied Piper, a character who “gets betrayed by a town and takes his revenge by taking all the town’s children.”

BAD-ASS MOMENT AWARD goes to the scene where Fred kills one of the kids and says “Did you know that after the heart stops beating, the brain keeps functioning for well over seven minutes? …We got 6 more minutes to play…” Fucking awesome.

Some problems: for a guy who comes at you in your dreams, you’d think he’d be a little more inventive (that is to say, the filmmakers should be more inventive). In the scene from above with Quentin, he starts investigating the layout of the library to find Freddy sitting at a table with a bunch of children. The “scare” of the scene is Freddy turning around to face Quentin in such a quick cut and with a loud sound, that it causes a jump for the audience. But this is a dream, where things don’t make sense and ANYthing can happen, right? There aren’t any actual physics. Why do the boring thing and have him just whip around, when Fred could literally come at Quentin through a friggin’ WALL? He could come from the top of the frame, inches from Quentin’s face, as if he’s standing on the ceiling..literally anything could have happened, but they opted for “Freddy turns around. Quickly. Enter loud noise.” Bit of a misstep here, I think. Also, any time they revisit any of the original scares (the ceiling murder, Freddy coming through the wall, etc) they just aren’t as effective as they were in the original. CGI is the real villain here.

Over-all, this is still a fun and inventive recreation of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, with a great deal to offer, and does succeed in bringing Freddy back to life. I’m hoping they go ahead with a sequel so that they have less to worry about in doing a remake of an origin, and get into just making great scary Freddy films!

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam here, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here.

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