A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
In the last 7 years, horror fans have been bombarded with the retelling of their favorite films. Much has been written on the travesty of this.
I understand that it's a very popular (and for the most part, very true) opinion that remakes can't hold up to the original. It's also true that fans are going into the theaters a little jaded when their favorite film is the subject of the latest envisioning. In fact — let's be honest — if you grew up watching and adoring a certain movie, chances are there is little the remake can do that will make you fall in love with it. That being said, having this mentality can also make you miss out on something that might be improved upon. The newest version of A Nightmare On Elm Street is the perfect example.
Franchise horror has been the backbone of the ooky, spooky genre for the better part of 30 years. While fans all have their favorite, A Nightmare On Elm Street has always been special. This is largely due to the fact that the bad guy has been faithfully played by Robert Englund in all 8 films preceding the current remake. When it was announced that Englund would not be putting on the glove for the new film, many wondered if another actor could really pull off Freddy Krueger. Jackie Earle Haley (who played the infamous character of Rorschach in Watchmen) proved to be a brilliant casting choice and indeed pulled it off. Englund's version of Krueger has always been played tongue and cheek — this has perhaps been the part of the charm. Haley, though not without his one-liners, added more intensity to his interpretation of the monster. Haley also added in new mannerisms while still embracing the character's groundwork that Englund laid 26 years ago — a wonderful balance that takes a truly gifted actor to engage.
The remake's story was also substantially darker than the first movie. In this 2010 version, the teenagers experiencing the nightmares all share the common bond of being molested by their pre-school's gardener Fred Krueger. When the parents discovered what was happening to their children, they chased Krueger down and burned him alive. The children grew up to all have repressed memories of the sexual abuse and are now being picked off one by one in their sleep. In the original version, Krueger kills upwards of 20 children, stands trial, is released on a technicality, is hunted down by vigilantes and then burned in the boiler room where he hurt the children. He then seeks revenge on the vigilante's children in their sleep.
I feel that the new, slightly altered version of the story holds a bit more weight. It also brings in an even darker connection that Krueger has with "his children". There are a few scenes that really go into the psychology of memory repression and are incredibly difficult to watch — not what you're necessarily expecting from a franchise horror film! With all this being said, the movie is not without its glaring flaws either. The first being it's simply not that scary. The original film still has a way of completely unnerving you no matter how many times you watch it. The new version plays out more like a morbid episode of Law and Order than it does of a horror film. It's glossy, filled with several CGI gore effects, and gets its biggest jumps from the scenes directly taken from the first film. I wish they could have captured the grittier, more traditional horror movie feel of the original and combined it with the superior script of the remake.
I don't, however, regret watching this movie. There's enough here to appeal to the old fans as well as create new ones for the series. It's worth checking out while it's still in theaters and may even find a home on your movie shelf someday, if you're open-minded enough.