A blog exploring the sexy, shocking, surreal, and silly side of horror films.

May 2, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street - 2010 (Review)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) 
Director: Samuel Bayer

If Freddy Krueger were real, he'd kill a majority of the people who see the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street.

He wouldn't kill them because he's angry that the remake is uninspired and unimaginative (although it is). He wouldn't kill them because the actors are flat and mopey (although they are). He wouldn't kill them because the film  rips off iconic visuals and scenes from the original movie while simultaneously sucking all the dread and surreal dream-like qualities out of them (which it does). No, Freddy would slaughter people attending A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 because most of them are going to be asleep.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a tired and unsuspenseful collection of jump-scares stuck together by melodramatic acting from lifeless characters. Except for Jackie Earle Haley as Krueger, who turns in a truly unnerving performance as a supernatural child rapist, this remake is more of a sedative than a a nightmare jolting you out of your seat.


After the apparent suicide of one of their classmates, high-schoolers Kris (Katie Cassidy), Jesse (Thomas Dekker), Nancy (Rooney Mara), and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) discover they are all having dreams in which they are being tormented by a mysterious burned man wielding a menacing bladed glove. Also, they soon realize, if they die in their dreams then they die in reality. With time running out, they begin to uncover the mystery of the dream-world killer's identity by following the clues left in their dreams -- clues that suggest these teens share a forgotten childhood past being covered up by their parents.

Rating: 1.5 / 5 Blonde Yawns

I'm fairly unforgiving of remakes. If you are going to remake a film and an iconic character that still hold up today (the original Nightmare is still an effective and atmospheric film), you better be prepared to bring something new, fresh, and inventive to the remake. The new A Nightmare on Elm Street fails at almost every chance to be fresh and new. Whole sequences and scenes are ripped off from the original film whereas the new dream-world visuals (a bedroom covered in snow and a burned out class room) are pretty unremarkable.

This dazed expression is pretty much the look Nancy
wears for the entire movie, regardless of the situation

The film is also riddled with structural and script problems. We begin the film focused on Kris (played by Supernatural's Katie Cassidy). Cassidy's a decent actress, and it's her character who we identify with and follow. She witnesses the first death of the film and suspects it's more than suicide, so she begins to make connections between her dreams and clues that she and her classmates share a common past with Krueger that they do not remember. But, if you've seen the trailers or any of the promotional stills, you know she's brutally murdered in her sleep ala Tina's death in the original Nightmare. The first half-hour of the film suggests the movie's going to be Kris's story, but then the film shifts focus to Nancy (who has so far been little more than a side-character). Played by Rooney Mara, Nancy is flat, mopey, and completely bland. Unfortunately, she and Quentin, her puffy-eyed emo love interest, become our main characters for the rest of the film. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad with a better script, but the dialogue is exceptionally flat and tedious. Lots of exposition. Lots of repetition. No flare of wit or endearing sincerity. Bor-ing. The film takes itself way too seriously without the acting chops and atmosphere to back it up.

"Aaaaaaah! I dreamed I gave up working on Supernatural for
the role in an uncharismatic remake. Oh shit."


The only light in this tepid remake is the disturbing performance by Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger. Before we talk about Haley's successes, however, I need to explain that for the majority of the film he's not really allowed to shine as brightly as I think he could. You see, for the majority of the film's running time, Krueger is used as a simple jump-scare monster. Krueger can appear at any time and in any place while the teens are "awake" because the film introduces the plot device of "micro-naps." Essentially, the idea is that the longer the kids stay awake, the more often their brains will fall into "micro-naps" -- a state of waking sleep -- in an attempt to recharge the brain. Therefore, like a Japanese ghost from something out of The Grudge, Freddy is then used as a device to deliver about a bazillion lame jump-scares.

Eventually, however, we get some prolonged exposure to Freddy in the third act as he torments Nancy in the dream world. And he is FUCKING CREEPY. In the original films, it was suggested that Freddy was a child rapist, but there's not avoiding this fact in the remake. Freddy is presented in an incredibly sexual and leering manner. He's sadistic, cruel, and menacing. He still finds time to crack some dry quips, but the real shocking part of this movie is how far the filmmakers pushed Freddy as a sick, heavy-breathing pedophile. This, and only this, really makes the film worth seeing. Freddy has never so effectively made me fear the touch of his blade.

Not even Chris Hansen can protect you from this predator

Avoid A Nightmare on Elm Street in the theaters. It will be on DVD soon enough. I can justify seeing Haley's performance on DVD, but the idea of spending $12-$20 to see this boring mess in the theater is the real nightmare. Don't make the same mistake I did!


  1. These horror remakes never cease to turn out badly, do they?

  2. Well, not always. The Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob, and Night of the Living Dead are all remakes that I personally enjoy and I think either improve on the original or offer something new that's worth seeing.

  3. Thanks man, I appreciate your sacrifice.
    Bayou Hunter



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