It has been nearly 7 years since the very first remake of the horror classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street’s remake was released. When it was announced I wasn’t too happy. I remember thinking it wasn’t going to work and I worried it would rely too much on CGI and if Robert Englund wasn’t coming back, Freddy will be hard to tackle for anyone.
Everything I worried about came true when I finally got the chance to see the remake. I avoided its theatrical release, the trailers left me feeling stale and it just didn’t look too good to me. I did not like what I saw, it did not impress. There is a heavy use of CGI and there are parts of the story that bothered me. But the most glaring problem to me, the thing that bothered me the most…Freddy Krueger was not scary. Not just that, imposing, Jackie Earle Haley is a tiny dude, I mean very small. When I saw him, he was laughable. I also didn’t like the route they when, making him look more like a burn victim which makes sense. But we all have watched Freddy for years and the “pizza face” look is something we had come to embrace and expect.
Before I go any further, I want to mention, back in October Morgan wrote about this film for our ABCs of Horror.
Now things are little different and my horror pallet is different, I have the taste for change, the taste to give movies a second chance. I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street again and decided to give it a new look, take away the hate and bad feelings I have had about the film.
The one thing, it does not try to make the same movie. There are some similarities, classic scenes re-created. But the story is its own, completely, the core is there, but it is its own movie. Overall, not as terrible as I once thought. There is a lot of bad with this movie, with the bad, there is good. I will break it down with bad and good.
Let’s start with the good.
Some of the good points of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the characters. Yes, the characters are actually not too bad. It has the feeling of one of the later sequels, a group dynamic. When each one dies, the closer the group gets, well until the final two. The characters are also not carbon copies of characters from the original movies. Nancy is the main character and she is nothing like Heather Langekamp’s Nancy. The only thing that is the same, the house she lives in. The movie is set up like the original, where we think Katie Cassidy’s character is the main character, like Amanda Wyss in the original.
The CGI effects were not bad, it showed me a glimpse into a scarier dream world that was not only in a boiler room like the originals. Some of the effects that stuck out were, Nancy being covered in blood and falling into her bed, dry and clean. I worried about the effects, thanks to Freddy vs Jason. CGI was also incorporated into Freddy’s make-up which really bothered me, but you know whatever.
I would say the story was good, but there are parts that bother me. In the original film Freddy was a child killer. It stems from him being a pedophile, which the really explore in this remake. The group of teens were all in the same daycare where Freddy worked and he molested all of them. It does lead to this point to when the teens feel sorry for Freddy and try to help him, but they are only being fooled. We also get the chance to see his origin played out in the movie, we had to wait until the sixth film to see it, although Nancy’s mom told a great tale in the original. The story was solid.
The dreams, the dreams are more physical that the other films and it begins from the beginning of the movie. The dreamer who is being attacked by Freddy is acting out their dream in the real world. This adds to the terror and makes it look like these dreamers a killing themselves. It is a different take that began with Tina’s death in the original and we didn’t see as much in the later sequels. I also liked the micro naps, Freddy would pop up while the teens took these micro naps, in and out of sleep, it made you have the feeling no one was safe.
Jackie Earle Haley wasn’t terrible as Freddy, his make-up and body size. To me, he was not scary or creepy at all, laughable. I remember the talk of the one liners being gone. They were not and some were recycled from the original films. “Hows this for a wet dream”, “I’m your boyfriend now”, those show up in the original series. I did not like his portrayal of Freddy one bit, I tried, but it was not good. I will say there were things he did with the glove that I liked, twitching his finger, the blades. That was about it. If Freddy doesn’t work, the movie doesn’t work, look at A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. They did not cast Robert Englund and had to go back and cast him as the actor was terrible.
The parents were a joke in this movie. From Nancy’s mom to Quentin’s father, just didn’t seem like they cared enough. Not believing is one thing, but even the drunken mom from the original was more proactive. The only time they were, when they hunter Krueger down and burned him alive. Why wouldn’t they try to help more? I don’t know, I guess the parents suck in all of the films.
The ending…they pull Freddy out of the dream and we get Nancy saying, “Welcome to my world, bitch!” Ugh, is that another recycled line? I didn’t care for it or the ending when everything seems ok and Freddy has one last jump scare. Not great.
Overall, this viewing improved my feelings for the film and I have gone from “I hate the remake” to “it is, ok”. The remake does not measure up and I stand by saying these films belong in the 1980s. There was not much use of technology in the movie, but I still think the innocence of the 1980s is what brought charm the series. I am happy I gave it another shot and it will not just sit in my collection, I may pull it out from time to time and just treat it like a sequel.
IMDB.com has a rating of 5.2
Yeah, that is about where it measures for me 5.2
I have hope there will be a new remake, it has been too long to make a sequel, but that could be welcome as well. I would like to see Freddy recast, I’ve heard Kevin Bacon is game and I think that would be pretty great. Just give me that good “pizza face” make-up, Freddy dwells in the dream world, it does not have to be realistic.