The Thing. The Fly. Dawn of the Dead. Nightmare on Elm Street. Yes, these movies unanimously stand out as some of the best remakes of all time and I am glad everyone agrees. Wait, what? Why are you booing at NoES? Hold up, hold up. Stop throwing bottles and trash at me! Let me speak. Hear me out.
First thing one must acknowledge is that Robert Englund is not Freddy Krueger. At the time of the film (2010), he is 63 years old. Now I know Harrison Ford is in a new Indy movie and he’s 80, and Sylvester Stallone was Rocky at age 60 and Rambo at 73, but I think a geriatric Freddy loses a lot of its luster. You have to get over that. I’m sure in the Hammer Golden Age, people complained that Bela Karloff or Boris Lugosi weren’t playing Dracula anymore, but they got over it, and because of that, we got to see Gary Oldman’s masterful turn as The Count in 1992. So cut ol’ Jackie Earle Haley a break.
From the opening scene, in the restaurant, we get great blood, a vision of Freddy, a cool dream sequence, and the re-introduction of Nancy. How does this not get your blood pumping right off the bat? We also get a little girl with Freddy cuts on her chest at the cemetery, which is something I think we are used to seeing on the regular in these movies. So far so good, right?
Ok, ok, the CGI Freddy coming out of Nancy’s wall is terrible. That’s strike one. They can’t all be home runs, though. Sometimes you hit a foul tip. You know what? Let’s just say that the CGI in general, is a foul ball.
But I am not completely sure what people wanted from this movie. A shot for shot remake? A totally different take on the film? Cuz it hits the same beats, but is different ENOUGH, to be its own movie. Keep in mind, in NoES ‘84, Freddy was SUPPOSED to be a molester, but director Wes Craven eventually made him a child murderer to avoid being accused of exploiting several highly publicized child molestation cases in California around the film’s production. So, are the two films REALLY that DIFFERENT?
I enjoyed the scary NoES films more than the pun cringe inducing ones at the back end of the franchise. 1, 3, and 4 (borderline funny Freddy vs. Scary Freddy) are the best in my opinion, whereas 5 and 6 are unwatchable and 2 feels like a movie in a totally different series as does 7. And please, just pretend Freddy Vs. Jason doesn’t exist.
‘10 is clearly going for scares, but with lines such as “I was only petting him,” when referring to killing Kris’s dog, lets us know there may be a pun or two coming our way in the next 90 minutes. But for me, it’s JEH’s delivery that stands out as making it creepy as opposed to cringy, something Englund would not have done post-Dream Warriors. He seemed to ham it up and absolutely get a thrill out of delivering those puns and JEH just utters them almost like he doesn’t give a fuck; very lackadaisical, effortless, just matter-of-fact. I love it.
Kris dies like Tina, very comparably, and Rod/Jesse goes to jail only to get killed by the Fred-meister, very reminiscent of the original, but much like Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, after following the original closely for the first half, it takes a hard right into uncharted territory. We get the children’s connection with each other and the two lead’s adventure into the abandoned pre-school to fight Fred.
“Why are you screaming? I haven’t even cut you yet?”
Still hating the movie thus far? Why? It’s not the music, because that has its own whimsical feel as well as incorporating cues from the original. Is it Freddy’s look? The parts of JEH’s face that are CGI are noticeable, true, but it’s still much more comparable to the burnt look of Freddy in 1, 2, and 3. His face turns into more of a rubber mask look in the later films.
“Did you know that after the heart stops beating, the brain keeps functioning for well over seven minutes? We got six more minutes to play.”
So let’s talk about the molestation aspects. The way JEH lords over Nancy, his self proclaimed favorite, his number 1, is creepy. Her in that little dress near the end, with him leaning over her? “This dress was always one of my favorites.” Yuck! The flashback of him and the children seems so wholesome on the surface, he seems like such a caring man, but underneath, these children are accusing him of monstrous actions. “Your mouth says no, but your body says yes.”
As a parent, my child comes home with a claim like that, I’m killing the dude, without even asking him if he did it. So did these parents do the same thing? Hunt down and murder an innocent man? That sure as hell would make Freddy come back and kill them for their lies. I think that would have made more sense. I would have rather him done that. Instead, we find out he DID molest them. So why is he so angry he’s coming back to kill the kids? Because he’s mad at the parents for murdering him? Seems a little flimsy compared to the other reasoning.
So what about the micro-napping? I worked overnight for easily half of my 22 years in retail, and it’s a real thing. I would wake up and not know if it was night or day. I would nod off on the way home and wake up a mere split second later not knowing where I was. I got the strobe light effect sometimes when I would try and convert to daytime sleeping for vacation or just my days off. It is a scary sensation that can create realistic hallucinations while also being very disorienting. I never took a shot of adrenaline to the heart, though, so I can’t speak to the effects of that.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably getting ready to type a little response calling me a worthless human being. Someone with bad taste in horror. A stupid person. But re-watch the film. Pretend Robert Englund never played Freddy. Pretend this is the first NoES ever made. Then, and only then, can you truly enjoy the unnerving plot, the great jump scares, the creepy performance of a child molesting murderer Jackie Earl Haley, and the introduction of the term micro-napping into the horror universe.
9.5/10 Nightmare Inducing Micro-naps