A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

The Nightmares Are Back…

Director: Samuel Bayer

Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Kellan Lutz, Katie Cassidy, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner

Genre: Horror

Type: Mainstream

Running Time: 95 minutes

Rated R (for bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror & language)

Roger Ebert (my personal go-to film critic), gives Nightmare a mere 1 star. Yet, that did not stop me from being afraid when I drove home from the night screening only to reach my empty, utterly dark and ultimately creepy house. Nor did it stop me from constantly checking my rear view mirror as I drove, half expecting to see Freddy sitting in the back seat. (FYI, I don’t scare easy. I’m usually the one you can count on to do something creepy when you are alone with me in the dark or in a secluded place…just to scare you).

For those of you who love Nightmare, you know that this is a reboot of the 80s original.  The original was born from writer/director Wes Craven’s mind when he read an article in the newspaper about a kid having nightmares. The 2010 edition is definitely more like a reboot in comparison to being called a sequel (that would make it what? number 8 in the saga?) where the whole story of Freddy is told from the start.

To be reasonable, my opinion of this film is biased because I loved this franchise as a kid and was well known for going to sleep prepared to fight an epic battle with the burned slasher. The classic Freddy Song (1,2 Freddy’s coming for you etc)  while a happy memory jogger (and I say ‘happy’ loosely), was nowhere near as chilling as it could have been. You could sing your baby to sleep with that rendition and not be concerned it would wake up possessed.  If I recall, there used to be three little girls in white singing the Freddy Song as they play jump rope in the seemingly normal neighbourhood on Elm Street.

You can expect sudden thumps and clanging. You can expect maniacal, deep-toned laughs. You can expect witty quips. You can expect the typical slashing of young, attractive teenagers (or 20-somethings pretending to be teenagers). You can also expect that at least one of those teenagers will figure out what is going on and watch as they (attempt to) save the day. When I watch these films, I always try and discern from the beginning who the lucky genius will be. Nightmare makes it pretty obvious though, I’d say. And the killings. Ugh, the killings. In this day and age where nothing seems to shock us anymore (thanks, Lady Gaga!), I think the killings could have been sufficiently more visceral and gory. Come on movie people, get creative please!

Jackie Earle Haley could not disappoint as Freddy Krueger. Some of you may know Haley from more recent films such as Watchmen or Shutter Island. My first encounter with him was Little Children (2006). He had apparently taken a thirteen year hiatus from the acting world before returning with a bang in 2006 with that movie. He has got creepy to the bone down pact. Standing at just 5′ 5″ (my height), Haley is one of my favourite actors of all time. You have to admire the significant difference he portrays between evil Freddy Krueger and pre-fire Fred Krueger.

The Long and Short: A decent homage to the original knife-fingered terror. The jumps are worth it and the atmosphere is reminiscent of its predecessor.

My Recommendation: Scared or not, reminisce as you watch and enjoy with a bunch of friends.

Favourite Scene: When Katie Cassidy makes the mistake of falling asleep in class.

Verdict:   B-


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