Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is just a plain nightmare for all the wrong reasons. It’s not the least bit scary and the acting by Haley is utterly laughable with each of his numerous, eye-rolling cackles. I do think the movie tries to do some things to make the film more visually interesting but visuals are only a quarter of the battle and that isn’t nearly enough to save this trash.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
New Line | R – 95 min. – $35.99 | October 5, 2010
Directed by: Samuel Bayer
Writer(s): Wes Craven (characters); Wesley Strick (story), Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer (screenplay)
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker
Theatrical Release Date: April 30, 2010
Features: Maniacal Movie Mode, Additional Scenes, Focus Points, Featurette, BD-Live, DVD/Digital Copy Combo
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 2/5
1, 2 Freddy’s coming for you,
3, 4 lock your door,
5, 6 grab your crucifix,
7, 8 avoid this lame remake
I don’t particularly mind remakes (or reboots whichever you want to call it) and I’ve even enjoyed a few of them including Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. They manage to distinguish themselves from the originals while still being truly horrific and scary, updating from the 1970s and 1980s counterparts which often come across cheesy today (and yes, I will apply that to parts of TCM). Although I like how producer Michael Bay brought back Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the big screen – including the excellent trailer –, I cannot feel the same about A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film that shouldn’t have been remade not because of the iconic 1984 original but because it’s just a trashy piece of crap.
The story is much the same about a man we find out halfway through is named Fred Krueger (JACKIE EARLE HALEY). He’s a pedophile and as is revealed during a flashback, is burned alive by the parents of the children he allegedly molested. Now for some reason, 12 years later Freddy is invading the kids – now teenagers – dreams and killing them while they sleep. One by one they all get the slice and dice treatment by Mr. Krueger so it’s up to our heroes Quentin Smith (KYLE GALLNER) and the girl of his dreams (no pun intended), Nancy Holbrook (ROONEY MARA) to put the pieces together and figure out how to stop Freddy before it’s too late and they become his latest victims.
The biggest reason this Nightmare on Elm Street remake stinks isn’t so much that the story doesn’t lend itself to be very interesting – talk about ways to make you fall asleep – but because everybody in it are so damn bad. I’m willing to give a pass to Rooney Mara as she gets the thankless job of being the underwritten female lead but what in the world is Jackie Earle Haley doing in this? I loved the job he did in Watchmen making a sociopathic character likeable but his cackling hammy performance does nothing for the role least of which makes him a viable threat. See, the original worked because unlike the serial killer flavor of the year from the 80s (including Jason), Freddy Krueger was a monster that would invade and terrorize your dreams with no ways of escape but with this remake that concept is void of any sort of terror and replaced with bad dialogue.
The other cast whose characters might as well remain nameless do an amicable job with what they have. Thomas Dekker of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” fame has a small role as does the lovely and underutilized Katie Cassidy who seems to turn up in these bad remakes, the other being 2006’s borefest, When a Stranger Calls.
Nightmare is directed by Samuel Bayer who comes from the music video world much like Marcus Nispel did before taking on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Bayer and crew had some nice visual elements like Mara crashing through the ceiling in blood before landing on the bed in a pure white gown. Another scene has Mara coming out of the bathroom into her bedroom and it’s snowing which in turn transitions to a preschool building. So on that front NOES isn’t a complete waste but it sure as hell doesn’t even begin to overcome the film’s numerous other issues namely the screenplay by Wesley Strick (Doom, The Saint) and Eric Heisserer who has The Thing remake and Final Destination 5 upcoming. That’s just wonderful…
Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is just a plain nightmare for all the wrong reasons. It’s not the least bit scary and the acting by Haley is utterly laughable with each of his numerous, eye-rolling cackles. I do think the movie tries to do some things to make the film more visually interesting but visuals are only a quarter of the battle and that isn’t nearly enough to save this trash. Avoid at all costs.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES – 3.25/5
The 2-disc Blu-ray (as opposed to the single disc version) comes with a sweet lenticular slip cover.
Maniacal Movie Mode is just a picture-in-picture function where we get to see behind-the-scenes footage crop up throughout the film. Unlike the Maximum Movie Mode’s included with Cop Out and Sherlock Holmes, this isn’t worth a whole lot as there are some gaps with no PiP info. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Freddy Kruger Reborn (13:54; HD) is a standard featurette chronicling how awesome the character is and why they decided to pussy him up for the 21st century. Ok, it goes into the filmmakers’ mindsets and how Jackie Earle Haley went about bringing the character back to life.
Focus Points (TRT 19:50; HD) are a series of featurettes that examines various elements of making Nightmare on Elm Street, portions of which are available via the Maniacal Movie Mode. Segments include: “Makeup Makes the Character” (3:34), “Micronaps” (2:38), “The Hat” (2:31), “Practical Fire” (2:32), “The Sweater” (2:20), “The Glove” (2:24) and “The Victims” (3:51). A few of these could have been combined (like Krueger’s outfit) but together it just makes a basic ‘making-of’ featurette. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Additional Footage (TRT 8:21; HD) includes a “Hospital Opening” (1:11), “Nightmare Street” (0:58) and “Alternate Ending” (6:12), none of which are particularly fascinating although the ending is a little different in how Nancy kicked Krueger’s butt. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Last up is a BD-Live portal and a DVD/Digital Copy Combo Disc. ** Blu-ray Exclusives **
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Nightmare on Elm Street is presented with a 2.40 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The picture may not look the best especially since most of it was seemingly shot in a closet so parts are fairly dark thus black levels are good while when there is light, the colors are distributed nicely enough although at times it seemed a tad oversaturated.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is very strong from beginning to end, from Freddy’s booming voice to the slasher moments, the aural experience is excellent. The dialogue is also easy to hear – via the center channel – without having to crank up the volume to understand anybody.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Nightmare on Elm Street is the poster child of why remakes shouldn’t happen. While I have enjoyed other remakes like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Nightmare is just an atrocious assault on the film medium and should be immediately forgotten.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman