Monday, 10 May 2010

Cinema Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Unleashed and 're-imagined' by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, a company known for remaking horror classics, is A Nightmare on Elm Street, once again bringing the fedora-wearing Freddy Krueger back to life.

Accused of sexually abusing their very own children, the story which never fully played out in Wes Craven's original, the parents of Springwood hunted and savagely murdered Freddy Krueger. Years later, the teens of Elm Street are having frighteningly realistic nightmares, featuring Freddy himself terrorizing them. After a string of dream-associated deaths, it's made apparent that Freddy, now armed with a glove embedded with knives, is brutally murdering the teens in their dreams, therefore resulting in their death in reality.

Platinum Dunes, remaking fellow horrors such as Friday the 13th and The Hitcher, aren't exactly known for re-imagining the best of horror films. Continuously sporting a less-than-average script which is dumbed down even further by Hollywood's latest perky, good-looking youths. While not entirely straying from their track record, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a slight cut above the rest.

Samuel Bayer, a man used to directing music videos, helms the latest Nightmare, performing, in my eyes, admirably, transferring his knowledge of capturing a successfully creepy and gothic tone - which is clearly inspired by shooting too many of Greenday's videos - which works its best during the stylishly effective, and highly entertaining, dream sequences.

Transported into Freddy's Dreamland, the contrast from reality is undoubtedly darker, helped substantially by Jackie Earle Haley (taking over the job from veteran Robert Englund, thankfully, as his version became comedic after the 76th sequel). Much like Bayer, Haley performs admirably and is entirely watchable as Freddy. His incredibly menacing attitude - aided by his Christian Bale-esque voice - worked well on-screen, and his traditionally scarred face looked even more disturbing than the original. Delving into Freddy's gritty past and uncovering his peodophiliac ways gave a sinister, more serious approach to the character than i ever particularly expected.

Still, after all the praise, the film is far from perfect. Despite my enjoyment of the actors, the depth for every single one of the teens is almost as thin as a fishing net. Like most of the Platinum Dunes' remakes, the first hour-or-so consist of you anticipating them. Having almost zero connectivity with any of the mind-numbingly transparent characters, you wish for the most brutal of deaths to keep you entertained. Luckily, as the film progressed, i began an attachment towards Rooney Mara's Nancy - despite her face looking rather vacant most of the time - and Kyle Gallner (who impressed me in The Haunting in Connecticut). Also, unsurprisingly, the film contains about a thousand various scare tactics, all cheaply executed, which some will find either annoying or just entirely uneffective.

Being a fan of most slashers, i've grown accustome to most of the entries released in the last ten years. I can differentiate when one is genuinely original and entertaining, and when one is predictable and sometimes badly made. Yet, which most are usually baffled by, i still find them entertaining. A Nightmare on Elm Street is merely ninety minutes of Haley chasing multiple teens, slashing them with his fiercely inventive claws, which is what i call an entertaining slasher, and, in my opinion, one of the best remakes to come out of Platinum Dunes. Still, there's room for improvement - the CGI-happy 'wall scene' was catastrophic.



  1. :D thank you for the very helpful review! It's not coming to my local cinema so it would mean a 1.5 hour trip to go see it!!! so i'm just going to wait till the dvd

  2. Oh my god, it's not coming to your cinema!? That sucks!
    I thought it had a pretty wide release! Still, it's worth a watch if you're a fan of slashers, :]