Monday, May 17, 2010
A Nightmare on Elm Street *
Director: Samuel Bayer
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley
Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker
Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton, Lia Mortensen
Anyone who's been alive for the past three decades knows who Freddy Krueger is. Heck, he might've even be the cause for them falling asleep at school during the day or the reason why they would never look at red and black stripes in the same way.
Truth is you don't even need to be a die hard fan of the original movies to know what Freddy represents.
This remake, carrying the tragic Michael Bay seal of quality, takes everything about the character and reduces it to a version of 902010 with blood and, more, screaming.
The setup is still pretty much the same: a bunch of kids begin to die mysteriously during their sleep, the only thing they have in common is that all of their dreams feature a man called Freddy Krueger.
The man wears a knifed glove and most of his skin is burnt. He also has a thing for torturing and brutally murdering the teenagers in their dreams while they sleep.
Because the characters and situations are so inconsequential, the thing that's left to judge about the movie is its ability to frighten us, which it never does.
One of the plot twists has to do with the fact that, after an extended period of time, insomniacs might enter a limbo where dreams and reality are impossible to separate. This nod to the power of dreams could've given the film its most terrifying theme but the Freddy scenes are done with such lack of nuance that the audience always knows when it's a dream and when it's not.
The unimaginative cinematography and score do little to set the mood and there is a scene with visual effects out of Scary Movie.
The most important effect of course should be Freddy himself and while Haley's performance tries to amp up on the creep, it never comes even close to conveying the macabre gusto with which Robert Englund dug his claws into the meat, pun intended.
With all its supposed dismay, attempts at conveying a dark back story with all sorts of perversions and traumas; the truth is that the film's use of facile, ridiculous Freudian techniques to explain the whys of Freddy might be the only thing worth a nightmare.