WARNING: There may be spoilers!
As a kid I was crazy for horror movies. Especially Wes Craven movies. I have a family history with Craven, my grandfather, James Whitworth, played Jupiter in Craven’s original The Hills Have Eyes. Since Craven’s movies are my soft spot in the horror genre, it’s no wonder that I have seen every movie that he has written, from Last House on the Left (and the remake) to New Nightmare. So when I heard that yet another of Craven’s movies was to be given a new face, I was intrigued. Intrigue soon turned to apprehension when I heard that my beloved A Nightmare on Elm Street would be the one to get the re-work.
Then the posters and trailers started to come out. I was okay with Robert Englund being replaced with Jackie Earle Haley. The new makeup definitely reminded me more of what a burn victim would look like, though in reality it disallowed for any emotion to be shown. I could even deal with the fact that most of these so-called “teenagers” were being played by 20- and 30-something actors. The trailers looked interesting, hopefully showing that there wasn’t a bomb of a movie on the horizon. So I had hope that everything would be okay.
Boy, was I wrong. The acting was below par, with the teenagers almost never looking unkempt or tired. Which let’s face it, if you are going to play a part where the person stays up for three days, you better look like the walking dead. Especially considering these kids were doing more than just the coffee and the pills that the characters in the first movie did. These characters took it to a new level, using adrenaline needles to keep them awake. The script was almost exactly like the 1984 version, except the suspense and slight humor seemed to be stripped, replaced by a generic, uncreative modern horror movie anecdotes.
In the original it was often difficult at first to tell whether or not the character was dreaming or still awake. In this one you can see it from a mile away. Even more disappointing is that the kills seem to be exactly like the original. The reason I am disappointed is that with the strides that we have made in graphics and special effects, that kills should have been out of this world. When showing the character getting killed out of the dream sequence it should have shown skin peeling back from itself, and the body should have contorted the way that it did in the dream sequence. But no. The character did some squirming and funny faces and that was the kill scene. The worse part of the entire thing is that there is only 4 deaths in the whole thing. Wait, make that 4 ½ because you see a 30 second clip of an Asian kid getting murdered on the internet.
The most unforgiving part of the whole movie? The fact that the first half of the plot suggests that Freddy was wrongly accused and killed. That he may have been a good guy. Everyone knows that Freddy Krueger is a horrible, horrible person, he’s so horrible that people don’t even feel bad for the fact that he was thrown into a furnace by a group of angry parents. Yet in this version, they try to play the sympathy card. As if they thought that would be a great twist on the original. Guess what? It’s not.
If you are looking for a remake that is a homage to the original, this is definitely not the movie for you. If you are a horror movie fan, stay far, far away from it. And if you have already seen it, I’m sorry. You should write a letter to Platinum Dunes begging them to drop this absurd idea of making a sequel to this one. Make sure you tell them that the only thing that is scary about this movie is how horrible it was.