Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A decent reimagining.
What exactly is a “reimagining” anyway? When you really think about it, your basic remake means practically the same thing as a reimagining. Remakes hardly ever made a movie the same exact way. They almost always make it their own thing in one shape or fashion. I guess it depends on how much they change. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) is considered more of a reimagining than a remake, but now that we’ve seen as many sequels, remakes, reimaginings, and prequels as humanly possible, we can safely call this one more or less a remake of the original 1984 Elm Street film.
Jackie Earle Haley has taken the crown from Robert Englund, and is now the new Freddy Krueger. Nancy (Rooney Mara), Quentin (Kyle Gallner), Kris (Katie Cassidy), and Jesse (Thomas Dekker) are all struggling to stay awake, as Freddy comes after them in their dreams. Turns out these teenagers knew each other as children, when they all went to preschool together. Fred Krueger was a gardener that worked at the school and turned out to be a child molester. Nancy and the others’ parents tracked Freddy down to a warehouse and burned him alive. Because of this, Freddy is back in dream land to return to kill off the kids for telling their parents the truth about Freddy. It’s up to Nancy and Quentin to find a way to stop Freddy and to get some sleep.
Before I get into what’s bad, I really want to talk about what I loved about this film. There are some serious benefits that this film had over the original series. Benefits that I was really impressed by. I genuinely believed that these kids were tired and truly fighting sleep. For some reason or another, the other films didn’t focus too much on that aspect, and they should have. While watching, it almost pains you to see how much trouble these guys are having staying awake. Nancy in the first film was all, yeah I’ve been awake for 7 days, it’s okay, I read the record was 11. Did she look tired? Not even a little bit. These guys are awake for…maybe four days, and they’re having micro-naps.
The micro-naps, by the way, was the element that was changed for the remake. Each film has something different about it, and this was the main aspect changed. I loved the micro-naps. I believed they were possible, because yes…if you deprive yourself of sleep, you start to hallucinate. I’ve been there myself. I’m incredibly glad they went that route. I’m also glad that they re-used some incredibly iconic scenes from…all of the original films, actually. The best of the best shots were given huge homage, and while some may think it’s uncreative, I think it’s respectful. Very cool.
In the original series, Freddy was a child-murder. He didn’t kill anyone in this version, just molested them, which made it so much worse for some reason. Plus, instead of coming after the kids in revenge for the parents that killed him, he was on a revenge strike directly at the kids who reported him. I also read the sequel have to do with him taking revenge on the parents. I don’t know about you guys, but as far as plot and character development goes, this movie made so much more sense. The acting was no doubt better as well, but maybe that’s just because the original films were ‘80s films.
It was also beautiful. This is one of the best-looking movies in the entire series, thanks to modern CGI effects. With that, the filmmakers were able to make the dream world look more like, well…a dream world. The controversy comes in at how Freddy looks. I have mixed feelings on how Freddy looks. What he looks like…is a true burn victim, and it’s grotesque, and his voice is evil and haunting…but I don’t know if I can fully call him Freddy Krueger…Robert Englund just set that bar, and he did so well with it, right down to how Freddy stood still with that slight slant. There was so much character in Englund’s performance…I don’t think I can say the same for Haley. Now, Haley is a fantastic actor, and when he is pre-monster, he is very…very convincing. I liked his non-burnt persona better than Englunds, but I liked Englund’s burnt persona better than Haley’s. It’s quite a bittersweet moment. It would have been nice to see a cameo from Englund.
The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street has a lot going for it all around, but just doesn’t feel as iconic or classic as the original film. There is no possible way to really know how it would affect a general audience had the original series never existed. This is just one of those films that can’t be seen as standalone film, because the original series just sticks out so prominently that it’s hard to ignore. If you haven’t seen the original series, I would suggest to watch this first, and then tell me what you thought of it.