Back in ’84, Wes Craven introduced the world Freddy Krueger, everyone’s worst nightmare so to speak, in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The killer who catches you in your dreams, it was effective because everyone has to sleep. Skip forward to 2010, the decade where original film scripts are no longer in existence, and we have the latest re-imagining of a horror classic. Now if I was a professional critic, this would be the part where I make a ton of puns about how “this will make you fall asleep” or “watching this movie is the REAL nightmare”. But to be honest, I actually found it enjoyable. Average, but enjoyable.
You know the original story by now: I literally just explained it in the opening paragraph. But here, things are a little different. Krueger wasn’t a child killer, he was a paedophile who preyed on the children at the nursery where he worked as a gardener. When his victims tell their parents, they (the parents, not the kids. Although I wouldn’t put it past the youth of today to do this) hound him out of the neighbourhood and into a disused factory/warehouse. In a completely sane and normal manner, they petrol bomb it, killing Freddy unwittingly cursing their spawn for when they become teenagers. He returns in their dreams, to kill them because… well… that’s what I don’t get. Why does he target the children? Surely it’d be more logical to go after the parents, the ones who straight up murdered the guy. But logic isn’t an issue here, as there are many other points about the movie that don’t have any. When thinking about it a few hours later, one scene really doesn’t make sense.
When Nancy is searching for fellow schoolmates, she finds a video blog site about an old friend who is documenting his lack of sleep. His final blog ends with his lurching forward, headbutting the screen implying that Freddy finally go to him. So how did the video get uploaded if he died? Like I said, it didn’t matter when I was watching it; I was just letting the images hit me in the face like a limbless boxer. But when you think back, some of it is incredibly stupid.
As for the shocks, there really isn’t anything new. It’s like someone handed Bayer the “Beginners Guide to Scares” and he followed every point. The most overused and blatant one for me, every time, is the ‘thinking someone’s in the house, and the window is open but when you go to close it a guy jumps at it’ scare. It’s been done that many times, they may as well just have the guy standing at the window throughout the entire scene.
Every review I’ve read for this mentions the ‘stock characters’ or ‘fake teens’, and criticizes it. What annoys me about this is this has become the normality with horrors, yet people are still complaining. Before you even see it, you know there’s gonna be a dumb blonde, a jock, the clever headstrong brunette and the outcast who becomes the hero. But you watch it see see how they die. Admit it. And herein lies the next issue: there is no creativity with the deaths.
Towards the end of the original franchise of NOES, Freddy became less scary and more comical, as did the kills. There is nothing funny or shocking about the kills here; they just happen, in literally the same way with everyone. He has knives for fingers, and the best he can do is swipe across their chests? Yawn.
However, it does redeem itself, slightly, in the last 20 minutes or so. It feels like they completely replaced the screenwriter and injected life into Freddy’s character, who does lack the menace and wit of Englund’s Krueger. But I found a few of his lines hilarious towards the end. Alas, it was too little too late.
As expected, the very last shots scream “SEQUEL!”, and judging from the $32 million opening weekend, interest in Krueger is high. But with bland “re-imaginings” like this, true horror is dying. Just remove Michael Bay from producing this, or ANY horror remake, and there may still be life in it…
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