Nightmare on Elm Street, A (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street Review
So another year, another Platinum Dunes remake. This time we see a contemporary reimagining of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I myself have seen four of Platinum Dunes' films prior to this one. I saw the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which was pretty good, I saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which was okay but didn't feel like a very necessary explanation story, I saw the Friday the 13th remake which I know people will give me hate for this, but I liked this one better than the original Friday the 13th, and I saw The Unborn… which needless to say this film does live up to its name as an abortion of a film. And now we get to see Samuel Bayer's new take on A Nightmare on Elm Street. If you don't know Samuel Bayer, he's a music video director who began work in 1991 when he did "Smells Like Teen Spirit". So yeah, does doing music videos for almost 20 years qualify as film director experience? I'll try and evaluate that.
Visually the film is pretty faithful to the original despite the modern day setting, though at the same time it is pretty dull when you're looking at the real world. The dream sequences are the ones that really feel interesting and lifelike. Me personally I'm not a huge fan of Freddy's new design either, he looks like what would have happened if that creature from the upcoming film Splice had a bad encounter with a pot of fry grease more than he does a burn victim. Also the film's visually faithful nature does bring some questions, such as who still wore a stripped red and green sweater in the late 1990s?
The story is basically what you might expect from the Nightmare on Elm Street series, for those who don't know it's about the iconic burned man Freddy Krueger with a glove with knives for fingers and likes to go around killing teenagers in their dreams. This is the main focus behind Samuel Bayer's take and many of the scenes are basically homages to earlier films in the series as well as many plot elements. This happens all the way through but Bayer manages to avoid treading into "shot by shot, line by line" territory.
The story also does have its own spirit because it does present Freddy in a slightly more fleshed out way. Despite this being the mystery that the teenagers manage to unravel by the end of the film, by this time there's several gaping plot holes that have been dug at this point.
The film towards the end implies that Freddy was a child molester who also did a lot of harm to the teenagers when they were in Kindergarten, but at the same time it offers the idea that Freddy might not have been guilty of such crimes after all. You might be familiar with how Freddy get's torched later on so no spoilers there. Also there's this supposed cave that Freddy took the kids into, but the film never actually states whether or not the place where the climax happens is the cave that's been the lair of Freddy's actions. Also towards the end, Freddy is supposed to have been killed for all logical practical reasons, but somehow we still manage to get the "tune in next few years" cliffhanger ending. Those are just the plot holes I managed to find, maybe the sequel will try and explain everything. And yeah the sequel has been officially announced and it's planned to be done in 3D as well… *Haunting images of A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 6: Freddy's Dead come to mind…*
As for the actual horror aspect, it does manage to be effective for the most part but it's only really because of Jackie Earl Haley's performance. Freddy doesn't toy around with his victims as much, he mostly goes in for the kill and we're treated to the usual modern day way of horror by exposing as much blood to the audience as possible. As a result we have a very similar viewing experience to that of Batman Forever, when the star who's been stealing the show is on screen it's really cool, but when he's not on screen it's really quite dull and lingers on boring territory. The teenagers on screen only manage to convey their sense of worry and barely make it past the acceptable range.
So overall, I definitely wouldn't rank the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street as one of Platinum Dunes' better offerings but not their worst by a long shot. I can really only recommend this film to absolute diehard fans of the franchise who might want to see a modern day reinvention of the dream stalker, but for very few other people and even the target audience might be disappointed by the end result. If it sounds like your kind of thing, you can do worse since it's not the best entry in the series but far from the worst as well.