Cyborg’s Opinion: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Movie Review)

The Christmas sweater wearing fiend returns in the remake that we all saw coming. Freddy Krueger, since his creation 26 years ago has become an enormous horror icon. He’s had six year olds pissing in their pants since the eighties, with his dirty brown hat, legendary finger knives and his metro sexual red and green sweater. This time around however, Elm Street gets a full revamp (which after 6 sequels and a crossover might not be such a bad thing). The team behind this? Take a wild guess. Once again Michael Bay and his gaggle of geese return to remake another horror classic. To their producing credit thus far are the remakes of The Amityville Horror, The Hitcher, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and now A Nightmare on Elm Street. The director of this return to Springwood is one Samuel Bayer. Can’t think of any other movies he’s done? Don’t strain yourself, this was his first. Bayer was a well established music video director prior to this and decided to take his craft into film, a respectable transition.

So now we are reintroduced to Elm Street, but what’s changed? Well………… honestly not that much. Like its eighties predecessor we are given a handful of teenagers to follow with a common ailment. Their problem? They’re all being plagued by a horribly burned man who can kill you in your dreams, and as a result, kill you in real life as well. The solution? Well…… why don’t you rent the first seven movies and watch them, he dies the same way every time with very few plot changes surrounding the circumstances. I wish I had a more detailed summary of the film but the basic plot of the Nightmare series hasn’t changed in years despite it nearing the end of the third decade since its creation. So if you haven’t seen any of the films then my “sentence summary” is really sparing you some of the few surprises you’ll experience story wise in this movie. Now let’s examine it as a whole.

Director Samuel Bayer does a good job of reinventing some of what had become rather dull as the series went on. The most commendable of all this would be the complete 360 that he gave Freddy’s character. As the series went on Freddy Krueger had started to become little else than a psychotic “One line” generator spouting out poorly written dribble about what he’s doing and mixing the “B” word into it for good measure. This movie does a very good job of taking the character back to its darker roots and still giving you the occasional chuckle at an ironic jeer that he will make to one of his victims. Another thing that really shines through in the film is the way that it smoothed out some of the larger and rather inescapable plot holes that most viewers had to just let go when watching the original. It doesn’t seem as sloppily thrown together when it comes to how the story pans out and how the characters interact with each other. The film is also to be commended for its stunning visuals. The director has a good eye to say the very least. The film has a very “in your face” type of feel to it and gives even some transitions into the dream world one heck of an introduction. It also gives Freddy a more ghostly presence in the sense that at times he looks like he’s simply going to glitch away instantly. Of course we must discuss Freddy now, because twenty six years later someone decided to change the actor on us. Nice. The new Freddy will make you miss Robert Englund at first but only very briefly. Jackie Earle Haley actually shines through as the new man behind the burns and brings some of his own energy to the role which seems to fit perfectly with the rest of the film. The Freddy face is a different one as well but this change turned out to be a double edged sword. While the new Freddy does look more believable as a burn victim, his new frigid face prevents the actor from conveying any other emotion besides “the serious face”. In the previous films, it was often a treat to see what made Freddy smile and what made him angry and what shocked him. Conveying these emotions in this film is left up to pure natural skill on the actor’s part and takes away from it in certain parts.

Besides the aforementioned reasons for commendation, the film does very little to make itself original. Instead of completely renewing itself as a sequel, it made may callbacks to the original Nightmare and had some inside jokes from the series that seemed a little self aware and dare I say it, Forced. While the inclusion of certain realistic consequences of sleep deprivation like “micro naps” were very clever and lent a hand to some of the coolest sequences in the movie, these new concepts seemed like they could’ve been explored so much further. The original additions to the movie were very cool but ephemeral at best and give some of the other parts of the movie that “been there done that” type of feel. And while the film has many “jump” moments integrated into it, it lacked any scare factors outside of this. In other words it’s not the movie to take a date to in hopes that they will cling to you for comfort. It’s not scary, it quite honestly just kind of cool. So I guess now I have to wrap this all up for you and spray it with air freshener. The movie is a treat for all of you horror fanatics out there; I fall into this category myself. It’s an even bigger treat if you liked the nightmare series and are a fan of Freddy Krueger. And if you enjoy rooting for the bad guy and seeing a bunch of kids get “what’s coming to them” then again, it’s a real treat.  However, for the average movie goer I’m fairly certain that this movie just won’t make the connection and will leave you with a feeling of dissatisfaction as you think about how things could’ve worked in it and how they just didn’t in reality. So this puts me in a tough position, I liked it, but I’m well aware that it’s not for everyone. So keep this in mind when reading the rating that I gave the film and bear with me, we’re almost done here.

Now I’ll give you something that you can wrap up in a newspaper and hit your little brother over the head with, my review in numerical form. A Nightmare on Elm Street starring Jackie Earle Haley and Rooney Mara gets a 7.6(“Don’t. Fall. Asleep.”) out of 10.

This has been Antonius Perito, and this was (drum roll please)………………… Cyborg’s Opinion.