There is a time and place for everything, but a remake of an honestly good horror film that isn’t too dated and conceptually still scary is pretty unnecessary. Now if they were to remake A Nightmare On Elm Street with the intent of being more creative and bring a unique vision that could have improved the original story making it more horrifying, than yes, I’m all for that. Alas, this did not happen and was brought a lackluster of a film lacking any imagination, depth or even a solid story.
Now the story for A Nightmare On Elm Street ’10 does differ from the original slightly, only because they brought more of a back story for Fred Krueger, but not a very viable one to make the character believable. This Freddy is no longer a child murderer and now a child molester living in the basement of the preschool; makes sense right? Of course they stick with the parents going after Krueger and coming back for revenge, but believing that a child molester can go as far as to brutally murdering teens is kind of a stretch. I’ll stick with the child murderer shtick, but if they combined the two, that would have made a little more sense and more brutally honest for the new age. Once Freddy capitalizes on all the kids from the preschool who else would he go after?
The new cast of characters did not support the story at all and just made the film seem longer than it was. With any avail of trying to make Freddy seem at any point scary throughout this story, it failed miserably by building no tension at all. These teens were just pathetic with no counter arguments of reality other than a few parents that served little purpose. The introduction of “micronaps” was interesting and could have had potential, but hurt the movie overall more than creating something terrifying. This horribly screwed up the pacing of the film gave no room for building suspense. The kids would just fall into “micronaps” all the time having Freddy jump out too much withholding building a tense filled moment that would make the film feel scary. With “micronap” one after another, there was really no room to breathe and ruined all hopes of making this film potentially frightening.
Both the original and A Nightmare On Elm Street ’10had their ups and downs in terms of connecting the pieces together, but if they threw in some of the better old elements of story to this new one, they could have produced a lot better film in terms of story. Freddy feeding off their fears and talking about him to make him more powerful was introduced maybe once. Connecting the kids through the past at the same preschool and then grown up outcasts not remembering a thing from when they were little was just far fetched. The original made more sense with the kids being friends already and that Freddy was doing it out of spite towards the parents never knowing their kids. I did like some of the nods to the original, but the script was really hurting with lack of ideas and just leaned on a lot of the memories of the original.
First time film director, Sam Bayer had some really random and odd shots that took away from the movie at times; you could have seen his work as a music video director for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” You can honestly tell this was a first time film director as there were just bad cinematography, direction, and the pacing. With the help of writer Wesley Strick (The Glass House; Doom) and first time writer Eric Heisserer, they really drove this one into the ground. With so much potential with technology and years of sequels, you would think that these guys would get the picture on how to create something brilliant. There had to have been moments when they were just stuck on what to write, turned on the original and just copied what they saw. Scenes from the original appeared shot for shot (bathtub and hall way body bag) just slapped together to fill in time.
The digital effects were not that great compared to some of the practical effects of the 80s (Freddy latex wall entrance). The kills were kind of boring and when they have the potential to do whatever they wanted with dream sequences they really lacked on right brain creativity. I don’t ask for over the top deaths, but something a little more fun would have been nice. Some of the death scenes were just laughable to the point of eye rolling. Musically this film did nothing. Platinum Dunes seem to hire Steve Jablonsky over and over and just remix the same emotion from their past films. It was nothing compelling with minimal feeling of horror and just was sort of there. In horror, you need that music to bring you into the moment to really build some good tension and it just was not there at all.
Robert Englund looked a lot creepier and frightening than Jackie did even though he had more practical burns. The filming was so bad anyways that you could hardly see Freddy’s face. I like Jackie Earle Haley and he did a pretty good job at what he was given in the script, but I think that Robert Englund played a better creep and had a better voice too. Freddy’s new voice seemed to be over produced in the studio with Rorschach connections. I know that they tried to play this Freddy off a little more seriously, but the old perverted Freddy who liked to mess around with the kids is what made the film more fun and at the same time more creepy.
The acting was actually decent, I was surprised that these pretty faces actually did a decent job and didn’t get bogged down by horrible dialogue by average writers. Nancy (Rooney Mara) and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) had some decent chemistry and were pretty believable. Even Katie Casidy who played Kris was actually done well although she looked well over the age of who she was playing. I was OK with the fact that all the characters were changed by name and personas, but there was no specific main character until halfway through the film. Kris would have been a perfectly good main character since she was scrutinized for the good first half of this film. If they just developed her more and connected the kids together better, the story might have worked. This mishap really dragged down the film. Also, instead of having a main damsel in distress, Quentin almost seemed to flip the bill as being the helpless girl more than Nancy, which was just lame and aggravating at times.
With the budgeting being higher for this production than Platinum Dune’s Friday The 13th, I really can’t understand how they could have gone wrong with this film and how the quality suffered so badly on this remake. The quality of the film seemed really grainy and perhaps they were going for a dark vibe or something, but they could have just let the story make us feel scared rather than a grainy film telling us this is a horror movie. The set designs were well done from Freddy’s boiler room to the houses, but I won’t go that far as to saying they were great.
Overall A Nightmare On Elm Street ’10 was just average relying on jump scares to attempt at making any notion to try and tell you this film is suppose to make you scared when it failed miserably. This film hurt itself on the pacing and never really letting you have a moment to collect a thought, which you would think would be good in a horror movie to be constantly thrown at “scary” moments, but this does not work at all. A Nightmare On Elm Street ’10 was not as flashy as I thought it was going to be with Platinum Dunes, but maybe that would have worked better. This film struggled on imagination and story, but was saved by casting. Only the last 20 minutes of the film really kept me invested on watching and even the very end just kind of bored me. People should really take remakes as a new way to reinvent the stories rather than clip out scenes from the past. Take for instance Star Trek, Batman Begins, The Hills Have Eyes, and Dawn of the Dead, similar in nature to their originals, but went in their own direction and just had snippets of their predecessors creating their own vibe and not just beating the old drum.