“If you die in your dreams, you die for real!” A Nightmare on Elm Street is a remake of the Wes Craven horror classic of the same name. Normally, horror remakes are some of the worst films that are ever put on screen, but there was only one reason why I thought this one could be decent. Jackie Earle Haley was going to be portraying Freddy Krueger, the infamous murderer who kills kids in their dreams. Of course I was right being the film would have probably been horrible if he wasn’t in it, unless they used the original Krueger, Robert Englund. But there were also many flaws with this film.
If you do not know the plot already, A Nightmare on Elm Street has the same plot as the original. It is basically about a group of teenagers who have recurring dreams about a man with a hat, striped sweater, a glove with claws for fingers, and his body is badly burned and he tries to kill them in their dreams. But they soon find out what happens in their dreams, happens in real life, and as more and more of them die, the kids try and put a stop to this psychopath. The film includes some scenes from the original like the bedroom scene and the hand coming out of the bathtub, but other than that there wasn’t any other scenes that I can recall were taken from the original. I did like the new sort of twist the put on the original background story of Freddy Krueger. It was a little more interesting and kind of explained what he did before he died a little more. It also made him more sick, vile, and evil. This film is also a lot more violent, gross, and bloody than the original which was expected.
The acting was basically horrible apart from Jackie Earle Haley and Kyle Gallner. Rooney Mara (who played Nancy), gave such a dreadful performance. It was very stale and for being one of the main characters, she showed barley any emotion, even when Freddy was attacking her. The other actors were all horrible as well except for two of them. Kyle Gallner is a new up and comer in the acting world. He has only been in two other films, The Haunting In Connecticut, and Jennifer’s Body. He gave a pretty good performance in this film compared to the others. I am looking forward to seeing him grow as an actor. But obviously the greatest performance that came out of this film was from Jackie Earle Haley. Being the first person to take over the role of Freddy Krueger since Robert Englund, it was interesting to see a new take on the role. But he did a great job. Haley has been in films such as Watchmen, Shutter Island, and Little Children (which scored him an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor). I personally like the Robert Englund Freddy better than Haley’s, but he still gave a great performance none the less. Although the acting was terrible, his performance was the main thing that saved this film.
The film was written pretty well. It stayed true to the original screenplay but also added some new twists and different things to make the film more modern. The film was written by Wesley Strick, who wrote Arachnophobia, The Glass House, and Martin Scorsesse’s remake of Cape Fear which are not the best movies, and Eric Heisserer, who hasn’t written any other films. The direction for the film was also decent. For being that director Samuel Bayer has never directed a feature film before, he did an okay job with this film. But he used many cliche shots and angles that other mediocre directors use. The editing was pretty cool as well. The transitions from the real world to the dream world were great and very affective. The cinematography was beautiful as well. Now, I also hated many things about this film. The fact that Michael Bay produced this film made me very hesitant to see this film. Also, the film was just too jumpy. I felt like they tried to create suspense and tension every five seconds. The first few scares were good but after that, the film got extremely predictable, and annoying. I knew what was going to happen all the way through the movie and I hate not being unsure of what will happen. Sure there were a few moments where I actually jumped but all in all the film did not scare me at all and the ironic thing is, the next day I woke up at 3:00pm and got some of the best sleep I have had all year. So, there were many good things that went along with this film, but many flaws as well.
All in all, this is a decent remake. But of course the original is better than this but I still had a good time with it. Being that the entire theater was screaming and I was laughing most of the time set me apart from the normal viewers of this film. I would say wait for the DVD if you want to see it. I thank God that Jackie Earle Haley was there to save this movie from being terrible. I guess the film was okay, but I had many problems with it as well. My final rating of A Nightmare on Elm Street… 2 1/2 out of 5