Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

Platinum Dunes is a company known for remaking horror films. We all know this. It is also a company known for being bashed left and right for their remakes. The problem with the remakes is that they are forgettable. They fail to capture the atmosphere of what made the original so great. A Nightmare On Elm Street falls into this category and while it's got decent direction it's lack of originality on what could have been a brilliant re-imagining falls flat.

The concept of the original Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the best in horror cinema: a man that invades your dreams, hunts you down and takes you out. It's the ultimate version of the boogeyman under the bed. Another concept that is born out of that is your parents not believing you are being attacked in your dreams cause let's be honest, who would? Add to that the back story of the parents chasing down a child murderer named Freddy Kreuger, burning him alive in a boiler room and you have a great concept for a horror film.

The failure of the remake lay in its lack of originality and deviation from the ideas that the original Nightmare presented. Director Samuel Bayer has worked on nothing but music videos previous to this film and he doesn't bring much to the film in terms of creativity. You have the classic scenes all remade here: Tina being dragged across the walls, Freddy making an imprint through the walls, the glove popping out of the soapy bathtub while Nancy is sleeping. This film even manages to screw some of those scenes up. The imprint in the wall was terrifying in the original, here its completely overdone.

The characters here are just bland. I will say Jackie Earle Haley pulls off a good Kreuger. Another big component the film uses is the worst kind of scare a horror film can use: the jump scare. It's effective in the first couple scenes of the film but after a while it just gets annoying. A question one reviewer has raised is interesting: If there's a video of yourself getting killed, how would you upload it? Do we upload videos from the grave now?

The movie introduces the idea of micronaps. It basically uses it as an excuse for more jump scares. You know the character is having a micronap because it uses a visual cue. There was such an opportunity to run with this concept. The fact that it hits its spots on mediocre levels is just not good enough.

Hopefully in another 20 years, there will be another filmmaker out there who will realize the full potential of the concept of A Nightmare On Elm Street and make a film just as scary, or maybe even scarier than the original. Until then, stick with the original film.


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