- Travel/Hot Spots
- World News
I’m not the type of person who cynically bags on remakes without giving them a chance. Hell, I’ve already expressed my love for the Friday the 13th reboot and admitted to liking Rob Zombie’s take on Halloween, despite the fact that the original is my favorite horror movie of all time. So no, you won’t find me in the Talkback section of Ain’t it Cool News furiously typing angry missives and death threats aimed at those who remake beloved films of the past.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here goes: Platinum Dunes’ remake of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is garbage and the worst widely-released horror film I’ve seen in years. It’s not scary, not interesting, and not at all a film worth a second of your time.
But, since I like to be positive, let’s start with what they did correctly. The Freddy Krueger character was made famous by the wonderful performances of Robert Englund. Now that it’s 2010 and Englund is getting up there in age, they obviously needed someone to step into his shoes and put on the glove. They absolutely nailed it by casting Jackie Earl Haley, known for his remarkable performance as Rorschach in Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen. With this casting, they set my mind at ease, gave me confidence that they knew exactly what they were doing, and made me believe that this reboot would be just as entertaining as their Friday the 13th spin.
Wrong. That’s where the positives end. Everything else about this flick is abysmal. The “kids” (played by actors who are all obviously in their mid-to-late-20s) aren’t the least bit likable or worth rooting for. Their portrayal of the new “Nancy” as a mopey, mousy wallflower eliminates the strong female protagonist of the original flicks, and the rest of the cast is played by Barbie-and-Ken types that you can’t wait to see get picked off. And then there’s the guy who looks like a more doped-up Jeff Spicoli. He’s supposed to be our stong male lead? Really?
But the biggest crime is the handling of Freddy himself. Jackie Earl Haley is a gifted actor who is capable of so much more than what he was allowed in this train wreck. First of all, he’s barely given any screen time. And when he is, he’s limited to belched-out one liners without a hint of character. The beauty of Englund’s Freddy was that he was an almost likable monster. He was sarcastic, clever, and almost funny at times. In this film, Freddy’s never likable, and in fact is quite the opposite given their “TMI” explanation of how he came to be. Note to filmmakers: we don’t need every aspect of a character’s origin explained to us. Because in this case, it severely backfired.
Okay, this has turned into a rant, and I apologize for that. But Freddy deserved so much better. That said, I do hope they give this franchise – and Jackie Earl Haley – another shot. Like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a series that can easily continue to thrive as long as they’re handled properly.
So, in the end, if you’re a Freddy fan, I guess you can check this out just to see great potential squandered. But if I were you, just pick up the excellent original and watch how it’s supposed to be done.