Movie Review: "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

 

Apparently, Freddy Krueger is a pedophile. But forget that, because like everything else in this poorly crafted remake, it doesn’t matter. And, from the silence that surrounded me as I stared at the screen, the largely teenage audience seemed to agree.

Directed by Samuel Bayer, purveyor of 90s music videos, the new “Nightmare on Elm Street,” is an extension of his previous work: Expect the memory of this film to fade as quickly as the 90s bands he worked with. It is a study in what once was cool. Most striking in his IMDB credits, noted directly below “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” his credit for “Absolute Garbage.”

I wanted to like this film. Freddy Krueger was once, prior to Platinum Dunes’ grip on the franchise, an icon for almost a quarter century. So, what happened?

Despite Freddy killing terribly cast actors at a frantic pace, despite poor CG rehashes of scenes from the original, no one believes in him; the characters cite this fact constantly. Doing the best they can with a lackluster script (being very polite) by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer, the actors, led by Nancy (Rooney Mara), constantly watch friends no one really liked die from an unseen assailant. (I hope success follows Miss. Mara, one of the few actors in the film, but don’t hold your breath if her agent keeps shoveling scripts like this one in her direction.) The actor’s disbelief in their villain seeps out of every crack in the film. If they don’t believe in Freddy, why should I?

Understandably, the filmmakers attempted to show Freddy at every possible moment, and why wouldn’t you? Freddy deserves to be seen. However, falling asleep at every possible moment, to the point of utter disbelief that our heroes are actually lacking in rest makes me wonder how he appeared in the first place. Falling asleep at a friend’s funeral after he was brutally murdered in front of you?

The Director of Photography, Jeff Cutter, paints a pretty picture, but that’s about as good as it gets. When you start dwelling on how the make-up artist did a terrible job, all hope is lost.

Nancy’s final line – before conquering her new nightmare – caused a bright spurt of laughter, though quick in its passing. It’s a shame, only because a more talented team could have created something great.  And then the rest of teenage crowd, expressionless, silent, stood, quickly disappeared, and likely forgot.

- Greystoke

 

What: "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

Directed by: Samuel Bayer

Starring: Rooney Mara

Rated: R, for bloody violence and some strong language

Should you go? No.