Friday, 28 May 2010

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Movie Review

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Movie Review

Nightmare on Elm Street
Rating: 5/10
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton, Thomas Dekker, Katie Cassidy, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Kellan Lutz
Director: Samuel Bayer
Freddy's back for a new generation.
In this reimagining of the once popular Elm Street series, the teens of a small American town are dozing off - and being plagued by visions of a man in a red and black striped jumper and with a burned face.
After a series of deaths, one of them, Nancy (Rooney Mara) along with her friend Quentin (Kyle Gallner) try to work out why they're being tormented - and how to stop Freddy from killing them all.
But the longer they stay awake, the more dangerous their fight becomes - as sleep deprivation starts to force their bodies to shut down. And that's when Freddy will strike.
It's always going to be difficult to redo the iconic 1984 film A Nightmare on Elm Street - that was always one which defined a generation of horrors and had a major impact on the genre.
So it's not that the team behind this one doesn't try - they do and the successful updating finds Freddy Krueger given more of a sinister backstory which is more relevant and shocking to our times and sensitivities.
But herein lies the problem - Krueger was so intrinsically linked to Robert Englund that it makes it difficult to see anyone else in the role. That's not to say there's anything wrong with Jackie Earle Haley's performance - his growling and menacing Freddy works ok; he's not a patch on the original and there's something ever so slightly wrong with the make up of this Freddy; the face looks reminiscent of as if the Thing from Fantastic Four had been left near a heater and melted.
The cast do okay with their roles; they're all fairly disposable and the relative lack of big names (outside of genre TV shows) means you're not quite sure who's going to make it to the end.
There's the usual predictable shocks, gore and jolts and some of the death scenes are reminiscent of the original - but there's one plus to this film - some of the dream visuals. In particular, a scene where snow is falling inside a bedroom is beautifully done and is haunting as every dreamscape should be.
All in all, this new Nightmare clearly has aspirations to relaunch the series - especially given the final scenes - but it's clear those involved need to make a creative decision about the direction of any future films.

Because based on this first film, Freddy needs a little more bite to sustain a series of sequels.

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