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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Nightmare on Elm Street - Review (2010) 31 Days of Horror #15

Premise:  High school friends are haunted by the same nightmares of a man with a burned face and knife fingers.  Even worse, what he does in your dreams happens to you in real life. 

Review:  Freddie Krueger of the 80's and 90's is an iconic screen character that became a household name not only because of his unusual looks and taste for revenge, but also because he was mysterious and in an odd way charming.  His personality and whit are what drew audiences to the theater for countless sequels (even as it evolved from horror to camp.) 

Too bad no one told this to the producers of the re-boot of The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.  They must have had the "Nightmare" cliff notes, forgetting to look deeper than what was on the surface at what the true draw of the series was.  They did a better job, in certain ways, than Rob Zombie did with his take on "Halloween" to stay true to the original story, but they did so in an unimaginative way.

Freddie (portrayed by Jakie Earle Haley) is still here with his signature glove and the burned face, the problem is his makeup does not allow for any expression.  Sure, the burns on his face look more realistic, but remember this is a movie that mainly takes place in dreams, realism is not a top priority.  On top of the poor makeup decision, the character is often draped in shadows making his expressionless face even less functional.

Then there is the writing.  Freddie was know for his (often corny) one-liners - not any more.  There may have been a single one-liner setting up a kill.  When it is finally delivered, it is so out of place in this film that is falls flat. They purposely de-clawed Freddie of what audiences came to see.  He has absolutely no appeal as a villain or as a anti-hero.

It gets worse (medium spoiler alert) they decided to make Freddie the victim of the film - how are you supposed to feel about a killer that is seeking revenge for an injustice?  It is a bit conflicting and surely does not work.  

The film does have a couple of memorable moments, good acting and nice sets - too bad the pacing issues, script problems and de-clawing of Freddie outweigh anything done right in the film.
As a Nightmare on Elm Street film the films stinks, as a sequel to "Little Children" it is awesome.

Scariness:             2.0 out of 5    Dark, scary environments, but bad choices downgrade Freddie to a generic horror villain.

Gore/Violence:     4 out of 5       Blood, stabbings & slashings... the best is saved until last.

Story:                    2.5 out of 5    Same cool premise that gets mixed up along the way.

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  5 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here. 

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