An Apathetic Nightmare on Elm Street

 

Okay, who is the wiseguy that put sparklers on my finger knives again?

I just watched the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Eeeeh, what the hell happened?

I’ll tell ya what, Platinum Dunes.

They really have not figured out that you can’t polish a turd, you might be able to bronze it but that would be about as good as you are going to get.

I don’t get why remakes have been targeted to a younger and hip audience. Don’t they realize as time goes by kids just become even more apathetic and jaded than the last generation? And here is platinum dunes doing the monkey dance trying to get these kids attention and money. That is what this movie looks and feels like, unattached, unemotional and unimaginative as hell. Saw movies look more interesting- and I hate Saw movies.

If they had some vision they would see that marketing the reboot (as it were) to fans would be more to their advantage. Why?

The fans are older and have money to waste on bad films. The “forced reboot” as I call it just doesn’t work for anyone. For a reboot you need to find someone that really likes the original story or movies, not in the way platinum dunes “likes” them (as an investment).

Look at Batman Begins, it’s a reboot but you did not see Nolan trying to re-invent the character or put a modern spin on it, he just built on the character’s back story giving him a reason to be and let nature take its course. The fact that they show what happened to Freddy was a major plus for the movie but would have been better suited as the focal point or at least as a large part of the beginning of the film. For years and years before they made this there has been talk about Freddy’s origin or a movie based on it. The closest they ever came to that was a Freddy’s nightmares episode that showed a bit of the court trial and how he came to be. They missed a great opportunity to show off Haley’s acting chops (sans makeup) and build on the character. It seems like they just said “kids don’t want to wait for Freddy, we need to give them action- skip the origin and show a brief scene at the end to tie it up”. What is even more strange is that these days people WANT origin stories, but it was completely overlooked.

 I got to see an advanced screening of the Friday the 13th reboot and in attendance were Derek Mears (Jason- super nice guy) Brad Fuller (platinum dunes- complete schmuck) and Andrew Form (platinum dunes – Mr. Quiet- seemed like Brad’s bitch).

They went on and on about being fans of all of the movies that they have or will be ruining. Sitting there listening to it all just made me dislike them more, it all sounded like crap. They were talking about bringing a lot of movies to reboot and ANOES was one of them. It was all about how much money they could make. If Friday the 13th does well then we will get the green light on Elm street, and if that does well… I get that studios need to make money but they were very insincere about it and seemed visibly nervous about how people reacted to the Friday reboot, because it kind of sucked. I don’t think they were ready for people not to embrace track star Jason. I liked the chainsaw remake but aside from that they have just consistently put out crap.

And that is what we have with Nightmare 2010, just crap.

I wanted to like it of course. I grew up a Freddy fan, following everything from the movies to the TV series. I understand that over the years Freddy got watered down, and as all good things it had to end. My initial reaction to the Nightmare 2010 news was completely negative, but I had some hopes- Jackie Earl Haley, how could that go wrong?

I don’t know how, but it did… terribly.

They managed to take the dream like quality out of nightmare on Elm Street. Anything clever about any of the old Elm Street movies has been mostly shat upon.

You could tell when the kids were dreaming but there was no sense of danger or weirdness, no surprises. Even though the score “wanted” you to be tense, it just did not happen. I felt like a jaded teenager from today waiting for it to be over.

And speaking of the score, it is the same as the original but the notes are played backwards. No imagination, barely an homage to the original- just modern day slasher movie music.

The most clever part of the score was not really the score actually. In the drug store where Nancy is going in and out of “micro naps” (uuugh) they played the song “All I have to do is Dream” by the Everly Brothers. That was extremely effective in the trailer and really helped to sell the movie. In the actual scene, not so much. It was a good idea but certainly not enough to carry the whole film.

Freddy’s kills were not imaginative by ANY means. He just rips through people now, literally. He tortures kids, also in the literal sense, rather than playing mind games, tricking them or making them face their fears. There are no more morality lessons or ironic deaths. He pulls a kids heart out and as the kid hangs upside down tells him that the brain keeps working 7 minutes after the heart stops, so they had 6 more minutes to play. That is demented but not Freddy. It just sounds like some random serial killer from any crime drama or movie, take your pick.

Aside from that they tried to re-hash gimmicks from the original (and by far still more superior) nightmare, here is the run down.

 

The bed scene 1984: Freddy lurks over Nancy while she sleeps. In the original this was achieved by placing an actor in a false wall behind the bed. A Spandex/Lycra material was used in place of a wall and the actor in good lighting leaned through over Nancy making a very tense scene.

Exibit A

The bed scene 2010: Nancy nods off while sitting up in bed listening to her ipod, because modern day technology not been crammed far enough down our throats in modern movies, “hey, look at my toys… yay!” (Yes, I had a walkman and I am damn proud of it- screw your Ipod!) As Nancy sits there a shiny CG blob Freddy bubbles out of the wall. He might as well have jumped out and started dancing. It looked like someone had used software that came with a demo of the abyss tentacle.

Somebody call Rick O'Connell, I think I see a Mummy.

The tub scene 1984: Nancy falls asleep in tub, Freddy’s hand comes awfully close to her no no bits and just when he stops and she relaxes again he pulls her under the water and she has to swim back out of the drain. The way that the scene played was perfect for a nightmare, girl falls asleep in tub, dreams she is going down the drain and wakes up while under water- makes sense.

 

The tub scene 2010: We have Freddy’s hand come up somewhat close to no no bits as well… then she wakes up. No harm. This was a waste of a perfectly good scare scene. Yes, they might have said “the audience will expect that” but you have to cash in some expectations for your fans.

 

Hallway scene 1984: Nancy sees Tina in a body bag, Tina talks to her and spits up blood. She sees some more gore and runs down the hall only to run into the hall monitor in the Freddy sweater. “Hey Nancy! No running in the hallways!”

 

Hallway scene 2010: Nancy sees Kris in what looks like a thin bag from the dry cleaners calling her name. Woah, that’s really creepy- next!

nothing else. She was micro napping, and immediately the other character explains that to her and they move on. I think I must have been micro napping the entire movie. Maybe not, it might have been better if I had.

 

The infamous Tina bed kill scene 1984: Tina levitates around the room and is brutally murdered in front of her boyfriend. The sounds that Amanda Wyss made in that scene with the gasping and screaming were enough to creep you out, she could act.

The Kris bed kill scene 2010: Though more physical and brutal, the acting did not sell this scene as it did in the original, neither did the CG blood. Just not a good idea.

Quaker oats stairs 1984: Nancy runs from Freddy up the stairs only to be slowed by “quicksand” steps. Great effect even if it was cheesy, er… oaty. A scene to make Wilford Brimley proud.  

Blood hallway 2010: I actually liked this scene, the hallway Nancy is running down slowly turns into a sludgy blood tar pit. Great effect and one of the only good ones in the movie. This scene is actually on the poster, though without the context the poster really just looks like Freddy getting ready to get something naughty from the girl.

The end 1984: Nancy turns her back on Freddy taking his energy away and walks out of the room. The next morning she is going to school. Gets in a car with her dead friends and is presumably driven away by the Freddy mobile as her mother gets yanked back in the house through a very small window by Freddy. Weird ending but it worked. It established that you don’t know what is real or dream in the movie. Did she dream she defeated Freddy and everything is okay or did she dream the whole movie and never really got out of the dream? Who knows.

The end 2010: Freddy is taken into the “real world” hand is cut off and throat slashed, he is left to burn… again- though authorities say there was no body left at the scene. Hmmm…Nancy goes home, turns to talk to her mother as Freddy appears in a mirror and punches through her mom’s face with his gloved hand- and- flash cut to credits with some lame ass EMO new metal band… you know, for kids.

No.

It was if they thought that a Freddy movie was pretty much the same thing as a Jason movie or Leatherface movie. Freddy is not visceral like that, he has a style or at least a more slick approach. This Freddy is like having Jason Voorhees in your nightmare. He is not intuitive or tactful, he just does the matrix quickstep and talks shit.

The one thing I liked about this Freddy was that he flicked his blades like scissors, most likely something that JEH came up with. it was creepy and really cool.

I feel really bad for Haley, he is a great actor and deserves much better than this.

I think platinum dunes needs to stop. Stop raping my childhood, stop looking for the money grab. Yes, I am old and set in my ways. Yes I liked the old ANOES movies up until #5 when Freddy became a carnival barker.

I'll take moonwalking Freddy over 2010 Freddy any day.

Even though the character became a little more annoying each time the movies and the dreams were still dream like. Surreal. It did not just feel like a flashy video director’s demo reel.

But of course they will not stop there, they are now working on reboots of both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Monster Squad.

Someone please kick the Platinum Dunes guys in the nards for me.

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