THE LAIR EXPERTS
Matt: Let's see, where do I begin? I went into this film with low expectations, and STILL left the film disappointed. I should have known when Wes Craven was let go from this that disaster would soon follow. First off, let me comment on what I liked. Jackie Earle Haley did an admirable job taking the reigns as Freddy, considering he had large shoes to fill. Rooney Mara did a fine job portraying Nancy, although it was far from the character we all knew and loved in the original, complete with an entirely different story and last name. The other thing that stood out was how aesthetically pleasing the film is. The colors were very vibrant and defined, and the transitions from the real world to the dream world and back again were very well done. Kudos to the production staff for that one, because they clearly did not have the technology to do this even as recent as 2003 during 'Freddy Vs. Jason'. Director Samuel Bayer came from a music video background, and it was clearly evident throughout the film, both positively and negatively.
Now, onto the bad. The Freddy makeup just did not work. I know the producers did research and wanted to make him look more like a burn victim, but aside from the hole in his cheek, it just wasn't scary. They didn't have to duplicate the Englund look, but they could have done a lot better than what they ultimately came out with. The best look he had was during Quentin's dream, when Freddy first emerges burned and runs right at him. THAT would have worked. The one-liners were awful, ill-timed, and ill-placed. The classic Englund lines came off misplaced and illogical when spoken by Haley, and were clearly a bad attempt at a tribute. The best one-liners were the new ones by Haley himself, like the one about petting the dog. Now THOSE were sinister. Next, the story does not work well in the Elm Street universe. There was really no flow to it at all. They changed all of the characters and practically eliminated the parental involvement except for the background info. That was a major mistake. And, while I'm at it, Freddy was NOT a gardener! I cringed when they mentioned that in the film. He was always a creepy janitor, not someone who loved kids even 'one...little...bit'.
Another thing that bugged me was, why didn't they mention Elm Street more? Kris was the only one they confirmed that actually lived on Elm Street when she drove by the sign, but other than that, the central theme of the story is largely omitted. And what was up with the pre-school? I realize they built the story around it, but it wasn't on Elm Street, and not all the kids who went there lived on Elm Street, so why bother? They could have simply put the pre-school on Elm Street and have all the neighborhood kids go there, and it would have made a LOT more sense.
Finally, there's the ending...what the hell was that??? It was a complete rip-off of the ending to 'Freddy Vs. Jason'...complete with Nancy saying, "you're in my world now, bitch", then spilling the carnage. Again, what was meant as a tribute came off VERY badly. 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' is not worthy of its title. Aside from the performances of Haley and Mara, and the creepy musical score of Steve Jablonsky, it is a largely forgettable film. For me, it ranks a distant third behind the recent 'Halloween' and 'Friday The 13th' remakes. They just screwed up too much, even for a re-boot/re-imagining. 2 out of 10.
A.J.: Finally it seems like they got a remake right! A Nightmare on Elm St. is hands down the best remake of a classic horror film to date. This film jump starts the Nightmare series with a new and improved Freddy Krueger. Gone are the days of Freddy dressing up in super hero and nurse outfits with cheesy comedy lines. Freddy is now finally back to being scary and quite frankly, realistic. The one liners are still there (including some of Englund's classics), but in a more of a sinister type tone. Although the "new look" may not please some fans, it makes a lot more sense when you see the actors real face. The film pays great tribute to the whole Nightmare series throughout the film, and the classic creepy music is still there. I have to really grasp at straws to find a negative for this film, but the one thing that stands out the most to be in the Nancy character. I like the new twist on her (similar to Laurie in the Halloween remakes), but the actress just did not deliver in key scenes. That and she just looked really young and weak, but thats just my opinion. Another negative is no sex scenes, but historically in Nightmare on Elm St. there really isn't a lot of sex scenes anyway. This film is a solid 8 (your going to stay up late). 8 out of 10.
Dana: I have to totally agree with Matt on this one, not only Matt but most of the people I talked to who are hardcore "Nightmare" fans. This one was a total miss. I don't even think that they should have tried. For one Freddy is the one movie murderer that is vocal. So if you replace someone like Englund who has played Freddy Krueger in every "Nightmare" movie up until this point, you really almost have to match him. I know there are some people who liked Haley, but I don't think he had the right "swagger". And I don't like the fact that they established that Freddy was a child molester rather than just a child killer. It's bad enough that he killed kids but when you go the extra mile and make him a diddler with a kiddie porn stash, well, there's just something about that you just can't wrap your mind around. I mean, there was actually a fan boycott campaign against this movie, need I say more? But I do like how Freddy was actualy around the kids at some point in their life, which would explain why he haunts their dreams. Anyway, if I had to rate this movie, I'd give it a 3 out of 10.
Robert: I honestly have to defend this movie as it was much darker than the original. Here you had Freddy, as shown in the past, as the last person you'd suspect of being a child pervert. The original, he acted the same alive as he did in his 'Dream Master' phase. This isn't knocking Robert Englund as I love his performances, it's just defending Jackie Earle Haley's performance as a different interpretation of a character like Christopher Lee playing Dracula or various others playing the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's monster, or the Mummy. Despite her own criticisms, I enjoyed Rooney Mara's performance as I couldn't believe Heather Langenkamp's. She came off as bland and one dimensional, the clichéd good girl who might faint if a boy held her hand. Yes, they repeated this kind of from the original probably because they feared the fans' wrath if they didn't do scenes like the girl being dragged across the floor or the other up the bedroom walls while being killed. Some things they did were good like the hallway floor becoming blood or Freddy taunting the guy saying his brain would go on a few more minutes, giving them time to play. Truthfully, I thought this was how the original Nightmare On Elm Street should have been, darker and not editing itself nor being led by a bland, dull actress. 9 out of 10.
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