Thursday, May 30, 2013

Film Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Review)
United States/2010
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Late one night, Kris goes to a diner to meet her boyfriend, Dean. Dean, who has just awoken from a nightmare, has had trouble sleeping. As Dean slips into sleep again, he is confronted by a burnt man with a clawed glove and his throat is slit, although everyone awake witness Dean cutting his own throat.

Now, Kris, Nancy (Rooney Mara), Jesse, and Quentin seem to be suffering from the same nightmares - nightmares that can actually kill them. It is revealed that they are being haunted by Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), and these young high school kids have a long forgotten connection with each other and Krueger. They fight to stay awake as they investigate Krueger and the past that their parents have hidden - a past that either holds Krueger as a child abuser or a man mistakenly murdered by angry parents.

The story in this film is bad. The concept is amazing, but the execution is horrible. The story is almost nonexistent as the film is heavily reliant on nightmare set pieces; consequently, the film feels like a tech demo someone would present to producers and say "this is what we can possibly do with an Elm Street remake made with modern technology." Every nightmare feels disconnected and insignificant, and they occur too often which lessens their impact. The characters are forgettable, and Freddy Krueger is poorly utilized. The ending of this film is horrendous - *spoilers* - it ends with a terrible one-liner and a predictable "I'm not dead" jump. Oh, and the story doesn't tell you how much time has passed, it seems to be only a few days. This is funny because the characters fall asleep in class, while bathing, even while swimming. The funniest scene was at the end where a character is told to keep watch over Nancy as she sleeps and wake her as she hunts Freddy - as soon as Nancy turns her head, this character falls asleep! And he just injected himself with clinical adrenaline!

The acting was mediocre. Rooney Mara is bland and boring; she is unbelievably underwhelming throughout most of the film, and she occasionally overacts - my point being: she is bad, which is frustrating considering she's the lead. The rest of the cast deliver mediocre yet tolerable performances. The writing can be blamed for some of the bad acting, as well; there's a sequence between Mara and Connie Britton, who plays her mother, where they shout back and forth "You're lying!" and "No, I'm not!" for a few seconds and I couldn't help but laugh - it was terrible. Jackie Earle Haley had some large shoes to fill - those of the original Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund. Mr. Haley did an adequate job with his performance. However, Freddy Krueger's new design isn't scary - too much computer, it looks odd and too clean to be genuinely frightening.

The nightmare sequences feature great special effects and cinematography - the use of color and lighting really works well in these scenes. They show real potential - if the story were the main concern for these filmmakers, the nightmare sequences would've been much more effective. The gore effects were also good, definitely a bloody film. This is a remake that had a huge advantage, and A Nightmare on Elm Street could've significantly benefited from these effects - unfortunately, it doesn't. The music wasn't really effective this time around, it's forgettable.

Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is bad film. It's a waste of time, the story is poorly written, the acting - particularly Rooney Mara - is bad, the frights are nonexistent, and it's unintentionally hilarious. One of the worst remakes I've seen, and I'm not a harsh reviewer when it comes to remakes - I don't habitually hate remakes. Don't waste your time.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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