Anyone reading this, please, if you wish, let me know how this novel (to me, at least) format works for you compared to a more traditional reivew, and of course, feel free to agree or disagree with my assessment of this film.
Initial Thoughts on the ANOES Remake: How Accurate was I?
Well, I have now seen the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. I did not spend any money on it, but I got the chance to see it free and so I jumped at it. I had struggled with my resolve not to give in and pay to see this (I didn't want to support it, or the general remake trend) and I am sad to say my resolve was faltering, but, serendipitously, I got the chance to see it for free, and so, as I already stated, I jumped at that chance, and have now, for better or for worse (we'll soon find that out muahahaha....lame, I know.....muaahahah- okay, I'll stop) seen the movie.
So, what I am going to do here is post the impressions I'd had of the remake going in, based upon the large number of reviews and tons of viewer feedback that I had read online (and also good old fashioned inference based upon previous works of the people involved and the current state of American horror), and then after each point, add my present standing on that point, since I have now seen the movie.
And so, what we will find out is how accurate I was in my initial (negative) assessments of the merits (or lack thereof) of this new 2010 version of a 1984 genre classic.
Note: I will put the original statements in black, and my accuracy assessments in red.
1) Freddy's look. I know that's more realistic, but he lost the demonic look that I loved. However, I am willing to admit a part of this is likely nostalgia.
I still hated it at first, but by the end I merely disliked it.....strongly. Okay, perhaps mildly. If they do make 2 more sequels, and I do see them, I suppose by the end of it I'll have gotten to the point where his new face is at least no longer distracting.
2) HIS VOICE!!Freddy sounded demonic. Now he sounds like a breathless Rocky Balboa. Not scary in the least and this alone is a huge dealbreaker for me.
Absolutely fucking horrible. A slow talking, mouth breathing, Dark Knight sound alike. No, just....no. I refuse to budge on this point even a millimetre. Oh, wait, save for one redeeming quality. The laugh. Haley approximated Enlgund's exquisite balance between sinister and maniacal and he did so without trying too hard to sound like Englund. In doing so, I'd say he did a great job with the laugh. It immediately called to mid Englund's, as it was similar, but not in a way that made you nostalgic nor angry for him trying to copy it. Well done on that one!
3) Based upon several reviews and viewer feedback it seems as though the ''scares'' were pretty much the loud BAM sound followed by a sudden appearance of Freddy. I HATE the overuse of jump scares. It's cheap, cheesy, manipulative and indicative of the fact that these guys are creatively bankrupt and don't understand shit about horror or what Craven did with the original ANOES.
This wasn't quite as bad as I expected, but still bad and indicative of the things I said it would be. It wasn't AS bad, but definitely, definitely over relied upon.
4) I read that the nightmare scenes are always telegraphed via musical and aesthetic changes. Part of what I loved with the original series is you often weren't immediately aware that you were in 'dream world' if you will. There were some surprises. Some.....unknown. Some...suspense.
Every single one of them, save for maybe one (can't recall for sure) was telegraphed via aesthetic changes, as I said. The dream sequences themselves were also unimaginative and unoriginal.
5) The footage I have seen features a very wooden Nancy. Langenkamp might not win any awards but at least she had expression and depth.
She actually wasn't that bad. Not great, but certainly not horrible, and the way her character was handled sort of approached (but did not match) what Craven did with his Nancy. One of the better elements of the film, I thought.
6) The people involved do it solely for money, and they are hacks. They didn't even care to try and involve any of the original people. No Craven, no Saxon, no Lagenkamp and no Englund.
Now, this is a 'reboot' so this makes some sense. Well, Englund could have played Krueger but the rest make sense. Except for one: Craven. They didn't bother to get input from the one man who truly understood Krueger, and the one man who had vision. Idiots.
Not much to add here, although I guess I can say that, while I would never pick Bayer to direct another one, his direction wasn't the main issue here.
7) I don't want to support this remake bullshit. They fucked up FF13, they destroyed Halloween, the are fucking up Krueger (although I can't fully say this until I see it, which of course I'll end up doing at some point, let's be real, but hopefully for free after my brother buys the DVD) and they have completely destroyed so many others. Black Christmas, Prom Night, Psycho (not that I'm a huge fan of the original), Dawn of the Dead, etc etc etc
Saw it free, so I can still feel that I did not betray my sensibilities on this one.
8) WHERE THE FUCK IS THE ORIGINAL SCORE?? It's the best damn horror score EVER.
True, and a damn shame. The only element that was present from it was the little piano melody, but it only made it into the film for a brief moment or two.
9) CGI. The clip of Freddy coming out the wall looks so fucking fake now, whereas the budget shot with no CGI from 1984 still looks better today.
Absolutely true. In fact, the few scenes that they did copy from the original both felt out of place (they were just haphazardly thrown in) and sucked in this one. I won't describe them all for the sake of brevity, but the scene in the original with Tina in the bodybag and the ensuing boiler room scene were fucking destroyed in the new one with a limp, shitty, weak ass approximation of only half of the original scene, and even then, it sucked.
The one good one was the bedroom scene involving Kris (Tina) and whatever his name was (Rod) which I thought actually matched the original. They did i a bit differently, and I'd say they did really well with it. The few omissions where made up for by the new way in which Kris/Tina is physically manipulated by Freddy in that small space. Evocative of a classic Poltergeist scene, without feeling like a ripoff of either that or the NOES scene from which it drew inspir- well, copied. Kudos to them on this one.
10) They all know what's going on way too early, and they come to know it way too easily. The original had a slow, suspenseful buildup where Nancy and co. tried to piece together what was happening.
Yes and no. They don't get the whole story right away. But the whole ''let's piece together this mystery'' thing starts like 5 minutes in to the movie, which does destroy a lot of the tension and pacing.
Maybe I'll end up liking it, but I doubt it. The guys behind the project just don't see horror the way I do, and I don't think I'll enjoy what they did to ANOES. Still, I admit I may be wrong. There's .000003% chance of it :)
Well, I don't love it, but, surprisingly, I don't hate it. It's....okay. Ho hum. Here are just a few (again, for the sake of brevity) of the hits and misses that I have not mentioned thus far:
1) Haley's Freddy not only looked and sounded worse, he moved in a more boring manner, and he did not do anything creative. He stalked his victims in a slow and linear fashion, typical of more mundane slasher villains. His mannerisms and actions were just bland, and Haley brought nothing new, save for one small tick, a swishing sort of thing he did with the blades, conveying Freddy's anxiousness and desire to slice and dice (this was a decent little tic, I thought). Other than that, nothing, and he lost so much.
2) He lost that 1950's spaghetti western swagger, the running (he never ran once, for fuck's sake he's not Jason or Michael!), the toying with his victims in ways other than the slow approach/oh I'm gone/boo mechanic so often utilized in this one (remember the amazing alley scene, or the jail scene with Rod? Ya, none of that) and of course the voice. Another thing that sucked where his lines, but that was the damn writers' fault. Man, for the most part, they wrote some shitty dialogue for everyone, not just Haley, but his especially....ugh. And they stole lines straight from Nightmare 4 and FvsJ, but they were shitty and out of place lines.
3) The kills were terribly uncreative. The best one was one lifted directly from the original. That right there should tell you something.
4) They did not develop the character of Nancy's mother at all, nor did they really develop her relationship with her daughter. Thus, they lost one of the strongest and central elements of the original film: the mother daughter relationship, and how the dynamic shifted as the film progressed, so that by the climax and subsequent denouement, Nancy had become the parent in the relationship, and consequently, had learned to take care of herself.
This not only set up the final confrontation with Krueger, but it was also a statement regarding the changes to the so called ''nuclear'' family that had been rapidly progressing during that decade. Nancy's father was nowhere to be seen (not a statement, I assure you).
5) The pacing. Much too quick, and far too many dream sequences/too much Freddy.
1) The supporting cast wasn't that bad. Some rough moments here and there, but really, not that bad.
2) The last 15 minutes or so, up until the HORRIBLE last 2 minutes, were quite good, and in those 12-15 minutes, I saw some actual damn passion, or at least, some glimpses of it, a bit of creativity, and hell, even a genuinely creepy couple of moments. This, Kris' (Tina's) bedroom scene (although the preceding outdoor sequence SUCKED SO HARD compared to the amazing alley sequence in the original) and a few other moments were pretty good.
3) They did NOT make Freddy innocent, as I had heard they had considered doing (and had in fact even done, in early script drafts). This is crucial. You make pre-dead Freddy an innocent victim, you make Freddy Krueger a sympathetic character. You make him sympathetic, suddenly you feel sad for him rather than afraid of him.
4) Freddy had a few genuinely good lines amidst his mediocre and downright bad ones. Of course, one of his very best was stolen from Nightmare 1 (and the still managed to miss a word) but a few of the new ones were good, and creepy).
5) Very good one here: Freddy was menacing, dark, and serious. No clowning around here, and that's how I like him. He toys with his victims, but in a deliberately malicious, evil way. No flying around on a broomstick in a witch costume shouting out ''I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!'' like in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. While that was an admittedly funny and fun, campy moment from a cheesy, campy, fun (but not scary) 5th sequel, I'm very glad they avoided going in that direction for this film. This was the ANOES 1, 2 and 7 Krueger, and that's good..
6) Along the same lines as the last point, the entire movie maintained a serious tone, or at least tried to (some of the shitty lines nearly killed it). It was dark and dreary, and almost 100% sans jokes, which was great. The teens weren't partying it up and telling stupid jokes, and they weren't even heavily stereotyped. Both of these things were refreshing, and demonstrated that the producers and Sam Bayer had at least enough knowledge of the series to realize that this is not your typical ''kill the sluts and drug users and have your virgin be your ''final girl'' slasher movie.
Summation:Old comment: So, a note to Platinum Dunes: I want my fucking childhood back, you assholes. I don't recall putting it on the market, so I have no idea how you fuckers bought and sold it, but I want it back. Now, give it back, or I'll......I'll......kil- no, no, that's not it......I'll, I'll, beat- no, no, that's not it either.....I'll I'll.....su-no, no that's not it.....Ah, Hell. I'll keep blogging about you!!! And you don't want that, trust me. I have a HUGE audience and immeasurable influence. I can get people to boycott your ass, and let me tell you, you'd lose at least $23.00. You want to test me? You want to test me motherfuckers? Go ahead, if you think it's worth $23.00, go right the fuck ahead, you childhood stompin fart brains!!!!
New Comment: Well, Platinum Dunes did not completely destroy this movie, but they truly and honestly made a movie that need not exist. It did not contribute to the series in any meaningful way, it will never be heralded as a genre classic, it was almost entirely unable to upstage the 26 year old original, and in fact, even (mostly) failed when it tried to directly copy it.
However, they did treat Freddy with the right idea, keeping him serious and sinister, and at least the scenes all didn't take place in the light of day. I also thought that the introduction of micronaps made for a great, and logical plot device, which served to increase the tension (what little of it there was) although they predictably fucked up the science of it somewhat, and of course, they also mostly used it for jump scares.....*sigh*.
The Nightmare on Elm Street Remake is like a glossed up version of the original classic with most of the originality and nuance removed, and in is place was too quick of a pace and too much standard genre fare. It was also rushed, as I already alluded to several times, and crucial elements like Nancy's absent (in different ways) parental influences were completely absent, which took away from the significance of her eventual resilience and finding the courage to fight back (which actually sucked in this one compared to the original). Also, the kills were mediocre and not particularly interesting , horrifying, or visually arresting, save for one ( of course a copy from ANOES 1) and Freddy was a heavy breathing, slow talking, almost lisping weirdo who exuded no real personality. Not like Englund's Freddy did.
Still, the bones of a Nightmare film will, or at leatst, shold, always make for a good horror story, and I guess I can say that, technically, this one was probably better than The Dream Child and Freddy's Dead, although those ones at least had campiness to them that lends itself to repeat viewing over the years. This one, on the other hand, lacks both that factor AND the impact and resonance of the perfect mixture of deeper thematic undertones and excellent, nuanced horror, leading to an average at best Nightmare flick, and a pretty good horror flick in general.
I can say this: I enjoyed this more than any other horror movie I have seen in the last few months, although even my love for all things Freddy could not elevate this higher than the last few greats I have seen in the last year or so, both coming out of France: Haute Tension (High Tension) and A L' Interiur (Inside).
Both of those are absolutely excellent horror films that I recommend anyone reading this who loves horror to try and get their hands on and eyes in front of, although they are VERY brutal films that will require a strong disposition and a strong, healthy heart to be able to handle literally an hour and a half of solid tension and suspense. Those two movies are frightening and disturbing, and I absolutely loved them. They were the two best horror films I have seen since the seminal horror film coming out of the UK in 2006, the absolutely effective The Descent.
I will be looking towards France for the next while to get my horror fix, as this movie, while perhaps better than most of the other American ones I have seen as of late (thanks mostly to the characters created by Wes Craven and not much of anything these guys did themselves, save for a select few cool scenes) just will not cut it for me.
I guess they can be commended for making a good horror film at a time where good American horror films are few and far between, and this movie is probably their best remake, which isn't saying much, since, save for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (which might actually be better than this one, but I haven't seen it since 2003, so I need to rewatch it before making a verdict on that one) the rest of them, from what I have seen ad heard, have fucking sucked ass.
Ah well, I have only spent actual money on two of them (TCM and F13th) and one of those was actually good. The Friday the 13th remake blew chunks, and I will say that I am soooo glad that they didn't give this movie that treatment...yuck. At least this one is somewhat competent, on some levels.
I will score the A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 an underwhelming but competent 6.5/10 when assessing it as a standard horror film (decent acting, cool villain, medicore scares, not particularly inspired, pacing issues).
When compared to the film it so unnecessarily 'remade.' I feel that I must rate this film a disappointing 4/10.
Perhaps it's just me, but shouldn't a movie be remade if it's warranted, and if the remake surpasses/improves upon the source material? If it doesn't, I have to ask, as I find myself doing since seeing this movie......
WHAT'S THE FUCKIN POINT?