VIDEO: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

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The Fear Fan is back with the last of his reviews of the Elm Street series! It’s the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, starring Rooney Mara and Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger. In this episode, see for yourself how a modern big-budget remake can somehow fail to be as technically proficient as a film made thirty years prior, and learn just why producer Michael Bay should stay the hell away from the world of horror movies.

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Tag: A Nightmare on Elm Street

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  • StevePotter

    In Quentin’s defense, I also tell people they’d probably rather be talking to someone else. It’s something horribly awkward people do.

  • Immortan Scott

    The four month wait for this was worth it. Can’t wait to see the Friday The 13th retrospective.

    • fearfanforever

       Thanks! Hopefully it won’t take that long to get to it.

  • edharris1178

    Oh lord, this one was just terrible.  I don’t even think it should count as part of the series.  I mean at least the lousy Friday the 13th film from 2009 had a good Jason Voorhees.  This was basically 90 minutes wasted.

  • Cristiona

    Frankly, nothing could satisfy fans of the original.  This was doomed from the beginning.

    I have to admit, I take a far less snarky take on Freddy slicing off her bangs.  Since this is evil-child-mosleting-monster Freddy and not Piers-Anthony-punster Freddy, it can actually be viewed as a bit of cat-and-mouse tormenting of her.  He pulls her into the dream world, has her at his mercy, and then just cuts her hair (which incidentally demonstrates the dream-to-reality powers) to show her that he can kill her at a whim and she’s powerless.  He’s fucking with her and playing mind games to up the terror when he decides to kill her.  In theory.

    Re: Miranda rights: technically, the police don’t need to inform you of your rights until they start questioning you.  It’s just easier to do it at the point of arrest.  No clue on the DOC jumpsuit, though.  I’d say they gave it to him because they took his blood-splattered tshirt as evidence, but it seems he has it on under the jumpsuit.  Whoops.

    About the “twist” that Freddy really was evil, I think that if handled better, it could have been interesting.  The concept of Freddy being an innocent man who was wrongly murdered by mob “justice” seeking revenge from beyond the grave against the children of his murderers has a certain appeal to it.  We’ve always seen Freddy as an outright monster who liked killing kids, but having him be an innocent man, twisted by his horrific death could be a much deeper character.  And in a different property, the route they went (thinking he was innocent and finding out he wasn’t) probably could have worked if it wasn’t this property.  There’s took much baggage and general knowledge about the franchise to try a twist like that.  However, I think this, like the haircutting -could- have worked with a better script.

    Speaking of things that could have worked better in a better movie: the mundane death of Freddy.

    And I see I’ve come across as a total fangirl for this movie which isn’t the point.  I just think it had an impossible hill to climb and has generally by unfairly attacked (although yours is one of the more fair reviews).  Now, House of the Dead?  Yeah, that’s total shit.  Have at it.  You could spend an hour and still miss stuff.

    Oh, and welcome back!

    • fearfanforever

       Thanks, Cristiona, and it’s always good to hear from you! You raise a lot of good points, and I agree with you on several of them. All in all, this was just a lot of wasted potential, and it’s sad to see a promising concept go down the tubes.

  • The_Stig

    I thought it was pretty decent as far as recent slasher remakes go. Does it compare to the original? Hell no, but I’d take this one over the Friday the 13th remake and Zombie’s Halloween films any damn day of the week. Jackie Earl Haley is great as he always is, but my big problem was the makeup. I get that they were going for a more realistic burn victim look, but they could have done that and make Freddy look scarier.

    Oh, and jump scares need to die.

    • fearfanforever

       Just keeping him in the shadows would have done a lot to improve the situation, but yeah, JEH really sold it in the movies better moments.

      • The_Stig

        Yep, definitely. Of course a better movie overall would have helped too.

  • Tony Thurisaz

    So, are we to assume that the next franchise you take on will be that of the great goalie from Crystal Lake? I hope so because I was really looking forward to seeing you tackle Freddy vs Jason. I was surprised this wasn’t it. Although, I would have been beyond shit-shocked if you had the nerve to wade through Freddy’s Nightmares.

    As for this, honestly, I don’t know. I saw it when it hit video and didn’t know what to make of it then. I’ve never been a connoisseur of this franchise and only had recent tastes of the aforementioned Freddy vs Jason and, a few years earlier, the 1985 original. So I couldn’t put my head into it. Then I sat through the entire franchise and then when I finally came unto this… I still didn’t know. It never got a foothold with me. I can’t quite discern why. I mean, yeah, I knew it wasn’t great, but I couldn’t tell beyond that. It just sat there. At least the Friday the 13th remake had the courtesy of hitting something as it sped through the motions. But whereas the Friday the 13th remake was just an attempt at a fanservice compilation of the first four entries, this really had nothing to nestle on. Without a proper motivation, they essentially set out to remake the original fairly closely while trying a more realistic touch. Nobel effort, but if you can’t offer anything more than a new make-up job, then why bother? Yeah, they did make Freddy a paedophile, but it only confused his motivation. The original Freddy (per the original only before his objective got muddled in the sequels) was motivated by carrying on in a place where the parents couldn’t help the children. But here it seems like he’s driven by mere revenge. If Freddy was only a molester when alive, then it shifts his personality to go on a killing spree. It’s almost two different characters. It just doesn’t gel. I will admit, however, that at least they got a new plot device concerning the more dramatic effects of sleep deprivation. Again, though, a remake this does not warrant. While the original was a good concept and explored a good theme, it was flawed in some of its execution. One of the problems I have was the whole interacting with reality thing. I still don’t understand how that works and screenwriters hellbent on some originality could have done something different by changing that aspect and retooled how the murders reflected the real world. Personally, if I were remaking it, I would have dropped that and made it much more psychological (although, leaving the bloody mayhem for the real world). That’s ultimately the problem. No balls or creativity to add something distinctive (just enough to earn a writing credit). The ending demonstrates why: in the original, it was left open for debate what happened when Nancy “defeated” Freddy. Here they focus on killing her mum just as a cheap “gotcha!” ending to leave the door open for a sequel.

    I will say one thing that out-right bugged the shit out of me (other than that ugly CGI). It was Freddy’s offing. It just read so much like a retread from Freddy vs Jason. So mind-blowingly original, they couldn’t even be arsed to coin a new one-liner.

    • fearfanforever

       Hmn… Freddy’s Nightmares… Not easy to get ahold of the full set, but it might be worth it. Anyway, I’ve always thought the movie would be better if they left Nancy out entirely. Quentin may have been a supporting character, but if you look at his story arc vs. Nancy’s, he actually comes off more “main characterey” than her. Basically, they shouldn’t have set out to remake it, and should have created an all-new NOES film that rebooted the franchise from the ground floor. Fans would have probably been a lot more willing to respect that, the same way many Trek fans have embraced New Trek.

  • Sofie Liv

    Great review! of a very very unnecesary re-boot.

    Why hollywood? why must you keep doing this? oh wait, for money, silly me.

    It’s a shame we don’t see you so often, but you always bring it :)

    • fearfanforever

       Thanks, Sofie! Always glad to make an appearance.

  • Dwlow812003

    the idea of freddy being an innocent man, killed for crimes he didnt commit, whose soul festered in hate and anger over being so horribly wrong, and let it all turn him into something even worse than the monster he was accused of being, is an intriguing idea, and could have made for an interesting twist on the elm street mythos. too bad this movie royally dropped the ball.  

  • Liam Barrett

    To be honest, I liked the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, although to be honest by the time that film was released the franchise was already totally in the gutter and ANYTHING would have been a step up. I have no desire to see this, although I like some of what it did in theory- I liked the much more serious Freddy compared to the fucking CLOWN he was by the time Freddy’s Dead rolled around, and at least they went with a good actor for the role (even if it was a poisoned chalice).

    What I didn’t like was how on the nose they apparently were with Kruger being a child molester. I liked how it was always IMPLIED in the original series, but never outright stated. Here, making it a definite part of his backstory takes away a lot of his mystique.

    • The_Stig

      Regarding Serious Freddy, even Englund’s Freddy Krueger wasn’t the stand-up comedian in the early films that he’d become later on, so that didn’t bother me about the remake. 

      Besides, it wouldn’t really fit for Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy to say stuff like “HEY! YOU FORGOT THE POWER GLOVE!”

    • Mike

      Yeah, there’s definitly something to be said for idea that what you have to imagine is scarier that what is outright stated. The Elm Street franchise may be unflinctingly R-rated horror, but it’s still within the realm of pop-horror escapism where that’s not made to be emotionally challenging. I find it to tends to ruins the mood for a plot to fall so heavaly on something so tramatic within this formate. It just feel like a bad fit. 
      Also, are we really supposed to believe that all these kids who were at same school were all molested by the same guy and NONE of them could remember this? Even with some of them still knowing each other at the same high school? I mean, come on! It bad enough to have such squick inducing scenrio without it depending on everyone being brainless about it!

    • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

      I’m with you in liking the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.  I didn’t like the dinner scene in the original, so I’m glad they omitted it,  And how fantastic was R Lee Ermey as the Sheriff?  I also liked Jessica Biel’s performance, she never came across as a , but also had to be able to win in the end.  Surreal to see John Larroquette in the opening monologue and narrator, I didn’t recognize him whatsoever from his days on Night Court.

      • fearfanforever

         Eh, I have mixed feelings on the TCM remake and its prequel, but that’s a story for another day.

        • Zorha

          After the ending of TCM:TB when the narrator went: “To this day, it is universally considered the most notorious and brutally sadistic killing spree in the annals of American history.”

          I wiped away a tear and called out to the movie screen: “God Bless America!”

          The guy I went to see it with was rolling in his seat. The others around us looked at me like I was crazy.

          This review, FearFan, is simply the best you’ve done. Creepy and well written, with just enough satire and comedic horror references to keep it lighthearted (Even ’em up boy!). I can’t wait till you give Pamela Voorhees the business! 

          • fearfanforever

             She’s a bit old for me to ‘give her the business’, but I’ll be sure to make fun of her quite a bit.

  • Thomas Stockel

    Aw yeah, the Headmaster of Horror returns.

    Great review, man.

    • fearfanforever

       Thanks Thomas! I also accept the titles of Sultan of Squick and Guru of Grand Guignol.

  • Tedzey71

    I might be in the minority of people who enjoyed this film, but that’s probably because the other nightmare movie I have seen was the original. I ended up seeing the remake weeks after seeing the first for the first time. My only major complaint was how obvious they made Freddy into a child molester. I know they refer to Freddy as a child murderer in the first movie, but I always figured it was implied. 

  • TheCrazyFish

    As always, Fearfan, love the review. I like how this movie took the time
    to flesh out Freddy’s motivations. Sure, all we really need from a
    horror movie badguy is “he’s an evil dream monster who kills people” but
    still, going the extra mile is always nice, right? The problem is it
    seems like they spent so much time making Freddy a more rounded
    character they didn’t get around to the OTHER characters…everyone else
    is kind of one-dimensional and poorly written, like you said.

    That said, again, great review. And I’m really looking forward to seeing you take on Friday the 13th!

  • CBob

    IMO the makeup actually does look quite creepy in a “Tyrolean Ice Man” sort of way. I think the real problem is it doesn’t mesh properly with the costume. They kinda tried to have it both ways: redesigning the makeup to look new and different, but keeping the costume the same as a brand recondition call-back to the original films, and this resulted in something that kinda sabotoged both those ends.
    On the one hand, Freddy’s face, his glove, and the fedora-and-striped-sweater combo are each iconic enough to communicate the character all by their respective selves. Changing the face but not the costume is jarring because the classic costume makes you subconsciously anticipate the classic face, so when the face looks different, the image as a whole train wrecks and loses it’s emotional impact.

    And on the other hand, I think the classic costume just combines better on a purely abstracts shapes-and-colors compositional level with Robert Englund’s wider, shorter, hook-featured head and frame. The new makeup design combines very well with Jackie Earl Haley’s tall, narrow features to create a kind of greasy, hollow, mummy-like grotesqueness, but more bulk-emphasizing classic costume clashes with that rather strongly. For me this results in a weird feeling of looking at two two different characters/bodies from the neck up and the neck down, kinda like the floating heads of the CGI clone troopers in the star Wars prequels.

    As heretical as it might be to some fans, I really think they should have let go of the iconic costume when they redesigned the makeup. The result might not have the nostalgia value of the original, but it would’ve stood a much better chance of actually matching the original in presence. I’d rather have a new Freddy that didn’t look at all like the original but was still visually strong in his own way than one that tried to look like the original and condemned himself to the original’s shadow as a result. 

    • Liam Barrett

      The problem with the new make-up I have is, I can see too much of the man behind it. It may look more realistic or whatever, but I can still see Jackie Earle Haley. Whereas the old make-up didn’t really look like burns at all, but I’d find myself completely forgetting I was looking at Robert Englund.

      • CBob

        An interesting comment, as I have the exact opposite reaction. To me Robert Englund’s features were always very visible through the Freddy Makeup, to the point whereas the actor and the character are practically synonymous. Wheres in the new film, I only get little glimpses of Jacky Earl Haley through the makeup.

        I’d guess that means they’re actually both objectively more or less equally visible, it just depends on who’s face you’re personally more familiar with or attuned to.

        And I don’t really see that as a bad thing anyway. A good actor is known my his/her ability to disappear into a role regardless of makeup, so it really shouldn’t matter if their features are still visible through that makeup. If, say, Gary Oldman can make himself look/feel like a completely different person despite having no more physical change than a haircut, then it doesn’t seem to me that the makeup should be to blame if a character doesn’t distinguish themself from the actor that plays them.

        ..That kinda makes me sound more critical of Jackie Earl Haley than is intended. I haven’t really seen enough of his stuff to get a handle on him as an actor, or to be able to see how well he can disappear into different roles.

        • CBob

          …And I’m now cringing at the number of typos in my post. That’s what I get for constantly trying to revise my wording as I’m typing, I guess.

        • Thomas Stockel

          The only two modern roles I know of are Rorschach from Watchmen (which I think he was awesome.  The man had to act through 90% behind a mask, meaning he had to rely on his voice and body language) and Guerrero in the Human Target series.  I liked Human Target, even after they screwed it up with the second season retooling.  I liked Guerrero, he was a fun character.

          • fearfanforever

             More recently, he was in Dark Shadows, but it was more of a minor role.

  • Bart_Fargo

    I don’t know which I’m looking forward to more: The Friday the 13th franchise or Fear Fan v. Boll.

    • fearfanforever

       We aim to please!

      • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

        Fear Fan I have a question for you: Do you have an opinion on the original Hitcher and it’s remake?  I loved the first movie and thought I’d hate the remake, but I actually found myself liking both, and Hitcher 2 as well.  I doubt anyone but myself would find the Hitcher a top 10 horror film, but I don’t think it gets the recognition it deserves for being truly terrifying.

        • fearfanforever

           As a matter of fact, I do! The original Hitcher is a fantastic horror film whose success rests solely upon two things- first, the sense of isolation that is imposed upon the main character, and two, the excellent performances from the entire cast. The original is doubtless the best of the three, and it mainly can be credited to Rutger Hauer’s performance. The film never explicitly states his motivations, but there’s enough subtext there for you to pretty much fill in his biography. I never really got into the remake though. It seemed like a lot of what made the original special was gone.

    • The_Stig

      Me, I wish he’d do the Friday the 13th series. I dig his series reviews. Not that I’m not looking forward to House of the Dead but there’s really nothing relevant left to say about Uwe Boll anymore. 

  • Garferty

    That was a genuine hoot. One of the best videos I’ve seen here in a while.

    • fearfanforever

       Always happy to please!

  • MichaelANovelli

    I was wondering when you were gonna turn back up!

  • Earthbound_X

    I have to say, you’re show has really improved. Admittedly I’ve only started watching a few days ago, but while I wasn’t really impressed with your first few eps, it’s really gotten better since then.

    You have a Twitter or something I can follow for video updates?

    • fearfanforever

       Yeah, you can find my show on Facebook, and I do have a Twitter account: Leslie Rice or TheFearFan should take you to me. Happy to have you aboard, and I’m glad you like the way the show’s turning out!

  • martin rosspaterson

    Very nice work as usual FearFan, glad to see your back in the Booth. 

    now unfortunately I have not seen this remake, I usually steer clear of them when I can help it and so I can’t comment on this episode other than it was very entertaining. 

    Although one thing I have to state is, you can’t deny that if they had gone in innocent route with the story in this remake it would have been a very interesting move. I mean it would lent fury and reason behind Jackies more bitter and angry portrayal. Turning the laughing trickster of nightmares into a vengeful spirit only out for payback after an undeserved and horrible death. 

    That would also open a whole new tangent for the rest of the series if they had kept it, I mean the anger of his unjust murder could easily drive the new Freddy onto madness beyond just wanting his revenge. Thus feeding him reason to go onto other movies that could stand up on their own merit instead of remaking the other old ones.

    Personally the idea of playing him as the tortured and mad spirit of rage, possible moving more into the ‘giggling’ Freddy we know and love over the course of some movies as his madness deepens. That just seems rather interesting to me, although I know Hollywood writing is not good enough to pull that off these days which is sad. 

    • fearfanforever

       Not a bad idea, and certainly better than what happened here.