After the Friday the 13th remake hit the screen in 2009, you just knew a Freddy remake was coming. Lucky for this film, it came after Rob Zombie trashed the Halloween franchise with his two remakes, but not so lucky for this film is the fact that the Friday the 13th remake was incredible. If you’ve seen the first Elm Street installment (or any, really), you know the deal. Freddy Krueger, a child molester and murderer, was killed by the residents of Springwood (Beauty and the Beast torches style) years ago. Freddy now haunts the nightmares of Springwood teens, using their fear to fuel him. They may think they’re dreaming, but the injuries and deaths they incur in Freddy’s nightmares stick in the real world, leaving a slew of dead teenagers in Springwood. This remake sticks with the original plot, for the most part, which is a relief. It just adds in a new set of subpar actors as the teens, a new Freddy actor and a whole lot of CGI. I honestly wish I liked this film more; I wanted to love it so badly. Unfortunately, the replacement of Robert Englund with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy bugged me, as well as the new appearance of Freddy. Most importantly though, this film focused all of its time and energy on Freddy’s backstory and not Freddy’s current antics. This resulted in a less than fun plot and a huge lack of creative Freddy deaths. Ultimately, I was more annoyed than scared and I definitely wasn’t having any fun.
I realize Robert Englund is no spring chicken, but his costume and makeup don’t exactly show his age. Englund is an institution. He’s played Freddy in ever film and even the TV series. I hated not seeing him as the razor-sharp villain in this remake. I’m not a huge fan of Haley and I hated Watchmen, so his appearance in this movie bugged me. Plus, I didn’t love the changes to Freddy’s costume. The filmmakers aimed for a more realistic burned face and they got it, but I didn’t love it. It’s tough to see a character’s appearance change after decades of it looking the same. Call it irrational or silly, but I wanted Freddy to look just as he had in previous films.
On to the next. In one of my previous reviews, I discussed my naivety regarding Freddy’s molesting past. In most of the films (all but one and this remake), Freddy is simply a child murderer. He survives on the souls of the children he kills. There is a quick reference to the fact that he was a child molester before the townspeople killed him, but that was it. Maybe I should have always known what he truly was, but it wasn’t necessary. In my opinion, Freddy is one of the more “fun” villains. I mean, he is part of the campy horror genre, after all. His nightmares and killing methods are outrageous and fun to watch, never sinister. This franchise isn’t that kind of franchise. This remake focused mostly, if not only, on Freddy’s past as a human. More specifically, it focused on him being a child molester. Much time was spent on this subplot and it became quite graphic in the end. In another film, this could be appropriate, but not this one. Nothing sucks the fun out of a campy horror film like a heavy child molester story line.
While Freddy the child molester story was certainly a downer, the major issue with this film is it doesn’t do justice for Freddy. Gone are the epic deaths involving complex nightmares and creative killings. Practically every character in this film was killed in the same way and I was bored. Freddy has always kept it fresh, a trait neither Jason nor Michael have. I look forward to the new and inventive nightmares and deaths and this film had none of those.
While A Nightmare on Elm Street attempted to pay tribute to its original, it fell way, way short. It tried to recreate a film that was both inventive and frightening. The result is a movie lacking any creativity and possessing new qualities that are scary only in the fact that they’re such a bad decision. This film put the nail in the coffin on the Freddy franchise, and not in a good way. Fear not, though, Freddy can still walk tall. His franchise is incredible and even this terrible remake outpaces Rob Zombie’s Halloween by miles.
If you liked A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), you might also like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th.