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Nine Days of Nightmares Day 9: A Nightmare in Elm Street (2010)

What's the movie?: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wait, didn't you already review this one?: This is the 2010 reboot of the series.

Who directed it?: Samuel Bayer

Who's in it?: Jackie Earl Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, and Kellan Lutz

No Robert Englund as Freddy?: I know. Apparently, the filmmakers decided to cast Jackie Earl Haley instead. Don't get me wrong. Robert Englund gave his blessing to Haley and if Englund says he's cool, then okay. If there is anyone to do the character any kind of justice, it's Haley. He proved he was a force to be reckoned with when he did a pitch perfect portrayal of Rorschach in 2009's Watchmen.  And honestly, after having seen the movie, Haley brings it.  He takes what little bits of humor that Freddy had in the past eight movies and makes the jokes really sinister and not really all that funny because he's really a demented and viciously evil character.  Haley is excellent as Krueger and absolutely the best part of the movie. 

With all that said, Englund will always be my Freddy.  He is what made the original movies so damn entertaining.  Haley takes the character to another level and gives the character a tortured existence which absolutely works. 

What's it about?:  Fred Krueger, a gardner at a preschool is accused of child molestation by a group of five year olds and is subsequently burned alive when the preschooler's parents decide to take justice into their own hands.  The end result is that Krueger is now back as a malevolent spirit determined to get vengeance on those who wronged him, namely the children.  And what better way than through their dreams where he is able to make it look like suicide. 

What's good?:  As I said, before, Jackie Earl Haley is amazing as Freddy Krueger.  He brings a certain anger that Englund's Freddy never brought.  Also, the two high school kid leads Rooney Mara and Kyle Gallner are quite good.  The kills are decent.  That first pre title kill at the diner is amazingly well done.  Some of the kills from the original are replicated but in slightly different ways.  The floating to the ceiling kill is quite nasty and brutal but nowhere near as graphic or disturbing as that of the original's.  There is one part in particular that is a nice homage to the Johnny Depp getting sucked into his bed death from the first one but done in a really neat way that I particularly enjoyed.  The concept that when your body dies your brain stays functioning for another seven minutes so that Freddy can torture some more is a neat one but it is only explained and touched on in one brief moment of the movie.  And no, the humor of Clancy Brown (who is the voice of Lex Luthor in the Superman cartoons) playing the father of Kyle Gallner (who plays Kid Flash in Smallville) is not lost on me.  Also the fact that Lex Luthor torched Rorschach is quite amusing to me as well.  

The story does touch on an aspect of the originals that was very lightly touched on as it explores the idea that Krueger might be innocent despite the allegations of the children is a nice touch too.  It helps breed a certain sympathetic nature to the character that we never got with Englund's Freddy.

What's not so good?:  The movie has its low points as well.  I think the fact that the movie doesn;t make you give a crap about any of these characters that are being stalked by Freddy is the big sticking point for me.  In the original, you cared about the plight of Nancy, Glen, Rod, and Tina because the actors made you really care for these characters.  In this one, you don't even care for Nancy.  The acting from everybody else other than who I mentioned above is atrocious.  Just awful.  Also, when you are casting teenage characters, does it hurt to actually cast teenagers instead of twentysomething year old actors who clearly got out of high school more than five years ago? Oh and the CG Freddy poking out of the wall to stalk Nancy? No.  The original worked because it was a physical trick that was effectively creepy and real.  It looked real because it was Robert Englund pressing into some material to make it look like Freddy was coming out of the wall.  This CG version not only looks fake, it looks sloppy.
How does it hold up to the original?: It doesn't even hold a candle.  Here is my biggest issue of them all.  I don't hate this movie at all.  I don't love it.  It was simply meh.  Which is what really cheeses me off the most because I went in expecting to love it or hate it and the entire experience except for a few high points.  If Michael Bay and the other guys at Platinum Dunes want to continue strip mining some of the most beloved classic of horror from the 80's, then they need to understand that messing with the formula that made these movies so successful is not the way to go.  Nightmare on Elm Street is a perfect example of that.  I found the movie to be a series of moments.  Some good, some bad, nothing great or particularly mind blowing.  There were some parts that I really liked but they were so quick that the follow through was just really kind of vanilla plain. Oh, and if messing with formula is what they want to do with the series, then how about instead of stalking teenagers who already have more than enough angst in their lives, Freddy stalks the parents?  That would be something I would love to see.  The parents of these kids finally coming to the realization that their kids weren't simply having repressed memories of some crap like that.  That would be something interesting to see because we hav eseen how teenagers fare against him, how about the adults? Just saying.  And boo to Platinum Dunes for canning the sequel to the one good movie that has come out of their stable with Friday the 13th.  It was the most successful movie that they have had to date and then they can it for whatever reason.  Boo on you Michael Bay, boo on you.       

Final Verdict?:  3 razor gloves out of 5.

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