"One, two ... another remake's coming for you. Three, four ... it made Morrow snore. Five, six ... it entertained Nick. Seven, eight ... filled Morrow with hate. Nine, ten ... Nick would see it again." Hello He's and She's, it's time for another episode of He Said - She Said ... and this time we slash it up with the new remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. In one corner we have Morrow "I'm Being Bored To Death!" McLaughlin, and in the other corner we have Nick "Wee!" Allen trying to figure out just how enjoyable a remake of a classic horror movie really is.
As always, we recommend that you see the movie before reading on, as spoilers and the like are totally in fair territory. Jeff Bayer gave the movie a 4/10, and you can read his review here. Game on!
Nick...I've been having these...dreams. Whenever I sleep, I find myself in a run-down, ruined theater sitting next to Bayer, watching the most boring slasher movie ever. And it's like I can't wake up and it's like Bayer is FORCING me to watch the most boring slasher movie ever and I'm afraid...afraid I might die. I mean, what if it bores me to death in my dream? When you get bored to death in a dream do you die in real life?...Ugh! It's happening again! Nick, hurry! Wake me up! WAKE ME UP! AAAGGGHH IT'S HAPPENING! I'M BEING BORED TO DEATH!!!
Wee! I just got out of the Friday morning showing of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and let me tell you, I had a giddy ol' time. I'll explain my appreciation for Freddy Krueger, because I'm sure that will probably boil your eggs and send you to my domicile with a machete or knife fingers ready to rip out my heart. First, I am a big fan of sleep, so the concept of protagonists that are forced to lose sleep because it means life or death is "terrifying" enough for me. Then, you've got the way in which this particular villain can access his victims - their dreams, which is a very clever technique. After all, everyone has dreams, so basically anyone could technically be at "stake," especially since (as we all know) dreaming is inescapable. And Freddy is not just designated to picking off Elm Street kids, as we see in later films from the early series (including a favorite of Calhoun and myself, A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors). Freddy's a slightly more intelligent take on Boogeyman horror, as Jason Voorhees and Mike Myers are more like The Incredibly Murderous Hulk. Especially when Englund was playing Freddy (he is so much better), the character had more charisma. I will talk more about Freddy (then and now) later.
Oops - I wrote my first paragraph before reading yours. I wanted to just get some thoughts out before reading what I expected to be very negative (though your first response was notably brief). Okay, so, "boring." This can be related to your impatience/distaste with slasher movies, or that you couldn't even be amused by this one. Interesting that it seems you didn't even take it for B-movie granted, which is how I enjoyed it. The lines were bad, but some were given some really hilarious delivery ("This is for my son!" a dad says, as he throws a flaming gasoline carton into the factory, but it sounded like he was falling off a cliff while saying it). The acting was bad, and there wasn't even a familiar face in the teen crowd to hook onto. However, I wouldn't say its boring. I dug the Psycho-like option of killing off the person you thought would be the "main character," and also the handful of instances where I couldn't tell truly what was really a dream or reality (which often didn't end with a murdering). I felt this one played up the "mirage" idea more than the earlier Freddy movies, and I think that worked. There were some neato editing tricks too, which can be explained if necessary.
I'm curious as to whether you're on the "aggresively frustrated" angle, as I'd say you felt about Friday the 13th, or if you weren't outraged enough by this movie and you'll get bored just talking about it. Either way, I recommend this remake to any of my fellow slasher-movie digging comrades, or any who understand the great moments in the subgenre but can appreciate the corny ones also. For them, I recommend this one enthusiastically.
Yikes. Dude, have you been drinking the kool-aide? You shouldn't, you know--it's toxic. You'd recommend this completely bland remake instead of the bad-ass original? What is wrong with you? I don't have finger knives on hand, but I may bonk you in the head with something blunt until you come to your freakin' senses. You only recommend the remake if it's an improvement and this CLEARLY isn't an improvement, it's just a regurgitation with (as you pointed out) a less flamboyant Freddy Krueger, a tepid cast of twenty-five year olds pretending to still be in high school, and an unforgivable amount of missed opportunities. So we had the chance to go into Freddy's background and his psyche, but we're given that schlock with Kyle Gallner shivering in his banana hammock? Good one, filmmakers! Way to shift attention away from the real focus to the lame-ass character acting as spectator.
My first response was short, because I was too bored by it to start it, but now you've got me all fired up. In fact, I may start hyperventilating. I can understand your appreciation for Freddy Krueger, because he's a total mutha-f*ckin' bad ass, but he is not done justice in this remake. I feel like you're just so happy you get to hang out with Freddy, that you're intentionally overlooking the boring stretches and terrible acting. And I can almost hear you're response: "Of course it's terrible acting! It's always terrible acting in slasher movies!" Okay, be that as it may, how are you entertained by hammy, bad actors pretending to be really, really tired? Sure it makes it more satisfying when they're finally killed off, but mostly because we don't have to listen to them struggling through their lines any longer.
I jumped once at the very beginning and sort of chuckled once at the very end, and any other laughter on my part was when Bayer and I were making fun of it Mystery Science Theater 3000 style. For example, as Bayer mentioned in his review: "Oh, gosh. I'm sooooo tired. I'm just sooo, sooooo tired. I have to somehow stay awake. I know! I'll take a hot bubble bath!" So dumb, I lost IQ points just revisiting that scene.
Yes, it's terrifying for Freddy to exist in his victim's dreams, but the remake doesn't hold a candle to the original. The only scene I really, really dug was when whats-her-face, weird artist girl, was running down the hallway and the floor morphed into blood. That was cool. Otherwise, snooze-fest.
Hold on there, crazy lady. I never said I would "recommend this completely bland remake instead of the bad-ass original." I never said anything like that, and I never would. In fact I thought the original Nightmare on Elm Street was on your hate-orade list, as per your Top 7, though I admit I haven't read that entirely yet (I don't want that to hinder my thoughts of this particular movie). I also just assumed you'd be putting down Freddy along with other slashers, but I am relieved you used the phrase "mutha-f*ckin' bad ass" to describe Freddy Krueger, because under Englund, he totally was. In fact, that version of Freddy even rapped in a song during the closing credits to some later movie, and he was still awesome in my book. That being said, I do recommend this remake, but in the same way I'd tell my "fellow slasher-movie digging comrades" to check out the less popular Freddy movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street V: The Dream Child. That one isn't perfect, it can be boring in parts, but it's a good time to "get to hang out with Freddy," as you say.
I think in certain movies, bad acting can be funny, especially when you pay attention to delivery and observe how low it can go. This is also the case for a movie like this, which looked solid aesthetically, and clearly the budget went into the look of it and clearly not the actors. Who was worse, the parents or the kids? It was a struggle for me, but either way, not one that offended my attention or focus on the movie.
The most disappointing aspect of the movie for me was Freddy himself. In fact, if he didn't have lines like "How's this for a wet dream?" towards the end, I might would have liked this movie as a whole a bit less, though still had some fun with some of its thrills. I like Jackie Earle Haley, but ... perhaps it's the make-up, or perhaps its the Rorschach voice ... it doesn't work. At first, I was confused as to why they had to change the idea of Freddy's burns from "scary and recognizable" with Englund to ... Haley's new look, which was that of a victim of UFO incest. Partly what was great about Englund's Freddy was that he still looked a bit like Englund, but as if he now were some demon ambassador who didn't wear sunscreen down in Hell. Also, as you put, "flamboyant" is a good word to describe the contrast between these two Freds. This new version of Freddy had little of the same self-amusing eerie-ness that Englund's had, (in fact, if I remember correctly, Englund's version smiled more often, which was cool and kinda f*cked up).
Okay. I'm glad I was wrong in assuming that you had lumped the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" and the classic Freddy with the new version. But, do you remember what made you jump in the beginning? Also, how hard did you laugh during the world's first death by blogging? And how did he find time to upload that video while being dead?
Okay, yeah...a guy is killed on the internet while documenting his sleep disturbances and that somehow doesn't go crazy viral....riiiiiiiggghhhht. You put a kitten on a skateboard and it gets a trillion hits in one day, but the guy getting killed by the phantom haunting his dreams...meh. I forgot how much that irritated me until you brought it back up! Thanks! It's a bit like you're baiting me at this point and I think it's too bad I'm so easily baited.
Of COURSE I think Freddy is a total bad ass. That's indisputable. And I issued a clear invitation to the original Nightmare on Elm Street to the horror party in my Top 7 Reasons Why Slasher Movies Suck--the original Nightmare doesn't fall into the "suck-fest" category, although it does violate a very few of my "rules" (dumb cops; idiot characters, etc.) A Nightmare on Elm Street was an incredibly original, terrifying concept and, if I may, a bit of a slasher breakthrough. Not only do I respect that, but I concur.
I can't let this turn into some sort of kumbiah drum circle, so I have to return to my original point that the remake is a boring, plodding disappointment.
And I jumped when the guy was wandering around the boiling pig heads at the very beginning. When Freddy unfurls his finger blades for the first time, I was expecting the "gotcha" to come from somewhere else, and I rocketed right out of my seat. Then Bayer pointed at me and laughed and I hunkered down and resolved not to let it happen again.
For your final point, please thoroughly explain why this sub-par remake doesn't irritate the hell out of you. If you're a fan of the original, I feel like this just a disrespectful, slopped together copy.
This new remake doesn't irritate the hell out of me because there was enough corn to keep me chewing on whatever the movie offered, or didn't offer. Yeah, Freddy was weak, but he had enough amusing lines, and enough watchable kills to satisfy me as a fan of the series and slasher movies in general. This one doesn't have a whole lot of replay value, but some of the earlier Freddy movies don't either. If this were a remake of the fifth Freddy movie, I wonder if people would be softer with it, instead of comparing it to what you call a true horror movie, the original. I wouldn't say this movie is "disrespectful," it's just kind of lame, especially when compared to great earlier moments.
I had the same reaction with this movie that I do with roller coasters - I usually had a grin on my face, or I might have giggled like a little girl. I think I quietly fist-pumped the air a few times. What can I say? I have fun with the "thrills" presented to me, phony or not. Whether I was laughing at or with the movie, I was occupied. I think liking the earlier Freddy movies (and even the Jason movies) has helped me attain that thrill. You accused me earlier of "being happy to hang with an old friend," or something like that. That's possible, to some extent. Maybe if I had watched an earlier Nightmare on Elm Street before watching this new one, I'd be slightly more outraged. But, at the same time, is it so wrong for me to enjoy seeing an old friend, after almost 13 years of him hiding away in my dreams?
Now, excuse me, I'm off to go listen to Dokken's "Dream Warriors" song on Youtube for the umpteenth time. Calhoun knows exactly what I'm talking about.