PLOT: A re-imagining of the classic horror film by the same name, telling the tale of Freddy Krueger (Haley) stalking teens in their dreams. There's no escape when they sleep, so they try to force themselves to stay awake and figure out a way to stop Freddy.
WHO'S IT FOR? Anyone who loves the series (yes, I'm talking about the other eight) will blindly and happily see this one. If you're looking forward to the franchise being re-invented in some sort of horror-drama, don't hold your breath.
EXPECTATIONS: Freddy Krueger is my slasher of choice (in theory). Yes, more than Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface. Freddy has a brain. I saw the preview, and was intrigued. I really liked seeing how Freddy dies.
Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger: The make-up is OK, the voice is OK. He's a little short, and squeezes in a surprising amount of one-liners. The problem is, I don't quite know what to make of this Freddy. Is he evil? Misunderstood? More than anything, I think he just might be mentally challenged. Yeah, that's right, I feel a little sorry for him. Thanks movie, I now have a tiny bit of sympathy for this killer. Score: 5
Kyle Gallner as Quentin Smith: Gallner gave a better performance in another horror film, The Haunting in Connecticut. He's the most aware character we're given. I needed more moments of him simply saying, "Crap, I feel asleep." Plus, when he doesn't over explain to his dad what the hell is going on, I lost a little respect for him. Score: 5
Rooney Mara as Nancy Holbrook: She doesn't fit in. You know, because she draws. Nancy eventually comes into focus and tries to fight back against Freddy. There's nothing wrong with the pair of Nancy and Quentin, though when she asks him to keep her awake in a moving car, it's a little surprising they don't roll down a window or turn on loud music. She asks him, his favorite color. Sigh. I'm getting sleepy, and not in the bad way. Score: 4
Katie Cassidy as Kris Fowles: Ouch. It really sucks that we are stuck watching this girl for the first part of the film. Unfortunately I was left worrying this was the main character (that didn't have a razor glove). She's a pretty blonde who falls asleep at her boyfriend's funeral? Yes, that's bad, but not as bad as the VW Beetle convertible she drives clearly stating she's the pretty, popular one. Score: 2
TALKING: I mentioned Freddy's one-liners right? Not the most clever things in the world. He's not the only one. The entire cast is stuck saying very obvious things like, "If you die in your dreams, you die in real life." This of course after numerous people have already died. The one line that does work from Freddy's lips is, "Why are you screaming? I haven't even cut you yet." Though I didn't care for the over-produced, loud voice they gave Freddy. Score: 4
SIGHTS: Special effects aren't scary. So, when Freddy pushes and stretches wallpaper, it's not nerve-racking. Same with him appearing in a mirror to go after a victim. Just removes you from the already unbelievable moment. Walking down a bloody hallway though, that's good stuff. I checked, and I can't figure out why there were some Portland references. Powell Books, the Hawthorne store ... and get this Elm St (there's one IN Portland). Anybody know why there were some Portland references? Score: 5
SOUNDS: You'll never guess what this horror film does. Oh wait, you've seen slasher movies before? So, every time Freddy is about to kill or scare we get big, pounding music during the scene. It repeats itself over and over. The dramatic music is even worse. Yes, dramatic music. They actually are attempting some drama. They just don't give it a real chance to survive. Score: 2
BEST SCENE: If we could only remove a swimsuit wearing Quentin from this moment, if only. Fred Krueger is trapped by the parents in the town in an old building. Flames are involved. You get the picture.
ENDING: Sigh. Isn't it OK to allow a horror movie to end without the gotcha moment? Wouldn't that be more of a gotcha at this point?
QUESTIONS: I'll only talk three ... 1) Why does Freddy want Quentin to see how he died? What purpose does this serve? He doesn't want sympathy. 2) Why does Nancy choose a nice relaxing bath to get clean when she's trying to desperately stay awake? I realize she must get clean, but a cold shower makes a little more sense. If you're playing this up for laughs, I could understand, but again the film is treating this subject seriously. 3) We have police video of one of Freddy's victims, right? Doesn't this kind of prove what the kids are saying?
REWATCHABILITY: No need. I do realize it's time to revisit the original though.
This one is my fault, but just a little bit. I normally don't watch previews. I did see this one though. I was really happy to see they expanded the story with showing how Fred Krueger died. Then I sat down to watch the movie and waited. The problem is, we all know who Freddy Krueger is. It doesn't even matter if you've never seen one of the nine versions, you're aware of his cinematic existence. So why not start with the new back story? It makes us think maybe there is more to this re-imagining, instead of squeezing it in 2/3rds of the way after the movie started. We're stuck with static teenage characters trying to figure out what's going on, parents who won't listen and everyone falling asleep. I wasn't creeped out to walk to my car in an almost isolated parking garage. Doesn't that alone mean this slasher movie failed? A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is my favorite concept (not application) of this franchise, because it actually tackles the idea of controlling dreams. Maybe we'll get that in the sequel. I can dream about it, right?
FINAL SCORE: 4/10