Thursday, March 14, 2013

One... Two... You Know the Rest.

In my continuing defense of remakes, I feel I must address the 2010 remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street.

Because I liked it.  Probably more than it deserved.

Just a quick recap of the story, kids have killer dreams about murderous, knife-glove wielding child molester who is seeking revenge on the parents of said kids who torched him in a boiler room for... y'know... molesting their kids.  Kids are dropping like flies in their sleep (although it really doesn't look like they just passed on quietly considering the gaping wounds and all) because if you die in your sleep, you die for real and it's up to Nancy to stop the Kentucky Fried Fiend.  It's the circle of supernatural death!  WOOHOO!  Somebody needs to get National Geographic on this, y'all!

NOTE!  This is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a reduction of the value of the original because Wes Craven is a fucking master and Robert Englund will ALWAYS be Freddy Krueger. 

That said, a whole lot of people absolutely hated this movie.  Personally, I'm blaming it on that cultural zeitgeist called "I hate remakes".  I really don't think people sat and judged this on its merits because, other than the MTV quick-cut editing, this was a great movie. 

SCREEEEEEE!!! Take that, assholes.

For one, as I always say they should, Samuel Bayer DID treat the original series with respect.  Even though he most definitely went darker and edgier with it, he left in enough humor to make it bearable.  They didn't want Krueger to be all wise-cracking and goofy and I appreciate that.  Seriously, Freddy got to be a bad joke by the end of Englund's run.  Frankly, I think they could have left out a lot of the background stuff and given us better chases but I get what they were trying to do.  They did make the punishment of Krueger AND the burn-scar makeup more realistic, though, and that was kind of awesome in and of itself.

Next, the acting in the remake is TONS better than the original.  Sorry, Wes, but you were still very much in the throes of "the same diction coach" period of leading ladies when you cast Heather Langenkamp (who was amazing but still felt stiff).  Rooney Mara, in comparison, is an Oscar™ winner (in this role... we know she was a nominee for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Yep.  She sleeps gooooood.
Also?  I'm sorry but Jackie Earle Haley was FUCKING PERFECTION as Fred Krueger.  The man has this creepy short-eyes vibe to him in real life that translated note-for-note and the rage that he pulled out as the vengeful Krueger was chilling.  I didn't NEED jokes.  I wanted to be scared and Haley's electronically deepened voice did the trick.  

The movie really did play to the fans by giving us moments that we recall from the original, though.  The wall scene (above), the gooey hallway/stairs and the bathtub scene in particular.

And, apparently, we've found Rooney Mara's "good side".

On top of that, there are little trivia bits through the whole movie, right down to the character's names.  Nancy and Freddy are obviously the call-backs from the original but Jesse is from Freddy's Revenge and Kris is from Dream Warriors and Dream Master. 

It's all of these little bits and pieces that make this a fun flick for me.  
You don't have to agree with me.  I'm fully aware that this is a derivative work.  I just don't think it deserves the low opinion people hold of it.


  1. I didn't hate it. It had some merit. I also think people forget the cheese factor in the original, which I loved as much as anyone, but dayum, holy synthesizer.

    I get why people did hate it, though; they hated it because it messed with their memories of the original, and had less humor, which was always a staple of the series.

    1. BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!! Synthesizer...

      And that's what bugs people about ANY remake but, seriously? If I can divorce League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from the source material and enjoy it on its own merits, the rest of the country can do the same. ;0-)

    2. Haw, I don't disagree. People just have a hard time with it. People tend to lionize the things they loved in their childhoods; if we could stop them doing that, we'd be ahead of the game.

      Or maybe we just need to curtail the remakes. For every decent one, it seems as though there are 20 bad ones. I'm just hoping Evil Dead doesn't become one of the latter.

    3. That's about the same ratio as horror movies in general, really...

      And Evil Dead had better kick as much ass as they say it does. Otherwise: GAY RAGE!