It's 1984, a new studio has the guts to make a movie called A Nightmare on Elm Street from writer/director Wes Craven for under $2 million. The movie is bloody, scary and insanely popular. It goes on to earn over $25 million, which in 1984 was a good bit of money, produce a series of sequels, a TV show and start a major movie studio. The movie followed in line as other cheap horror films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, but this one was different. The monster in this was not a lumbering, silent killer with no personality. We were introduced to Freddy Krueger who talked, cracked jokes, was sadistic and sexual and, in my opinion, was the reason why the 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street was a cut (no pun intended) above the rest. Fast forward to 2010, and Michael Bay's production company continues their rampage and raping of all the beloved horror movies from the past that they fatten up and throw out to slaughter for quick cash. Some of these remakes have been good (The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and the rest have been absolutely awful. The remake of Nightmare on Elm Street falls in the latter catagory. I have to admit that I was pretty excited for this. Even though the original has a special place in my heart, when I heard that Oscar-nominated and incredible actor Jackie Earl Haley (Watchmen, Shutter Island) would be playing Freddy, I couldn't have pictured anyone better for the part...and yes that includes the original Freddy, Robert Englund. I thought that Haley would bring the viciousness the character deserved and leave the one-liners at the door. Boy, I was I wrong. I feel like he tried but it wasn't good enough. The script for this film couldn't have been worse and when you have a cast of no-name actors who were hired solely on their looks read such horrible dribble, you're really just pouring salt on a wound. I can only imagine that such a horrific oversight could be made by a director who's only experience behind a camera comes from music videos, which is exactly what they had in director Samuel Bayer. Everything about this movie was pathetic and lame. The lazy acting, the bloated production budget, the miserable script and even the makeup effects were terrible. I know they wanted to give Freddy a more "burn victim" look, but he literally looks like he's wearing a rubber mask. Some of the scenes that amazed and shocked audiences in the original, such as the infamous body-flying-around-the-room scene, is disappointing and downright awful. I want to make it very clear that I'm not saying this because I'm a snob about remakes. I'm not against them and have seen some that I enjoyed more than the orginal, such as Rob Zombie's Halloween. I think that if you have something different to bring to the table and can show me the same story but still make my eyes pop, you've really impressed me then. Furthermore, I even went back and watched my copy of the original Nightmare when I got home to make sure I wasn't falsely remembering how good it was. Sure, it's campy, but that's why it was so great. It was really scary and this remake isn't. It's full-on proof that throwing money at it and passing it off to a group of people who don't know or worse, care, what they're doing results in a giant pile of suck. The only thing that they finally got right about this remake is the title...it truly is a nightmare.
Nightmare on Elm Street (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: F Click below to hear an interview with star of Nightmare on Elm Street, Thomas Dekker.Thomas Dekker 4-30-10