Release Date: May 7th, 2010
Running Time: 95 minutes
Director: Samuel Bayer
Cast: Cast: Clancy Brown, Connie Britton, Jackie Earle Haley, Katie Cassidy, Kellan Lutz, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Thomas Dekker
I’m what you would call a die-hard Nightmare on Elm Street fan, a ‘Fred Head’ as referred to on the newly released documentary Never Sleep Again, so it was always going to be a hard task for Platinum Dunes to satisfy me with their re-imagining of this horror classic.
While Wes Craven’s 1984 version introduced us to a child killer who stalks the dreams of the children of the people who hunted him down and burnt him alive, Samuel Bayer’s updated version takes us into new territory. Freddy this time round is played by Academy Award® nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Little Children) and he’s much, much more vengeful and terrifying as a paedophile who is now hunting down the children of Elm Street who told on him.
Gone are the wisecracks and visual gags which littered many of the later movies. What we see now is a killer whose face is burnt and rotting away and whose bladed glove is as ferocious as the hand that wields it. Freddy is now fully intent on revenge and as he makes his way one by one through the teenagers who once attended the pre-school where he worked, he’s saving his most savage attack for the one who became his favourite.
While Bayer’s new Nightmare might be a slick and polished affair, fans of the original series have been leaving a trail of scalding reviews on forums and blogs across the internet to vent their dismay and anger that the re-imagining is nothing like the original, Haley is not Englund and the new Nancy is too different from Heather Langenkamp’s fresh faced and cheerful heroine we first encountered in ‘84. Given that the makers are trying to tell a different story with their remake I found Nightmare 2010 to be an exhilarating experience filled with suspense and backed by a musical score which both pays homage to elements from the original series and adds new depth with its lush, sweeping arrangements written by composer Steve Jablonsky, famous for his work on the Transformers movies; Friday The 13th and Desperate Housewives.
The movie’s strong points all lie with what new elements it was able to bring to the story. Freddy, having changed from a local kidnapper/killer is now even more terrifying as a seemingly charming man who worked at a preschool as a gardener. At his polar opposite is Nancy; we meet her as a cold, distant and guarded teenage girl with a creative side she uses to deal with her nightmares. As a viewer, I am absolutely pulled in by her performance in this movie. We see her change and adapt to her situation but we also see her humanity and her struggle as she comes to terms with a past she had been forced to forget. It’s the beginning of a new Nancy and I hope very much to see how her story continues if there is to be a sequel.
The moral centre of the movie is still there; being of course that all actions have consequences, even when you take the law into your own hands with vigilante justice. This is tied in with the idea of repressed feelings and memories and that eventually everything will come rushing back to the surface no matter how far down you bury it.
One thing which I found quite striking about the movie was that for the first time we get a sense that the parents didn’t mean to kill him, only to flush him out. Still, had it not been for angry mob mentality, would the children of Elm Street have endured? Given that they had already suffered at the hands of Kruger? Or were their fates sealed from the moment he caught a glimpse of them in the playground, or even further back, when the town welcomed him. Platinum Dunes’ remake might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely a movie which left me satisfied and hungry for more at the same time.
The movie also leaves you with a lot of questions, not just about the amount of scenes missing from the original trailers, but also about justice, society, morality, innocence and repression and that’s a lot more than you usually get from many movies.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .