Thursday, April 20, 2017

More Like Green Screen on Elm Street, or Thoughts on the Nightmare on Elm Street Remake

Side Note: the full title of this movie and the 1984 original is “A” Nightmare on Elm Street, not “The Nightmare” or “Nightmare”, and to the filmmaker’s credit they kept the “A” in the 2010 remake featuring a new Freddy, a prettier cast and more digital effects than the entire budget of the original film ($1.8 million in 1984 dollars).  Much like the 2007 Halloween reboot, the 2010 Nightmare also featured a music video director making his big screen debut with Samuel Bayer, who directed Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) and The Cranberries’ Zombie (1994).
The premise and names remain the same; Jackie Earle Haley plays the new Freddie, alongside Clancy Brown, the Kurgen from Highlander (1986, there can be Only One) taking over John Saxon’s role (though he’s a high school principal now) and a bunch of the oldest looking photogenic teens in Hollywood including Katie Cassidy, Laurel Lance from Arrow as Kris and Rooney Mara, Kate’s sister and also the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) as Nancy Holbrook.  Connie Britton from American Horror Story: Murder House (2011) plays Nancy’s single mom, Gwen, along with Thomas Dekker from Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles as another one of those teens who could easily buy beer without getting carded.
The idea that you could die in real life if you died in your dreams has always been frightening; while a movie based on the parents where parents are actually responsible for their teenage kids’ misery has a certain irony to it.  The new Freddie makeup looks more like actual burn victim, and Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddie has far less personality than Robert Englund’s interpretation.  This may have been a directorial decision to distance themselves from the 80’s, but the character loses his sense of fun without gaining any discernible sense of menace or terror. 


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