Friday, April 30, 2010


    In 1984, director Wes Craven brought to horror movies one of the most popular icons of the 1980's slasher genre to life with "A Nightmare on Elm Street" featuring the infamous sweater and fedora wearing, clawed villain Freddy Krueger! Spanning 7 (and a 1/2? i.e. "Freddy Vs. Jason"(2003) films, Freddy has been returning time and time again to haunt the dreams of helpless teenagers for years. Now, as horror/slasher films get a 21st century reboot with remakes like 2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", Rob Zombie's "Halloween" (2007) and 2009's "Friday the 13th", Freddy gets a CGI makeover alongside his companions Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface! Directed by music video director Samuel Bayer 2010's remake of "Nightmare..." stars Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach in "Watchmen" (2009) as the new Freddy Krueger! With an all new teenage cast of victims like Thomas Dekker ("Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles"), Kyle Gallner and Rooney Mara, the new "Nightmare..." hopes to keep a whole new generation of teenagers from falling asleep but sadly remains a mediocre version with one unique twist which brings a little more reality to the otherwise dream-like atmosphere. Unlike most new horror/slasher films which seem more realistic, "Nightmare..." is still grounded heavily in the supernatural/dreamworld of its predecessors. There is almost nothing new to the Freddy mythology except for a more believable origin story and deeper character whereas the original Freddy was simply an evil child-killer, the new Freddy is almost sympathetic, but in the end, he is nothing more than a pedophile with a fetish! The new Freddy is not so much after ALL the children on Elm Street, but rather only a select group of children from his past. I don't mean to spoil it, but the death of Freddy still comes at the ends of those disgruntled parents who seek justice in their own hands. One of which just happens to be Clancy Brown, who played The Kurgan in "Highlander" (1986) whose character name in coincidentally was Victor Kruger)! The latest "Nightmare..." is an entertaining and decent scare, but has almost none of the campy humor of the older films which made them fun to begin with. Whereas this version takes itself almost too seriously in bringing a monster who kills teenagers in their dreams believable. Kudos for effort and for Jackie Earle Haley's performance, but this "Nightmare..." remains just another cheap scare among the slew of remakes that keep trying to recapture the essence of those original movies that many of us grew up with the love of being scared and hiding under the covers repeating "It's only a movie!..."