A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Movie Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Movie Review
To sleep… perchance to scream.
Updated: 04-30-2010
Freddy Krueger embodies the horror of a recurring nightmare — literally. The villain of A Nightmare on Elm Street has been on the big screen before, beginning in 1984 with creator Wes Craven's version. Now it's time for the new kids on the block to take a stab at an old classic. Director Samuel Bayer makes his directorial debut with A Nightmare on Elm Street, and cast in the iconic role of Freddy Krueger is Academy Award nominated actor Jackie Earle Haley.
Krueger is an accused child-molester who was burned, torches-and-pitchforks-style, by the parents/vigilantes of a once-peaceful bedroom community. It seems the lowly preschool janitor wasn't missed by anyone after he met his demise in what was ruled a freak fire… Life went on as usual on Elm Street for a good, long spell.
But years later, when some of his now-teenage accusers begin to suffer horrible nightmares, it seems the bad guy is back with a vengeance. After high school student Dean (Kellan Lutz) inexplicably dies a violent and bloody death while apparently sleeping, his classmate Nancy (Rooney Mara) can't shake the strange feeling she had the last time she saw Dean: The jittery insomniac was in the diner where Nancy was working the late shift, and he was drinking coffee and popping pills in a desperate attempt to stay awake. Shortly after this encounter and Dean's death, Nancy begins to suffer dark dreams. And so, she learns, are others in her class. Whenever he closes his eyes, Jesse (Thomas Dekker) finds himself in a mysterious boiler room; Kris (Katie Cassidy) sees herself as a lost little girl in a slashed pinafore; and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) is obsessed with a shadowy figure who's got blades for fingers and wears a hat with a brim that melts his features into darkness.
As their numbers dwindle, survivors Nancy and Quentin are forced to confront the past they'd forgotten. They must face the unbelievable reality that Freddy Krueger has returned from his fiery final resting place and is hell-bent on killing them. The only way to stay alive, it seems, is to stay awake. But as the hours burn on, that becomes harder and harder to do — even when they're conscious, they're still prone to slip into "micro-naps" and fall prey to Krueger's wrath.
It's a pretty unique ghost story. More a dark fantasy than a mystery,  A Nightmare on Elm Street boasts a clever 'high-concept' through-line in that it plays on our primal fears while hitting home in the modern world: In spite of all our pharmaceuticals, technology and sophistication, we can't escape the reaper. The movie itself could be more suspenseful but it's gripping in its own way, especially during the nightmarish moments when Krueger is on the loose in the frazzled psyches of his victims.
The dream sequences aren't overly ostentatious, but Bayer's use of neon colors (mostly red and green, mirroring the striped sweater Krueger wears) contrasting with black shadow works well. A nod must be given to gifted DP Jeff Cutter. His visuals are more contained and restrained here than they were in last year's Orphan, but his command of the picture is admirable. Steve Jablonsky's score is strong.
While the film is rated R, it's more geared for a younger audience (thankfully sans needless nudity or gratuitous stupidity). The truly adult themes such as sex and death are merely touched on and only in service to the story — which is really about Freddy Krueger killing a whole bunch of teenagers! And that's fine.
As far as the acting goes, having an Oscar-nominated thesp in the fedora does raise the bar. Haley plays Krueger with rough-hewn menace, like a restless spirit who comes from a place of pain and anger. Cassidy is a standout as well; none of Freddy's victims are particularly sharply drawn, but Cassidy's inherent sparkle and sass helps make Kris worthy of concern. Gallner is playing "the emo kid" again, and Mara portrays Nancy perhaps too somnambulatory, but their acting skills cannot be faulted.
Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a slick, well-made, serviceable horror movie. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but there's a solid story with striking death scenes, and that should please the more pragmatic fans on both sides of the demographic.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson




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Latest User Comments:
the remake of nightmare on elm street
Honestly, I did not enjoy the remake that much at all they changed the story line a bit and they did not even have Robert England play Freddy. They made his character a little softer Freddy was never a molester he down right killed the kids and tortured I don't know remakes are never better and I think only Robert could play Freddy he is in all the other movies.
07-11-2013 by tiff_vicki_bride discuss