- on Saturday, 08 May 2010 19:34
- by Loron Hays
I know you are curious and nothing else I say about the film will probably matter so, I'll just cut to the chase. It can't be done, folks. It just can't; the reinvention of one Freddy Krueger just won't be permitted. Not hidden behind a mask or stone silent during his screen-time domination of teenagers (unlike Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers), Krueger has personality. He is the anti-hero; the one you get to root for and playing him straight - with the present material never completely gets off the ground. This is one horror film remake, reboot, reimagining, re-whatever you want to call it that, plain and simple, just doesn't work. With no sense of humor and no genuinely scary moment in its entire body, Samuel Bayer's directorial debut of A Nightmare on Elm Street simply without sentiment - falls flat.
The hollow screenplay, â"written" by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisser, copies that of the original script almost perfectly - except with less charm and humor and inherent ingenuity. It also is void of any real terror; nothing original â"pops" out of this mess and, repeating the same bathtub and wallpaper kills (the original looks much better, by the way) from the 1984 film, is a tiresome affair. The teenage dialogue is simply empty space and even Krueger's wicked tongue seems like it's a mouthful of gibberish; somehow they've managed to make Haley's Krueger not scary at all. In fact, the only parts of the script that give the impression of satisfied thoughtfulness are scenes that involve the use of modern conveniences like Red Bull, video blogs, and cell phones. This is lazy and cheap, cheap, cheap (and, again, CHEAP) writing and a really awful way to supposedly restart a franchise.
Samuel Bayer, a veteran of music television production, has a knack for the surreal and creates an imaginative palette of colors and dreamscapes for Krueger to kill and kick about in, but as a total affair the film is grossly mishandled and never becomes horror-type exciting until the final act... and, by then, it's simply too late to save Elm Street from itself. The film isn't consistently maligned, but it is grossly uninvolving and vacant. Bayer's treatment of Wes Craven's source material leaves the 1984 original in spite of its low production as an untouchable classic of horror mythos; given its flaws, I would much rather settle in with that one.
Critical darling and certainly every fans' choice to play Krueger, Jackie Earle Haley while being a fine, fine actor is merely adequate in the role. Even though Haley plays it straight and deadly, he does not make Krueger his own. He kills without a prayer of purpose and he talks too much to remain as serious as he is playing it. Yes, it might work in fresher arenas, but we already know Kruger's style and emoting through an argument ain't it. The script, by rehashing the original's lines and kill scenes as heavily as it does, certainly doesn't help erase the memory of the wise-cracking Robert Englund either. The performances here, much to my great sorrow, simply come off as redundant and completely unnecessary. This is throwaway-make-a-buck-opening-weekend-off-the-teenagers-and-forget-all-about-it moviemaking; there's no legacy New Line and Michael Bay are protecting with this film; no fan base they are honoring either. It's just another dollar to them and it's so utterly obvious with the lack of inspiration with the script; if you didn't like the remake of Friday the 13th, then you will hate this.
Weakly scripted and empty of any soul, it is my opinion that critics and fans alike, by whole-heartedly decrying the totality of this film, are doing Haley an honorable service; he's too good of an actor to continue as Krueger in a never-ending cycle of horrific sequels - especially if this feature is the starting point. Most certainly, his involvement if there are any more sequels will kill his resurging career.
Available on Blu-ray - October 5, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; BD-Live
You get the blu ray, DVD/digital copy combo disc, and a shiny lenticular slipcase to go with your shiny remake. It’s a modest set of extras that is on the good side of passable. Very brief featurettes that are all but replicated in Warner’s new gimmick: Maniacal Movie Mode; a picture in picture documentary that runs over the film as it plays. It’s informative enough and doesn’t have too many sparse moments.
The picture is actually a little soft for the blu ray in parts. There are rapidly shifting tones and colours throughout that are represented vividly; blacks are solid, shadows detailed; human tones are not realistic, but I wouldn’t think in a movie like this that is what they were going for.
The sound is top notch, and will certainly give granny a heart attack, should you place her near the rears. A good jumpy track that probably makes this film a better experience than it should be.
- WB Maniacal Movie Mode - chronicles the making of the movie through a picture-in-picture window.
Focus Points (1080p):
- Makeup Makes the Character (3:34)
- Micronaps (2:38), The Hat (2:31)
- Practical Fire (2:32)
- The Sweater (2:20)
- The Glove (2:24)
- The Victims (3:51)
Freddy Krueger Reborn (1080p, 13:54)
- Alternate opening (1080p, 1:11)
- Deleted scene (1080p, 0:58)
- Alternate ending (1080p, 6:12)
Disc 2 features both DVD and digital copies of the film