- on Monday, 18 October 2010 16:33
- by Christopher Symonds
Let’s get this out of the way: remakes are an unholy epidemic nowadays, where producers spend more time on their bullshit spin as to why they’re redoing some classic than they do trying to make it a worthwhile experience.
Pretty soon, there will be no horror classic that hasn’t been given the Hollywood Xerox. Understandably, a lot of critics, and even regular film-going folk (to which I include myself), have just about had their fill. It’s really ridiculous and even sad to see the release schedules from the studios these days—it’s almost all remakes or sequels.
Not to let any 80s horror icon feel left out, Platinum Dunes aimed their redo button at one of the most beloved horror characters conceived in the last century: Wes Craven’s Freddy Krueger. With a new actor in the role (Oscar nominee Jackie Earl Haley) and a not-so-fresh spin on how they’re going to freshen things up for a new generation, the Elm Street clone hit cinemas to a collective groan and a big-assed target on its head for vitriol.
Was the malice unjustified?
Taking its cues directly from the Craven-directed original, Elm Street 2010 tells the story of a demonic apparition that terrorizes teenagers in their dreams. What happens to them in the dream world transfers to the real: if you’re cut or burned, you wake with the ouchie. So obviously these kids are overdosing on caffeine and anything they can get their hands on to stay awake. Just as in the original, the remake kids slowly discover the origins of their tormentor, and, as he picks them off one by one, the few remaining fight to find a way to defeat him and return to their slumber safe and sound.
The writers of this film seem to think that five minutes worth of sleep research online, and a strong effort to not shy away from the molestation element of the villain, makes a suitable justification to call this a fresh approach. It isn’t. While the narrative, and order of scenes replicated from Craven’s, have been jumbled about a little, and the characters have been modernized and given two-seconds each to announce “this is how we’re different to Model A”, this is a straight down the line copy. To the writers’ credit, this reviewer found the wafer thin motivations of the new characters more credible than their progenitors—but they are still wafer thin and you really don’t give a shit when they die.
Jackie Earl Haley was a very good choice. I imagine any actor stepping into Robert Englund’s shoes would be as terrified as George Lazenby should have been stepping into Sean Connery’s back in the day. Now the producers, and Haley, speak of their intent to return Freddy to the terrifying menace of the original Nightmare, avoiding the satanic jokester of latter instalments... well, they must have lapsed from time to time, because Haley’s Krueger does indeed attempt a few one-liners, and they are the only things that detract from his interpretation. For 99% of the time, he makes the character his own, and he is the one above par element in this latest re-whatever in the production line.
The production design does what every Platinum Dunes’ remake does: puts a shiny new coat of paint on a weather worn story. It looks great. Also a terrific improvement (when they used it wisely) is the CGI effects over the original. I say when they use it wisely because in the one hand you have a sequence in a pharmacy that intermittently shifts to Freddy’s boiler room and back again as our heroine tries to escape him (awesome!), and then you have a CGI abortion of a scene that tries to one up Craven’s awesome Freddy in the wall sequence from the original (TOTAL shit!).
The score goes its own way, all but ignoring the original with a few exceptions. It’s not bad, but nothing too spectacular. Sound design follows the jump-scare template most modern offerings deliver.
Nightmare 2010 has been given a critical whipping and many bemoan its creation. But, you know what folks? Remakes, including this one, are making the studios money. They’re here to stay. This film is not nearly as bad as many have made it out to be: it does, after all, copiously riff on Craven’s mastery (and disgustingly without his input, so the man tells us). However, being that it doesn’t make itself its own beast, and is about the four-hundredth remake of the year, it was always going to cop some flak. I’ve heard ‘it’s the worst remake ever’ to ‘I love it!’ This reviewer says it’s somewhere in the middle: A well made, completely unoriginal tale that only succeeds in putting a shiny new cover on an already loved offering.
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