ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Nightmare on Elm Street remake (2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Samuel Bayer

Starring:
Jackie Earle Haley/Freddy Krueger
Rooney Mara/Nancy
Katie Cassidy/Kris
Thomas Dekker/Jesse
PLOT-CRUNCH
A bunch of one-note teens start dying in their dreams, hoffed by some striped sweater wearing, fedora hat whoring, finger knives flickering duder. You may have heard of him, his mug used to be on lunch-boxes in the 80's, his name is Freddy Krueger (Haley).
THE LOWDOWN
All right, first things fucking first, here's where I'm coming from with this one: I grew up with the original Nightmare Elm Street and still think to this day that it is one of the more innovative, unsettling and freaky horror films of the 80's. I drank and slept Krueger man as I practically f*cking lived on Elm Street. And as far as Platinum Dunes reboots go, hey if it were up to me there would be ZERO remakes of films that don't need it...period. But hey they're here, so I gotta take it and make the best of it. I managed to enjoy the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, thought Amytiville Horror and Friday the 13Th were "okay" and that The Hitcher sucked major, hack ass. So how did the Elm Street remake fare? Somewhere in between Friday the 13Th and Hitcher. Let me sing ya a song.

"One two, who screwed the pooch?"

Talk about starting on the wrong stab. The first 40 minutes of this film did it all wrong. It shoved Freddy in our faces right off the bat, in full light, with no build up as to his arrival, it then plotted along at a slow ass pace while the evolution of the story was choppy to say the least. What happened to basic storytelling skills for f*cks sakes? It was embarrassing. I guess that's what happens when you work off countless script drafts of one story and play cut and paste. Moreover, now that I think of it, the original Elm Street worked cause there was an intimacy about the proceedings - this remake was too broad and all over the place hence less involving. Somebody should have hired the right editor(s) to get this ride flowing smoother than whore ass, cause whomever cut this wasn't it. AT ALL!

"Three four, we got banged on all fours."

Where was the tension in this film and the genuine scares? NOT HERE! And no, solely relying on f*cking cheap ass boo jolts every five-seconds does not equal frightening, just amateurish and pathetic attempt at jazzing the viewer. And why the hell were all of the key scenes from the original so rushed. The flying in the air kill, the bathtub scene, the body-bag bit... there was no momentum there and no follow through... shit just happened and then dropped quicker than a lousy lay at a Frat party, as if the filmmakers wanted the goods out of the way to go back to their "cough, cough" storyline. They got the horror (or lack of) all wrong on this one.

"Five six, somebody beat the cast with a stick!"

To keep them awake! Apart from the on the ball Katie Cassidy (who's character should've been Nancy, she had "it"), Rooney Mara (who's morose turn grew on me as the clock wasted on) and the oh so likeable Kyle Gallne (my only 100% human anchor to the film), the bulk of the actors looked like they were on prozac, echoing the initial bland pacing of the film with their dull performances. To be fair, it's not like the script fleshed the characters out beyond their names and gave them much to do other than tremble and die - so I can't really blame the performers on hand...but still... the film is called Nightmare on Elm Street, not nap-time on Elm Street... WAKE UP

"Seven, eight, I didn't take the bait."

Jackie Earle Haley was an ideal choice to play Freddy. He looked the part, I enjoyed the quasi Southern sounding drawl he sported when he spoke, he had some groovy one-liners, gnarly mannerism (flickering of finger knives) and the makeup worked for me most of the time. But he was at times mishandled. Freddy in the original was somebody you'd run away from, scared witless, Freddy here was somebody that was just begging for a left hook to the face. It was like the filmmakers didn't know which Freddy they wanted - the one circa Part 1 or the jokey one from part 3 and beyond, so they tried to do both. Freddy in the original WAS the Boogeyman, Freddy here was almost like a standard slasher mook with a toasted face and a couple of cool quips up his sleeve.

"Nine, ten, should they tackle Fred again?"

On the upside, the flick looked amazing with candy cinematography, some potent slow motion stuff and slick angles. Some of the set pieces wowed me now and again no doubt. The audio at hand was also sweet death to my ears, with a badass retake of Charles Bernstein's score from the original and a visceral sound design. I also relished some of the new ideas they brought to the game (the micro naps thing was cool but at the same time somewhat of a storytelling cop out, but I let it go) and some of the crazy turns the last act took KICKED MY ASS. A note on the last block; it was the more efficient and exciting section of the film, I was having a hoot and nailing a nanny, so at least I left the theatre feeling groovy and ready to rumble.

The new rendition of Freddy's back-story and the mystery that came with it (I particularly dug how the token Elm Street "little girl" fit into all of it) hit home as well. Jackie Earle Haley shined in them flashback scenes (I felt for the dude) and the flick did a much better job at conveying Freddy's roots than Freddy's Dead The Final nightmare did that's for damn sure. And big props for the casting of the adult characters (Clancy Brown baby) as they brought legitimacy to the proceedings. Finally I had fun playing spot the references to the Elm Street series (caught nods to Part 3,4 and 6) and the flick did have some funny lines/moments, with my fav bit of dialogue being "You're in my world now bitch".

But to answer the question I just posed, should Platinum Dunes do Freddy again? If they get a tighter script and a director that actually knows how to spell "suspense"... then sure, why not. If not, move on to the next classic or franchise ya feel like lollipopping and dumbing down. I'M OUT!
GORE
We get some gory slashes, claw stabbings, a severed hand, a slit throat and an some "in the eyes" fun gory fun. Pretty basic.
T & A
Nothing to see here kids... move along!
BOTTOM LINE
Uneven - best word I can use to describe this remake. They didn't fully get what made Jason Voorhees tick in the Friday the 13Th redo and they didn't have a total wrangle on Freddy either. This new Elm Street was a bloated, badly structured, often boring (first 40 minutes) sit down with zero true scares in tow. Yup, I was let down by the constant missteps and missed opportunities this one kept snoring my way. At least the flick looked/sounded swell, had two engaging heroes and a gripping Freddy back-story. Furthermore, Haley owned for the most part as Freddy even though the character was randomly mishandled and that last act did leave me with an entertaining bang - best part of the f*cking movie. But yeah... on a whole...I'm half and half on this one... this aint prime time bitch!
BULL'S EYE
Question; if some dream killer is chasing ya around within a nightmare, would you hide in a closet?

Billy Bob Thornton was at one point considered to play Freddy Krueger.

John Saxon was offered a cameo but was unable to fit it in his schedule.

DO THE FREDDY RAP AT THE OFFICIAL SITE HERE

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12:24AM on 10/04/2012

Pitiful Remake

This is a perfect example of a rushed, studio driven piece of mulch. I remember leaving the theater in a state of disarray. Afterall I anticipated Freddy's return all year and a weak prior saw the uber violent Kick-ass that caught me by surprise. Here we get a young Rooney Mara who is ideal casting, but felt misdirected. Robert Englund's glove filler also sounded spot on in Jackie Earle Haley, but it seemed after the first sequence impossible for anyone else to be Freddy, but Mr. Englund. Haley
This is a perfect example of a rushed, studio driven piece of mulch. I remember leaving the theater in a state of disarray. Afterall I anticipated Freddy's return all year and a weak prior saw the uber violent Kick-ass that caught me by surprise. Here we get a young Rooney Mara who is ideal casting, but felt misdirected. Robert Englund's glove filler also sounded spot on in Jackie Earle Haley, but it seemed after the first sequence impossible for anyone else to be Freddy, but Mr. Englund. Haley did try hard, but it just didn't mold. I also felt they could have delved deeper into Freddy's back story. This could have made for some creepy scenes as opposed to all the tongue in cheek muck we got. I also remember hearing they pondered making this puppy a PG-13 release. Whether true or not I think it shows. Halloween and Friday the 13th both did a better job at reinventing the classic characters. Freddy's incarnation got the middle finger. My star rating really doesn't indicate my honest feelings. I just have a soft spot for the old Elm Street slasher. The movies strengths only comes in glimpses and underwhelm at best. Hopefully if they do Freddy again they'll try to make it less derivative than the later Elm Street entries, focusing more on scares than jolts. Disappointment of the year for me :(
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9:06PM on 08/15/2011

Terrible

Total lack of creativity and respect to the original storylines. Just an awful movie.
Total lack of creativity and respect to the original storylines. Just an awful movie.
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1:29AM on 12/30/2010
In my opinion one of the WORST remakes yet! I think the Arrow was too kind in his review =P
I thought the characters were boring, and the movie was so bland that the first hour felt like four. The film looked good but there was no scares or suspense. The score was good (when it was reminiscent of the original's), but when it was doing it's own thing it felt generic to me. The acting was decent from some of the cast (Haley, Gallner, Cassidy, and Mara). In my opinion: a LAZY ass remake,
In my opinion one of the WORST remakes yet! I think the Arrow was too kind in his review =P
I thought the characters were boring, and the movie was so bland that the first hour felt like four. The film looked good but there was no scares or suspense. The score was good (when it was reminiscent of the original's), but when it was doing it's own thing it felt generic to me. The acting was decent from some of the cast (Haley, Gallner, Cassidy, and Mara). In my opinion: a LAZY ass remake, but the last 20 minutes actually kind of rocked.
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10:44AM on 06/06/2010

I fell asleep !!!

It has NEVER happened before that I fell asleep in the cinema. This turkey was so boring, I WANTED to sleep, to make time go faster.
It has NEVER happened before that I fell asleep in the cinema. This turkey was so boring, I WANTED to sleep, to make time go faster.
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10:58AM on 05/23/2010

Despite some flaws, it`s a good remake.

I really liked this remake. I thought Jackie Earle Haley is a terrific Freddy. Gallner is certainly the standout in the movie as one of the terrified teens. This is the best Platinum Dunes production to date. Don`t miss it.
I really liked this remake. I thought Jackie Earle Haley is a terrific Freddy. Gallner is certainly the standout in the movie as one of the terrified teens. This is the best Platinum Dunes production to date. Don`t miss it.
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+0
7:30PM on 05/20/2010
We just got this in Oz and this was my birthday movie. I didn't hate it and really, some of the old Nightmare movies weren't terrifying, but the few that were, were skin crawlingly creepy. This needed that beyond a pedo-theme. Not as bloodless as the Friday remake, but still just treading water. Loved Haley and Gallner though. Absolutely agree about Cassidy needing to be the lead. Gallner plays better off a hot blonde with charisma
We just got this in Oz and this was my birthday movie. I didn't hate it and really, some of the old Nightmare movies weren't terrifying, but the few that were, were skin crawlingly creepy. This needed that beyond a pedo-theme. Not as bloodless as the Friday remake, but still just treading water. Loved Haley and Gallner though. Absolutely agree about Cassidy needing to be the lead. Gallner plays better off a hot blonde with charisma
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1:02PM on 05/15/2010

bummer

I too was bummed that Katie Cassidy wasn't Nancy. Her acting was better and her she just seemed more vibrant as a character. The chick that played Nancy was so bland. She also was the kind of character that was usually killed off in the originals. Blah. I also didn't care for the backstory as much... it fleshed him out too much and changed him up. In the original he was a child killer but in this one he was a molester and his victims didn't die as children... to me, this made some of his one
I too was bummed that Katie Cassidy wasn't Nancy. Her acting was better and her she just seemed more vibrant as a character. The chick that played Nancy was so bland. She also was the kind of character that was usually killed off in the originals. Blah. I also didn't care for the backstory as much... it fleshed him out too much and changed him up. In the original he was a child killer but in this one he was a molester and his victims didn't die as children... to me, this made some of his one liners later on uncomfortable... and overall the movie tanked because of the uneven scares, character development, and predictability. Loved your review!
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8:39PM on 05/03/2010
I agree with everything you said was bad about the film. The original A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the best horror films of all time. The remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street is everything that's wrong with modern horror, and since i'm not shammed by "teenagers" who look like models, and over polished films: Considering budget, AND what they could have done with the name of a fucking HORROR LEGEND, this is one of the worst horror films of all time, imo
I agree with everything you said was bad about the film. The original A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of the best horror films of all time. The remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street is everything that's wrong with modern horror, and since i'm not shammed by "teenagers" who look like models, and over polished films: Considering budget, AND what they could have done with the name of a fucking HORROR LEGEND, this is one of the worst horror films of all time, imo
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1:32PM on 05/03/2010
Though I have not seen this movie yet. I can tell you that this review is epically bad-ass.
Though I have not seen this movie yet. I can tell you that this review is epically bad-ass.
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7:11PM on 05/02/2010

About what I expected.......

Yeah Arrow your review is sharp and true here. Although I think I liked parts of this film even in less than you, I'm with you on your rating.

Slasher film fans won't be missing much if they skip this one, believe me.
Yeah Arrow your review is sharp and true here. Although I think I liked parts of this film even in less than you, I'm with you on your rating.

Slasher film fans won't be missing much if they skip this one, believe me.
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6:56PM on 05/02/2010
You pretty much nailed it here.
I agree with nearly all the points you made; like last year's "F13," this wasn't terrible, just uninteresting and disappointing.
I also think Katie Cassidy should've been our new Nancy. She was involving, sympathetic and emotional. Rooney Mara's performance was just dead. She was lifeless and boring. She was my least favorite cast member. I also liked Kyle Gallner, though.
Overall, I wanted to like this one, but it just didn't do it for me.
You pretty much nailed it here.
I agree with nearly all the points you made; like last year's "F13," this wasn't terrible, just uninteresting and disappointing.
I also think Katie Cassidy should've been our new Nancy. She was involving, sympathetic and emotional. Rooney Mara's performance was just dead. She was lifeless and boring. She was my least favorite cast member. I also liked Kyle Gallner, though.
Overall, I wanted to like this one, but it just didn't do it for me.
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1:54PM on 05/02/2010

Eh

While i agree the originals are always better than the remakes, I'm glad that they actually made Freddy more horror-like. Overall i found it a solid movie and worth seeing at least once. Don't let bad ratings stop you from seeing it, it's still an interesting watch. (I did see that ending coming, though)
While i agree the originals are always better than the remakes, I'm glad that they actually made Freddy more horror-like. Overall i found it a solid movie and worth seeing at least once. Don't let bad ratings stop you from seeing it, it's still an interesting watch. (I did see that ending coming, though)
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