A Nightmare On Elm Street

Viewed – 11 May 2010  Cinema

Although the idea of remakes as a concept usually makes me gag, in the advent of the actually rather great Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and the passable Hills Have Eyes, I don’t immediately switch off at the prospect anymore.  Yet with this, they were about to jump on a whole different beast.

The Freddy franchise was a long running hit-and-miss affair with at least two very good outings; the original still stands as one of the best horror movies ever made, and part 3, Dream Warriors is still a great deal of fun.  But apart from those, with the exception of the most recent ‘New Nightmare’, they have been money-making rubbish, rapidly running out of ideas.  Step forward Jackie Earle Haley, fresh off his acclaimed turn in Watchmen as the vengeful Rorschach, armed with a steady slew of teaser trailers – and it was looking very promising that the man in the striped sweater and fedora was going to scare us all over again.

Platinum Dunes, the production company responsible for ‘Chainsaw and the recent Friday The 13th reboot, once again offer us something both familiar and competently made, with a slew of imaginative dream sequences, some decent effects, a no name teen (see: twenty something) cast of pretty people, and a commendable performance from Haley.  He brings his own personality to Freddy that is not too far removed from Rorschach, but still toe-curlingly unpleasant and creepy.  A hint of the wise cracking Freddy from the sequels emerges, but the unreasoning malevolence of Freddy in the first two movies is back.  The movie pays homage to key moments from the original, whilst adding some ideas of its own, but lacks the hardcore shock factor than made the first film strike such a cord.  At times I felt the makers of this were holding back.  This is 2010 for Christ’s sake, and a film from 1984 had more balls!  Also there is nobody here filling out the cast to hold a candle to say Heather Langenkamp or John Saxon.  Yet despite such drawbacks, this offers a new spin on Freddy’s origins, bringing home a more real and less boogeyman-like predator, and along with plenty of jump scares and decent if restrained kills – this is by no means as bad as it could have been.

Just remember kids – the original is always the best.

Verdict:  3 /5

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