Tuesday, 1 June 2010

HITTING THE WALL - Various Nightmares on Elm Street




One, two, spoilers coming for you...

The world of dreams is an enigmatic place, which despite our ever increasing knowledge remains a sanctuary of mysteries. And there is one particular puzzle that has always interested me – considering literally anything can happen in a dream, from my researches it would seem that meeting characters from fiction is surprisingly rare. Monsters and fantastic beasts occur frequently, but encountering fictional characters is more uncommon than you’d expect, and generally when a dreamer bumps into a well known figure from the movies or TV, they are meeting the actor rather than the fiction made dream flesh.

However there is one notable exception - Mr Frederick Krueger. Certainly for my generation, who were present for the start of the Elm Street franchise, whenever the subject of really scary movies or just nightmares in general surfaced, it seemed that everybody had a tale to tell of having a Freddy dream not long after seeing Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. This was mine…

During the usual dream shenanigans, I happened to notice a door in my home that wasn’t usually there. And obeying one of those strange compulsions so common in the dream world, I felt drawn to open it and discovered a decrepit staircase leading down into the bowels of the earth. This stairwell led down into an impossibly huge room, dimly lit with orange light and wreathed with smoke. Well, I say ‘room’ but ‘space’ might be a better term, for its dimensions were so vast that I couldn’t actually see its bounding walls and the whole expanse was completely featureless. It was completely empty except for a dark square in the centre, radiating a magnetic call to investigate further. As I drew closer, the ominous shape resolved itself into a large cage wrought from thick black iron. Inside the cage was a familiar figure, chuckling and scrapping his metal talons against the pitted bars. With that strange instant background knowledge we possess in dreams, I suddenly knew that this was the real deal - not just the movie’s creation come to life, but the the ‘real’ Freddy, an evil entity that had somehow inspired Craven in order to increase its powers and influence. Time began to slow down, the seconds sludging along as he turned his gaze in my direction, and with a malefic twinkle in his eye, rasped “Hey kid, let me through… C’mon let me out!”

Needless to say, it was at that point, I turned and ran, pelting back up the crooked stairs and all the way back to the waking world. I vividly remember sitting up in bed and being somewhat weirded out; not just from having met Mr Krueger himself but from the nightmare’s unsettling postmodern spin that implied that Craven’s character was in fact a real being. And years later, this dream span my head a second time when I saw New Nightmare in which Craven presents us with the exact same scenario.

What all which neatly illustrates how well Wes Craven’s original A Nightmare On Elm Street taps into something powerful that resonated with a generation. It’s a real testament to the power of what he created in that first film that was Freddy to made guest appearances in so many viewers’ dreams. Equally it’s a fairly damning reflection of the trajectory of the series that with each sequel Freddy became less likely to inspire a bad night’s sleep. The embodiment of all our bad dreams quickly lost the fright factor, becoming an unlikely horror hero, cracking jokes rather breaking the walls of reality, spawning toys galore and even rapping with Will Smith.

However despite his huge fanbase and metamorphosis into a pop culture icon, fans of the first film have consistently clamoured for another film in which he was as twisted and frightening as he is Craven’s original. The afore-mentioned New Nightmare in 1994 was an interesting but flawed attempt to put the fright back into Freddy. But this exercise in post modern horror largely fell flat; confusing audiences who couldn’t tell whether it was a reboot or another sequel in the franchise, and coming so soon after the abomination that was Freddy’s Dead – The Final Nightmare (1991) didn’t exactly help either.

Of course this wasn’t the last time we would see Mr Krueger, for 2003 brought us Ronnie Yu’s highly entertaining Freddy Vs Jason. Though in development hell for years and years, this epic clash of the slashers actually turned out better than anyone could have hoped, and provided a very fitting close to both franchises. The Freddy presented in this swansong was a neat synthesis of all his incarnations; managing to be threatening and funny. But he was still far from the nightmare personified of the original.

Now when Platinum Dunes announced they were green-lighting a remake, the initial reaction wasn’t exactly rapturous as their previous forays into remaking the recent classics of horror can only be described as a mixed bag at best. However with the casting of Jackie Earle Haley, who’d impressed all and sundry Little Children and winning fanboy hearts with his rendering of Rorschach in Watchmen, hopes began to rise. Would we see Freddy reborn as the disturbing master of nightmares once more?

The short answer – apparently not! Long and bitter have been the howls of protest and the rivers of bile have run thick and deep. Indeed the one thing the new A Nightmare On Elm Street has convincing demonstrated is that if you want to clean up in these financial hard times, then before the new remake of a classic comes out set up a dummy retrieval and toy recovery service!

This reaction wasn’t exactly a surprise to me, as for many movie geeks the very concept of remakes is anathema and the involvement of Michael Bay on any project is about as welcome as a leper in a swimming pool. But while Samuel Bayer’s film is far from a triumph, and my own problems with it are legion, I can’t help feeling that it doesn’t deserve the level of vitriol it has received…

Now for those of you whose blood pressure is now rising, take a deep breathe and relax, for I am not going to try and convince you that this is a modern masterpiece. Believe me, I feel your pain and I have a fair bit of vitriol of my own to dish up…

So what’s wrong with this flick? My initial reaction to the movie was to wonder how long the original cut Bayer turned in was, as the pacing of the script is just ridiculously fast. While a swift pace is exactly what you want from a popcorn movie, the narrative itself had been edited down to a foolishly anorexic degree. The characters seem to be leaping to conclusions very quickly, discovering too much by convenient coincidence and often I felt we were only seeing snippets of what was actually filmed. The result is that the plot now is playing second fiddle to the action, which is not ideal for a movie that is trying to construct an atmospheric mystery for the characters to unravel.

And a lot of people have flagged up the acting as being fairly ropey. But in all honesty, we shouldn’t be expecting Royal Shakespeare Company level performances in a pop horror movie. And although the horror genre is often criticised from the low quality acting, in fairness the performances in most popcorn movies across the board aren’t much better. The source of this inequality is that in order to delivers the scares, the horror film needs the audience to suspend their disbelief far more than other genres and hence weak or lacklustre performances become all the more noticeable.

Now the performances in the new Nightmare On Elm Street are variable to say the least. However I’m inclined to blame the presentation over the performances. With so many scenes being seemingly truncated and slimmed down in the edit, a lot of the time we are getting reactions with no dramatic build up. But on top of this, Bayer is forever going in for close ups and lingering shots when the actor isn’t actually doing much. Hence the cast is left see-sawing between shouting and looking blank. And all of this is exactly helped by the casting choices which draw heavily from the CW’s roster, so you spend a good deal of time distracted playing the ‘isn’t that so-and-so off of…’ game.

However aside from the disservice the pace does the film’s characters, the story itself is somewhat problematic. Although the general thrust of the new storyline is fine but its intriguing twist on the Krueger mythos is botched at best. While it is an interesting idea that Freddy may be an innocent man in theory, it just doesn’t really float as by the time they wheel out this concept, as they’ve already shown him to be thoroughly evil. The pre-twist Krueger is clearly a sadist so it’s difficult to buy his actions as the revenge of an innocent man.

Secondly the decision to make him explicitly a child molester was somewhat ill judged. In the original film and sequels, although there were hints that there was a sexual element to his crimes, he was more clearly labelled as a child killer but the Haley version is a typical molester. Now while this is the realisation of what Craven originally intended for his villain and it plays well for the twist that he may be innocent, it doesn’t really feel right that he only becomes a murderer after his death. And while the molestation gives the new Freddy a far more repulsive streak, it comes across as somewhat distasteful as the film just doesn’t have the narrative depth to fully justify the inclusion of this sensitive and complex subject.

More baffling though, is Platinum Dunes obviously aren’t just remaking the original; they want to kick-start a new franchise and Haley has been signed for a three picture deal. But in making Freddy the most reviled form of criminal, I can’t exactly see people being keen to embrace Freddy as an anti hero – as the guys at the Now Playing podcast remarked in their review, this is a Freddy you probably won’t want to dress up as at Halloween. More to the point, it’s hard to see where the sequels are going to come from; in this movie, his motivations are to get revenge on the kids who shopped him and he succeeds in wiping them all out bar Nancy. While this works fine for a stand alone film, you’d think that if they were planning a new franchise they would introduce more room to expand the mythos in sequels.

And I have further problems with the new Freddy – basically I just didn’t really like the new make-up. Yes it was arguably a more realistic burn victim look and the quality of the physical make up effects with a little CGI was decent enough, but the overall result was that it robbed Haley’s distinctive face of all its character. Now the great strength of the original Freddy was Robert Englund’s face; with the various appliances and latex exaggerating his features, his Freddy had a pleasing echo of the story book wicked witch, all furrowed brows, hooked nose and gnarled cheekbones. The new Freddy’s look however, while perhaps medically accurate, loses this archetypal flourish.

And speaking of effects… Oh Christ the wall scene! This was what post Wolf Man I term a ‘bear’, and boy was this a bear of colossal proportions, and a veritable gift to CGI haters to boot. On the whole the movie’s special effects work was decently rendered, but this amazing wall paper patterned Play-Doh Freddy really lets the side down. However it does highlight my final problem with this remake – namely that when they redo scenes from the original, the new version fails to equal them, let alone better them. More to the point, it actually badly fluffs most of them.

To use the wall scene as an example, even ignoring the quality of the CGI – it was awful shite, let it go and move on – this scene is still a massive fumble. In the original, this early incursion by Freddy is presaged by a crucifix falling from the wall. A small detail perhaps, and evidently one that was considered unnecessary by Bayer and co, but this little touch adds so much. It’s a concise but potent symbol, a harbinger of evil invading our safe, everyday world. Similarly the aftermath is also omitted in the remake, where Nancy having sensed Freddy looming over her sleepily checks the wall is in fact still solid and hangs the cross back in place. And in missing these bookends, the remake’s version fails to convey the same sense of reality bending and approaching menace – instead all we have is a badly rendered Freddy composed of chintz, and instead of peering down like some hellish spider ready to drop, he oozes out and waves hello. Thanks guys, thanks for nothing…

However this does neatly bring me to the crossroads of this review, where at midnight I’ll be making a deal with the Devil’s Advocate. The smoking light is now on and you all may start fuming… though the Captain points out there may be further turbulence ahead.

You see as ham-fisted as the wall scene is, and indeed it was the low point of the entire film as well as the nadir of the effects work, the remake did do other things rather well. No, don’t run off! Think about it – the whole film could have been like this! A lot of people were of the opinion that the advances in digital effects could really benefit the Elm Street franchise and subsequently complained there wasn’t more of the surreal dream world action. But on the strength of this scene I’m really glad they stuck to Freddy slashing with his glove. If they had gone in for the high strangeness dram transformation deaths of the later films, just imagine how awful it could have been… Cruddy CGI slurping all over the shop in a silly fashion coupled with the corny comedian version of Krueger. It could have easily been the bastard child of Freddy’s Dead and Transformers 2 in other words.

And imagining that hideous scenario makes you quite relieved we got what we did. While it may make a pig’s ear of the scenes it replays from the original, it’s only really guilty of dropping the ball. As remakes go, it is at least is trying to hit the same marks as the original, unlike the twin Nicolas Cage atrocities The Wicker Man and City of Angels that not only miss the magic and charm of the originals but all the main themes, and indeed the entire point of the first movies. The film may have its failings but at least it’s failing in the right areas.

As I said earlier, it does do some things right, and very tellingly, its best material comes when it isn’t cribbing from Craven’s original. For me, it was very much a film of two halves. After the halfway mark, the movie’s break-neck pacing ceases to be such a problem; now it is logical for the story to be galloping along and pounding the action beats. And by that point I was actually getting used to the new look Freddy. But most importantly, while in the opening half, I was constantly comparing it to the original around the mid point we actually entered fresh territory story-wise.

Although the ‘is he innocent?’ twist is somewhat illogical Captain (sorry, Pavlovian response there), the introduction of micro naps is a neat touch. Being something of an insomniac, I can vouch for the existence of micro sleep (to give it its proper title) and the rules of sleep deprivation are handled far more realistically than in the old series. In fact, I’m actually amazed no other screen writer hit on this phenomenon before as it does make for a great plot gimmick. And the reveal of Freddy’s ultimate aims to drive his victims into permanent comas, while being the point at which the scientific facts in the film depart from reality, is a superbly nasty twist.

In short, the second half is a great improvement on the first and consequently by the time the credits rolled I was firmly of the opinion that despite its faults this remake is really does not deserve the level of hatred it has provoked. Yes, it has flaws, and overall I’m inclined to judge it ‘competent’ rather than ‘good’. But it nowhere near as bad as many are making out – certainly I was expecting far, far worse - and while it isn’t the Elm Street remake I was hoping for, there is a major factor that has made me think long and hard about my judgements on the movie…

I saw this at a packed Friday night screening with the theatre filled to the rafters with the target audience for this flick i.e. people several decades my junior. And they loved it, delightedly screaming at the jump scares and trooped out buzzing about the movie - a reaction that made me think and reconsider my problems with the film.

And my first thought was that aren’t all the cautiously voiced hopes for the remake very revealing. For those of us who didn’t don their pointy hater hats the instant we heard there was going to be a remake, when we talked of possibility of the remake actually turning out good, aren’t we hoping for a film that will top the original? And in doing so are we not implicitly and/or unconsciously acknowledging that the Wes Craven original despite its classic status is actually flawed?

Hence, after leaving a good few days in between for the sake of fairness, I rescreened the original. So in this light, let’s reassess the remake’s flaws…

Right then, the acting – as stated earlier I do think it’s a case of poor framing and editing that make the characters not work me. Certainly there are no performances as bad as, say, Mark Walberg in the Planet of the Apes remake, who could have been replaced with a balloon on a stick. And it has to be said there are some far rougher performances in the original. And pound for pound both films are equally slim in the character development stakes - there’s been a lot of moaning that the kids in the remark are boring and too emo, well in fairness the kids in the original aren’t exactly brimming with depth and are cookie cutter ‘80s twonks. In terms of realism both sets of teens bear little resemblance to the real thing and the only thing the original has over the remake is that they look a little more like the ages they are supposed to playing – but twenty somethings playing teens is a common problem in movies and TV. Hence I’m awarding a draw here.

On a related point, a big difference between the two films, and a major source of griping, is that the Nancy character in the remake is far mousier than in Craven’s film. Now in both films, Nancy is meant to be mousy as Bayer follows in Craven’s footsteps in doing the Psycho switch - introducing a pretty blonde who we are meant to assume is the heroine and then kicking her. The complaining about the new Nancy are mainly due I think to the omission of her fight back sequence. Now I did feel that Bayer’s flick was not only missing a trick but binning a key sequence in not having her booby trap her home turf before pulling Krueger out of the dream world. But thinking further on the matter and bearing in mind the age of the target market, if they had recreated these scenes would have been rolling their eyes thinking it was a lame Home Alone rip-off.

Moving swiftly on, the script and pacing issues. In the early minutes of the remake, I was thinking the kids were working out that Freddy was hunting them in their dreams way too quickly but the original does do the same. However I would say that the original does it more smoothly, but crucially there are the same leaps in logic. Similarly we have no explanation why Freddy has suddenly returned all these years later or where he got his powers from. And while in the remake you might be wondering how none of kids remember the events of their shared childhood, this plot hole is nothing compared to making sense of the climax of the original. Not only is Nancy’s defeating Freddy by turning her back on him likely to push the WTF button for some viewers but the twist ending leaves you wondering what actually happened in all the preceding scenes.

Next then – the effects work. Ok the remake’s amazing wibbly-wobbly shite-whitey wall is awful and there’ll be no U-turning on that. But in the original Freddy’s stretchy-wetchy arms and the slurpy-wurpy tongue phone aren’t exactly stellar either. And while you could say that it’s just because they are the products of an earlier age of special effects, I’d have to counter that they didn’t look great back in the day. So on a technical level, both films have rough spots in the effects wizards’ work.

However that damn wall yet again raises a key point – I’m seriously considering this review ‘It’s All About The Wall’ - as we saw earlier, the remake’s rendition of this scene is lousy compared to the masterful way Craven handled it. And this is true of everything the remake redoes from the original – Bayer just doesn’t craft the scenes as well as Craven did. But, and here’s the thing, this is only a problem if you know the original. And I’m guessing that the majority of the audience at my screening hadn’t seen the first film once, let alone the countless times I’ve seen it since blagging my way into a showing at the local fleapit under age way back in the 1980s.

Now despite picking at the Craven original in the last few paragraphs, I love this movie to bits and for me it will always be the better film hands down. But trying to be objective, I’d have to say that on a technical level both are equally flawed. But also both deliver a strong villain, who is disgusting and scary and a stream of effective horror sequences that gloss over their faults. I’d like to think that anyone who’s seen the remake and then checks out the very first film will conclude that Craven does it better but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The concepts and premises of A Nightmare on Elm Street work so well because you don’t know what’s going on. And I think the general tendency may well be to prefer whichever you saw first, while the uncertainty has novelty. Originally Craven intended his film to stand alone and was opposed to the idea of sequels, and I’m guessing is that he understood that once you know how Freddy operates, you lose all the intrigue and the fear that come from not knowing what is doing on. Now a word that keeps cropping up time and time again in the negative reviews of the remake is ‘boring’, but honestly it’s only boring for so many because they’ve seen the original. But if you’re coming to this completely fresh, it’s a different movie - as evidenced by the positive audience reaction at my screening.

Now I stick with my overall assessment that Bayer’s film is competent and nothing more; for me it fails to equal the original let alone better it. But they weren’t making this flick for old gits like me; this is a Freddy for a new generation who are new to the whole Elm Street mythos. And I even wonder that left-over gripes that aren’t rooted in a familiarity with the original, such as the high speed pacing are just the carping of an old fool – for better or worse movies these days are far faster than they used to be.

As Kim Newman points out in the introduction of Nightmare Movies there tends to be generational divides in horror criticism. Early commentators like Dennis Gifford and William K. Everson, held that the 1920s and 1930s produced the classics and later films from Hammer and Amicus were inferior retreads. Later younger writers such as Alan Frank extended the classic period to include the ‘50s and ‘60s but were dismissive of ‘70s and ‘80s shockers for being too full of breasts and blood. And now it seems we have a generation weaned on ‘80s horror bitching about the new films being too fast and flashy.

Hence as much as I think the new Nightmare on Elm Street charges ahead too swiftly and is sacrificing atmosphere and character for pace, is it really doing anything that wrong? I mean if you want to see a flick where action and pace totally make a nonsense of anything approaching sense, let alone a story, go no further than Transformers 2. Bayer’s film might come across as hasty but it’s nowhere near the colossal awfulness of Bay’s last paean to hyperactivity. And I do suspect there is a longer version that’s better paced – my gut instinct is that what we have got is a truncated cut to fit what Platinum Dunes’ demographics think is the optimum length for the target audience – which would make the pacing issues their fault not Bayer’s. I’ll be very interested to see if a director’s cut emerges…

But the pacing aside, considering he’s a former video director, some credit must go to Bayer for not delivering a movie that was comprised of jump cuts and crash zooms every five seconds and filling the score with bad emo/metal. Instead he tries to make a proper horror movie in the classic mould rather pander to the teen market with a load of hip visuals set to ‘edgy’ rock music that will go out of date faster than a loaf of bread. But instead he get’s slated for being conventional. Admittedly there are far more innovative directors out there and Bayer lacks real vision but it’s evident he studied the form. While his imagination may be lacking, he knew enough to avoid some of the worst clich├ęs.

And he’s also got tons of flack for using jump scares. Yes, they are a cheap scare and he relies on them a lot but they are by no means the lowest trick in the book - that would be just shovelling out the gore and going for the gross out. And in all fairness, there are more than a few jump scares in the original. More to the point, when did jump scares become such a bad thing? Just as it is very fashionable among mainstream critics to write off blockbusters or genre films for using CGI, in the horror world now it’s a case of use a jump scare and you’re a talentless bastard.

But the original Halloween is built on them – and no one slates that movie for it. Actually I suspect Bayer studied that classic very closely, as he plays with light and shadows and tries to misdirect the audience in a Carpenter-esque fashion. And in the chase sequence at the finale, he has Nancy hiding in a cupboard with a white slatted door which struck me as a tip of the fedora to Halloween. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the Carpenter classic is Bayer’s idea of the perfect horror movie. He might not have Carpenter’s directing chops but I will give him credit for doing his homework.

At the end of the day, I would far rather have film makers try and make you jump out of your seat than just chuck up into your pop corn, and fill the runtime with the kind of gratuitous nastiness that gives the genre a bad name. And here where the remake could have been a lot worse too – with the Saw series being the franchise to top, we easily could have got Freddy Opens a Hostel.

What seasoned film buffs and horror heads alike forget is that ghost train jump scares or a ton of gore are what a general audience expects from a horror movie. Average movie goers aren’t going to flock to see intelligent carnage like Martyrs and purer fright films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity have a good proportion of the popcorn munching crowd decrying as rubbish because “you didn’t see anything”. Now the new Nightmare on Elm Street treads a decent line between gore and fear, and while Bayer plays the jump card too often when he should be building dread, it is still hitting the both important marks for the general audience.

And that’s exactly who Platinum Dunes are made this flick for. Yes, it’s not the remake I wanted but really when a studio sets out to do a remake – putting the rights and wrongs of that aside for moment - they are not making the movie for lovers of the original. They aren’t really interested in putting a fresh spin on material that worked perfectly well the first time just for the old guard; they just want to retell the story for a new generation.

And for all the faults I can find with the remake, I have to concede that Bayer’s film does do that. It’s flawed but it delivers enough to work. With most of the retread material being in the first half I can totally understand why it loses the interest of so many reviewers who are familiar with the original, and I’m guessing the wall scene (damn it! there it is again) is where many lock into in hate mode. But if you don’t know the original inside out, you’re not sat playing compare and contrast and the wall is just a brief moment of sub par CGI.

Even if the remake isn’t improving on the original and suffers from a hasty pace, it at least honours the intentions of the original film, serving up some memorable dream weirdness and it does get Freddy right. Jackie Earle Haley makes a fantastic Krueger, menacing, vicious and actually scary. I might think he looks more like Niki Lauda than Fred Krueger, you can’t fault the performance. And while some, including myself, have lamented that the script didn’t give Haley more material to get his teeth into, but really the role of Freddy doesn’t offer that much scope for dramatics. Of course a different script could have included more material that builds the character and his back-story, but really Freddy should stay in the shadows - after all, look how well Rob Zombie’s attempt to give Michael Myers more depth went down…

Personally I’m just glad they went back to basics and made Krueger a scary monster again, rather than bring him back as the jokester of the later films. Admittedly they did toss in a few quips, mainly in the second half, that I could have lived without but they did keep the bad gags to a bare minimum and I’m guessing included them as a sop to the fans that prefer the comedy incarnation. But it was Haley’s excellent rendering of the character that got me through the weaker first half when I was mainly rummaging through the baggage I brought to the theatre. So I’ll happily take the Haley Krueger, new make up and all, over the Freddies from Elm Street 2, 4, 5 and 6 any day of the week.

And despite its faults the remake is a far better film than any of the sequels listed above. Now as I promised at the beginning of this epic dissection, I’m not trying to persuade all of you who disliked it that Bayer’s film is a great movie. But to all those who are proclaiming it’s the worst thing ever and an insult to Freddy, really, get a grip. If you hated it, fine – I didn’t exactly love it myself - but in some cases the level of bile has been way over the top. Essentially I’m arguing for some clemency here – there are far worse horror films out there and much poorer remakes. And like it or not, there going be young movie goers who will love this flick as much as I love the original. And perhaps that is what is most important here.

In my similarly lengthy article on last year's Friday 13th, I spent a good deal of time identifying different species of remake and Freddy is one of those characters who can come back again and again. Like his cinematic rivals Jason and Michael Meyers, his film series consisted of sequels that were more remakes than additional instalments of his story. So really retelling the story was not the key issue - the big question was could another actor convincingly fill his shoes?

Whereas Jason or Michael Myers can be played by any big ‘n’ burly guy, Freddy is very closely tied to Englund’s performance. We all accept that Freddy is one of the Famous Horror Characters like Dracula and Frankenstein but could the glove be passed on in the same way the cloak and fangs went from Lugosi to Lee? Or would it be another case of Pink Panther syndrome, where Steve Martin has proved that it’s not the character of Clouseau we love but Peter Sellers’ performances.

Some die hard haters may not accept Haley as Freddy, however if we’d had the internet back in 1958, I’d bet we’d see similar torrents of bile from Lugosi fans. But a decent proportion of the negative reviewers do concede that Jackie Earle Haley makes a good Freddy. And regardless of your feelings about the rest of the film, this remake has proved that some one other than Robert Englund can play Krueger. But this is the Bayer film’s real achievement – it shows it can be done, and hence now the field is wide open for him to return again and again, with a new actor bringing the character to fresh generations. Freddy now can truly join the pantheon of Immortal Monsters, and I have no doubt that he’ll be haunting the dreams of many generations to come. Many may not love this first resurrection, but it has been a success, and the door is now firmly open for a future version that might top Craven’s original…

2 comments:

Dale (PopBunker.net) said...

Man, those are a lot of words devoted to this re-make; it's impressive!

I thought you missed a bit on the need to call out the editing specifically and not just the finished product resulting in the pace of the movie. A lot of scenes, especially early, had a cut and roll feeling to them where the camera would leave the character and instantly transition back to that character. In that sense the first cut always seemed premature - cutting before the scene is at rest - and the transition into the next shot was sudden and jarring. This was a drastic departure to the slow and nuanced scene creation in the original.

Also, from a tech standpoint, the continuity of the film was jacked. A character is seen pulling a door in to keep it from opening when the door had already been shown to open inward; Nancy's mom barges into the room to tell her to go to bed but, seconds later, knocks frantically when she thinks someone is in with her. There were 3-4 other things - and it must have been bad because I am not usually adapt it nitpicking things.

Also, a neat side item: I think iconic horror movies had moments of scenes recreated in this film. The original, obviously, but also NOSFERATU, HALLOWEEN, and PSYCHO that I noticed -- there are probably a lot more.

We covered this movie over on the Bunker: http://www.popbunker.net/2010/05/300-word-review-nightmare-elm-street-2010/

but only in our 300 Word Review feature. It was nice reading such an in-depth opinion on this site.

Jim Moon said...

Thank you for the kind words sir!

Good point on the editing too.

I was going to mention to the continuity issues but the review was getting way too long as it was!

Interesting to hear you spotted alot more tips of the hat to iconic horrors past. I look forward to watching out for them when I inevitable see it again. Bayer certainly seems to have studied the form for this project...