One night last week, my wife and I, watched the 1984 release , of the Wes Craven directed, Nightmare On Elm Street. It was airing on ‘TCM’ in HD, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
We had only ever seen the reboot once. That was on the very first night, of its cinematic release. Due to the literal heartache, we felt after seeing it, we couldn’t bare the thought of ever watching it again. BUT… the night after watching the original, we took a deep breath, opened our minds, and dived into the world of turd, that is the Samuel Bayer directed, 2010 reboot, of Nightmare On Elm Street.
I want to start by saying that the film on a whole is not actually that bad, if you were to class it, as a stand alone slasher film. It doesn’t work as an Elm Street film. There are many, many reasons, that this reboot didn’t work. Let’s have a look as to why.
It’s easy to blame the leading man, but contrary to popular opinion, where the movie is lacking, is nothing to do with Jackie-Earle Hayley’s portrayal, of the man of your dreams. He is a fine actor, and his performance is fantastic. He hasn’t tried to copy Robert Englund, which is great. It shows, that as an actor, and a professional, he has put some thought, research and effort, into his role as Freddy Krueger. The first problem with the reboot, is that you don’t feel outright fear. It is sorely lacking. But that’s not Hayley’s fault. He can only read the lines that he’s given, and do, as he’s directed.
The second reason, that the movie doesn’t fill you with outright fear, is the make up. I understand it’s a reboot, and they wanted to go their own way with it, but it looks like absolute garbage. You don’t look at Hayley’s make up, like you did Englund’s, and automatically feel fear and dread, before he’s even slashed someone, or opened his mouth. That’s not to say, they should have copied Englund’s make up, but at least, use it as a point of reference, and build from there. This just isn’t good enough.
Thirdly, is the plot. This was supposed to be a reboot, but for the most part, the sequence of events, is lifted straight from Wes Craven’s original. It shows a major lack of creativity, on the part of either the writer, the director, or both. Though in saying this, it has to be said, that in a couple of the death scenes, they do let Freddy out the box, and there is that element, of ‘playing with his food’ so to speak… For example, the first kill on Dean in the café, and the 3rd kill on Jesse when he’s in prison, and the line from Freddy “we still have 6 more minutes to play”.
Deans Death Scene
Jesse’s Death Scene
To talk a some more about the problems with the plot, far too much of Freddy’s back story is revealed. Yes, the reboot should try it’s best to be different from the original, but I think completely changing the origin story, was a big mistake. Less is more. Yes, make it different, but let our brains picture the horrible things he did… That provides fear.
Problems with the plot? Lets look at the writing of the script and screenplay. Hired for the job, was a feature-length film novice, in Eric Heisserer. Now don’t get me wrong, in all credit to the guy, he has gone on to write such films, as Final Destination 5, and the new delightfully dark and terrifying, Lights Out. The problems with the writing, is that, like most films these days, there was too much studio involvement. Heisserer, didn’t really have room to work with. He was only given 1 month to have everything ready, and with strict guidelines from New Line, to bring in their target audience.
Next, the director used for this film, was Samuel Bayer. This is a man who has only ever directed music videos. And the majority of, in my opinion, not very good ones. This was a huge mistake. Bayer, up to this point, had never directed a feature-length film before, never even mind, a horror film. I have to ask the question… Why didnt you use the alternative ending? It is 100 country miles, better than the ending that was used for the theatrical release.
The reasons for me preferring the alternative ending, will be evident when you watch it. .
Its rumoured that there is going to be another reboot, coming at some point, the writer who did ‘Orphan’, is rumoured to have taken on the responsibility. Lord only knows who will be cast as Freddy Krueger.