It is funny for me, a lifelong horror fan, to think that there are people out there who consider themselves fans of the horror genre but have never experienced Freddy Krueger but it is true. There is an entire generation of horror fans that have never seen A Nightmare on Elm Street. With that in mind Michael Bay’s horror production company, Platinum Dunes, set out to bring Freddy to today’s audiences with a remake / reboot of the series.
A Nightmare on Elm Street follows the story of Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) as she and her friends experience terrifying and fatal dreams of a burnt man, named Freddy, that wears a glove with knives as claws on them who is systematically stalking them. Freddy has control over the dream world and when you enter your dreams he can kill you in the real world. Nancy and her friend Quentin set out to discover why Freddy is coming after them.
The good news is that A Nightmare on Elm Street is a solid slasher horror flick and Jackie Earl Haley (Watchmen) fills the iconic glove of Freddy quite well. The bad news, depending upon your viewpoint, is that the film takes no chances and aside from changing an aspect of the origin of Freddy, this is a pretty standard paint by numbers horror film.
Where the film does differentiate from the original it does so in its presentation of Krueger. The story is darker, if you an believe that, and Freddy’s intentions are seemingly more demented in this iteration. Freddy for the first time in years is not in this film to crack jokes, he still does drop some good one liners but he’s not here to humor the audience as he terrifyingly butchers his victims. He has a purpose, one as demented as can be imagined, and as such this iteration of Freddy is the one that is going to keep me up at night.
As far as the looks of the film, it is a mixed bag. Freddy looks better than ever which is obviously a huge plus however some of the special effects are not on the same level. In particular two shots drawn from the original film actually look better in the that film then in this film. Let me reiterate though, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a solid slasher flick even if it doesn’t break any new ground or do anything particularly new with the character of Freddy.
Some people are going to claim that this remake / reboot is pointless. I disagree, while the film may not be groundbreaking it, along with last year’s Friday the 13th reboot, does show that slasher films can still be done competently in today’s film industry. Horror icons such as Freddy and Jason can still be relevant when handled properly and as a fan of the iconic slasher films from the 80s, I hope to see more of Freddy and Jason in this light, horror newcomers deserve it.
4 out of 5