Sunday, 9 May 2010

Report card: A Nightmare Elm Street remake — must try harder


I witnessed Freddy Krueger's arrival in cinemas and watched every subsequent sequel, as the character got progressively sillier and sillier, up to and including Wes Craven's underrated post-modern frightfest New Nightmare which, for me, gave the character some of his edge back. (I skipped Freddy Vs Jason.) And so, I decided to give the new A Nightmare On Elm Street a go, figuring it couldn't be as bad the same team's Friday 13th remake. It wasn't. However, the film plays out like a karaoke version of Craven's seminal horror, pitched somewhere between prequel and reboot, hitting more or less the same notes and set pieces as the original — although I missed the bloody bedroom geyser that should have befallen the "Johnny Depp character" — without anywhere near the same ferocity, tension or conviction. Jackie Earle Haley's Freddy may look the part in his stripy sweater, but his silly "scary" voice isn't. (He played a far scarier pedophile in Todd Field's film Little Children.) First-time feature director Samuel Bayer makes an okay stab at the dream visuals (as well he should, given his background in promos and commercials), but pretty much everything else is woefully underdeveloped. Irony of ironies, I nearly fell asleep watching it.  

2 comments:

J.D. said...

"However, the film plays out like a karaoke version of Craven's seminal horror"

Hah! That's an awesome description. They should put that quote on the DVD when it comes out. Ah, if only...

Mark Salisbury said...

I have to say, I was pleased when I wrote that. So glad you liked it, too.