A group of teens start to die of in their sleep and no one knows why. A group of them find out it’s Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley) stalking them in their dreams. This group of teens then start to find out about their past and how it relates to Krueger.
Director: Samuel Bayer
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Clancy Brown
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language
Fun Fact: Jackie Earle Haley originally auditioned for the role of Glenn in the original film. Johnny Depp won that role while Haley became Freddy in the remake.
As the 2000’s began horror remakes were the hot new thing. Led by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes company, film studios started to release these remakes. While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre brought in some success, and Friday The 13th had mixed results, New Line Cinema felt like they wanted to bring an updated version of A Nightmare On Elm Street. It was announced that Robert Englund would not take on the role of Freddy Krueger for a ninth time. Jackie Earle Haley was cast with Englund’s endorsement.
While this film made money for the studio, it’s a terrible film all together. Rooney Mara has stated in interviews that the experience of working on this film almost drove her to quit acting. Good thing she backed out of that decision but, that’s for a different time. The thing that makes this film bad is how boring it is. You don’t want to get to know these characters because once again it’s the same cliché that is in all horror films. You know these people are going to die and it’s going to happen quickly. None of them are people you want to root for to take on Freddy or succeed in beating him. For example, Nancy in the original film was a fighter who wanted to take Freddy down because he was killing her friends. The original film’s Nancy was tough and brave in knowing what she had to do. This version’s Nancy is a quiet and artsy type girl who takes on Freddy because well she kind of must do it. Another example is Glenn was someone who you wanted to hang out with and who didn’t really believe in Freddy but, just went with the flow of things. This remake has a love interest that’s extremely average and we know nothing about him other than he has had a crush on Nancy. These lacks characterizations just bring it down for the viewer when we should be doing the opposite and rooting for them.
The biggest exception is the performance of Jackie Earle Haley. He absolutely owns as Freddy and he took the torch that was passed on from Robert Englund. While Englund will always own the role, Haley doesn’t try and copy him, and he brings his own take to the character. While he uses his claw to scrape the walls, he also plays with them with just his fingers. He speaks in this dark voice that brings tension whenever he’s on screen. He absolutely wants to terrorize these teens and enjoys doing it. While I don’t agree of making him a child molester and the makeup does make him look like a grandpa, Jackie Earle Haley was a well-chosen replacement to an iconic horror character.
The biggest crime is that this film doesn’t do anything new with Freddy. He does more talking then he does actions so to speak. It feels like the studio wanted to make sure they shoved some classic scenes to appease the fans. We get the glove in the water and the face coming out of the wall and such but, it feels like the original did it better and it was also fresh at the time. For example, the face coming out of the wall was done with spandex in 1984 and it still holds up today. With the remake, it’s CGI and it’s not convincing to say the least. The series is known for its creative dream and death sequences and you would think with this day’s age in technology the gloves would be off, and nothing could hold them back. We get nothing of that and the deaths are very underwhelming. I’m all fine with remakes if you can bring something new and fresh to the table. I don’t need scenes from the original film to remind me there’s a better film out there I should be watching.
Overall this remake is just plain terrible. It’s boring and none of the characters are the least bit interesting. This film had so much potential in one of the most well-known horror franchises known for being creative. We get underwhelming dream sequences and lack of a new and fresh take on things. It’s biggest downfall thought is that nothing new is brought to Freddy and for that reason I would suggest you avoid this one.