It is one of the more interesting concepts in the horror genre. You fall asleep and a psycho killer torments your dreams, eventually leading to your death in both the unconscious and real world. Freddy Krueger took away the only solace we had from the things that go bump or scratch in the night. There is no escaping his potential threat, but it appears that some people apparently needed a little reminder.
The re-imagining of the slasher franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street, could be considered the eighth installment in the series, yet is more a remake of the first film. Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer penned a screenplay that stays loyal to Freddy stalking victims in their dreams, including main characters from the original film, but major aspects of the story have changed. Some of these modifications reflect our culture, wherein a Freddy victim blogs about his troublesome nightmares and some re-envisioning reconstructed the back-story of the killer all together. Instead of a child murderer in his former life, Freddy Krueger is now a pre-school gardener accused of pedophilia. This change seems a little forced, but could be due in part to the biggest change of the franchise overall, the stepping down of Robert Englund as Krueger.
Jackie Earle Haley of Watchmen and Little Children fame was assigned the difficult duty of filling those psychopath’s boots, pulling together an earnest, new Krueger. There are definitely some one liners that Krueger spouts off to victims right before he displays his weapon of choice, the knife wielding glove, but the approach by Haley is much more intense and serious. It seems all the quirkiness of the whacked out Krueger is gone, not to say Haley plays it wrong, quite the opposite, this is just a new take on the Nightmare series. Overall though, it feels like Haley does not get much space or time to perform, which is a shame considering his acting talents.
First time feature film director, Samuel Bayer, creates a new and sleek environment for Freddy Krueger, but unfortunately loses creativity in the most suspenseful moments. The film looks very impressive and clean throughout, whether the story is taking place in a dream or reality, however the film becomes repetitive and a little canned in the nightmare sequences. Bayer definitely cooks up some interesting imagery, including a hallway being transformed into a pool of blood, as well as nervous anticipation transitioning into dreamscape, yet in a world where anything can happen, not much does.
As for the actual plot, I think you can figure it out. A group of teenagers are having very realistic nightmares with some resulting in death and it’s up to the survivors to uncover the reason behind their torture. It is a brave and interesting take on a solidified franchise, but more often than not it became more of a slice and dice movie. For the original Nightmare fans, this might be a night to catch up on some sleep, if you dare.
Mirror Film Criticmark@smmirror.com