A Nightmare on Elm Street - Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner (97 min.)
There is a moment, about two thirds of the way through the Bay-ed up 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street, where the bland actresses Rooney Mara – playing iconic scream queen Nancy – asks other bland emo teen Quentin (Kyle Gallner) under a veil of forced tears, “what does he [Freddy] want from us?” Well, once Nancy asked Quentin that, I started to wonder that very same thing. What does he want from me?
See this new version of A Nightmare on Elm Street, from the same production company (Bay owns) that brought you the lackluster remakes of classics like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, really doesn’t have much to do. That’s not to say it is a bad film, but that’s definitely not saying it is a good one. It just exists, it is what it is, and there is no need to try and uncover any hidden meanings or themes that you might be able to find in the original, mostly because those themes are blatantly obvious and dumbed down for American audiences who don’t really feel like thinking and stuff.
We all know the story by now: the kids of Springwood, Ohio, are starting to have nightmares about a red-and-green sweater wearing slasher with knives on his hand. Turns out this gent is none other than Fred Krueger, a man burnt to death by the parents of these teens after allegations of child abuse. This is the one big difference this new film wants to hang its fedora on: Freddy wasn’t the Springwood slasher, he was a pedophile with a disease, and the parents are just as much to blame for the deaths of these teens as they are being murdered in their sleep by the char-broiled killer. It's a nice attempt at bringing some psychological backstory to Krueger, but it doesn't really affect me the way I think those in charge would have wanted it to.
So what is there in this new story? Well, there is Jackie Earle Haley, a former Oscar nominee as Krueger. Haley does a serviceable job, even though he doesn’t get a whole lot of cool things to do. He mainly grimaces and giggles and flicks his claws and drags them along metal pipes to make really cool sparks. None of the killings are all that memorable, even the remake of the famous ceiling murder is short, not all that scary, and pretty dull when compared to the original. Usually, in Bay movies, these things go the other way; this murder should have been thirty minutes by that standard.
It’s not like the original from Wes Craven was all that scary, but it had some moments of ambiance and mood to propel the story. This time around, everything feels so slick and polished. I don’t quite understand how Samuel Bayer, the director, filmed this movie in such a way that it could be interchanged with any of the other Bay horror films. They all look exactly the same. There is no personality in the filming.
I don’t really know what to say about A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010, except that it wasn’t too long. So that’s good. And it wasn’t really bad or anything. It was just… well… there.