Horror, 95 Minutes, 2010
[This is the eighth selection in my irregular, “My Wife and Kids are Visiting Relatives and I’m Home Watching Movies” film festival.]
The original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” [IMDB] was a deserved classic if for no other reason that it was so effective on a shoe-string budget. It had no small part in reviving the already stale slasher genre. The sequels quickly descended to silly camp but the original still has something to say for itself.
The overall problem with the series – and with close cousin “Friday the 13th” [IMDB] – is that horror has evolved well beyond the slasher film. Freddy Kruger, the slasher who hunts you in your dreams, was a novel idea 30 years ago. Now it’s trite and passé.
The movie itself is decent enough. The filmmakers were aware enough to leave the story essentially untouched and confident enough not ruin it with some ridiculous change. Jackie Earle Haley [IMDB] was a sensational casting choice. I can’t think of another actor that would so easily be accepted as a pedophile (really, that guy is creepy as hell). I think it’s defensible to say that it’s every bit as good as the original.
Considered as a launching point for renewing the franchise it may be successful but I’m extremely skeptical that it can profitably support the budgets of modern effects features. Taken solely as nostalgia-bait for fans of the original it brings almost nothing new to the table beyond marginally better visuals. That said it’s still worth a rental if you have a Freddy-shaped hole in your heart somewhere.