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Friday, October 15, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)


I am all for remaking movies.

I'll use any excuse to revisit a beloved movie universe, whether it is via a remake or an unnecessary sequel. We watch movies to escape reality and feel a certain way, and I always welcome going back to the time when I first experienced some of my favorite childhood movies, regardless of whether they are actually any good. Like any good road trip, it's the journey and not the destination that makes it worth while.

However, the 2010 remake of Wes Craven's 1984 classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street is making me doubt this opinion. Here we have a remake that is totally devoid of the suspense and humor that made the original one of the better slasher movies of the 80's. Even Jackie Earle Haley, who was the lone bright spot in another lifeless film -- Watchmen -- fails to exude menace in his rebooted version of Freddy Kruger.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with this remake. The film has nothing to say. Any good remake takes the original film's central idea and runs with it -- often applying the themes and morals to the current times. But Nightmare fails to do any of this. How great would it have been for this film to say something about the over medication of today's children? That somehow ADD or anti-depression medication are somehow causing these nightmares to occur. Or make the origin of this film's Freddy Kruger a chat-room trolling pedophile. Anything to update the remake for the present day and age.

The only thing this remake has going for it is a character's surprising death about a half hour into the film. But if you've ever seen Psycho -- and yes, even the remake -- you may find yourself rolling your eyes. Even a supposed main character's surprising death early in a film is nothing new.

Platinum Dunes, the studio behind this useless piece of trash, is also responsible for the remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. Chainsaw boringly kept the movie setting in the 1970's, like the original, and Friday unwisely updated the film to present time when it could have mined the original's early 1980's setting for laughs and nostalgia. If Platinum Dunes have proven anything, it's that they are only in the horror movie remake business to make money. And yes, I know money is the bottom line for all movie studios, but the total disregard of quality in these remakes downright is shameful.

I guess I shouldn't expect anything more from the man who's directed all three Transformers movies.

In the end, A Nightmare on Elm Street is just that, a nightmare. And like any unnecessary remake, it only makes the viewer yearn for the original film.

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