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"A Nightmare on Elm Street"
Movie review by: Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" by Mike Smith
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Here are two pieces of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" trivia for you: (1) when I first started in the movie business, one of the theatres in Baltimore that I worked at sold more tickets to the original film than any other theatre in the country, and (2), I was amazed when the film's creator, Wes Craven, told me that he had based the story off of a real event. FYI: I was also surprised when Craven told me that the late, great Harry Chapin had given him his start in the movies. As you can see, the original film and I have shared a lot of history these past 26 years. Now comes what the studios call a “reboot” of “Elm Street”…new, but sadly not improved for this generation.
The Springwood Diner. Inside, high school student Dean Russell (Kellan Lutz) sits at a booth drinking coffee. Occasionally the waitress, a fellow classmate named Nancy (Mara), nudges him, saying if he keeps falling asleep he will have to leave. Soon he is joined by Kris (Katie Cassidy) who seems puzzled by Dean’s appearance. Suddenly, Dean begins arguing, seemingly with himself. Before Kris can intervene Dean slices his own throat. At Dean’s funeral Kris is startled to see a pre-school age photo of her and Dean together. Her memory of meeting Dean is around the sixth grade, not half a decade earlier. Home alone she receives a visit from her ex-boyfriend, Jesse (Thomas Dekker from the “Terminator” television series, looking eerily like a lost Affleck brother). They both discover that they have been having the same dream about a disfigured man in a red and green sweater. The later they stay up the heavier their eyes get, until…
With the recent abundance of film remakes it has been hard for me to review them properly. Do I compare them to the original film when I judge them or do I just pretend I’m seeing it for the first time? In the past (“Planet of the Apes,” “Halloween”) I’ve done both. And I’ll do the same here for “Elm Street.” First, as a stand-alone film it’s not too bad. The set pieces are well created and Jackie Earle Haley does a fine job (don’t forget, he’s not only dealing with the character but with the knowledge that Robert Englund will always be associated with the role). The special effects are well thought out and the mood isn’t too bad, despite at least “four too many” shots of Freddy behind others. But now let’s compare it to the original, which is where the film pales. I’m not sure if Kris is supposed to be the town dumb blonde or not but she certainly proves capable of handling the job. From setting her house alarm while her windows are open to locking her car electronically while the convertible top is down, I’d have to say I expect more out of David Cassidy’s daughter. I was also disappointed that Freddy was not the large, looming figure I remembered from 25 years ago. Through no fault of his own, Haley is barely 5 foot 5 inches tall. Even though he only stood 4 inches higher, Englund’s Freddy filled the screen as if he was secretly imposing his will on the audience. Because of his height, Haley’s Freddy is often shorter than the teens he’s terrorizing. And for my final Freddy note, where Krueger was thought to be a child murderer in the original series, he’s made out to be much worse here…a label that takes away any kind of sympathy you may have had for his fate. As for the cast, while Gallner and Mara do a good job, the rest of the “kids” lack any personality. The original film was Johnny Depp's film debut and he and the other actors really put their all into their performances. Sadly, not the same here.
Some final “Elm Street” trivia: Jackie Earle Haley auditioned for a role in the original film 25 years ago. While he didn’t get the job, director Wes Craven did ask his friend who accompanied him to the audition to stick around and read for a part. The friend was Johnny Depp.
On a scale of zero to four I give the new “A Nightmare on Elm Street”
This week's movie review of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith. All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.