4 May 2010 | marijumanji
Nothing 'New' about this Nightmare
When it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would be taking on the role of Freddy in the new Elm Street franchise reboot, a collective sigh of relief went up from the fans of the originals. Haley's Rorshach was one of the few redeeming qualities in the abysmal "Watchmen" movie. When pictures of Freddy's new face were leaked, the excitement grew. This Freddy promised to drop the silly one liners and be a return to the frightening, sadistic killer from the first film.
Haley does what he can with what he's given, but even a game performance from him and Rooney Mara(Nancy) can't save this film from mediocrity. The male lead is played by Kyle Gallner. He could generously be called a poor man's Robert Pattinson. He does a serviceable job here but the weak writing and directing don't do him any favours.
Fans of the original will be disappointed by the brief treatment of Freddy's origins, and it's unlikely new viewers will understand what is going on or even care for that matter. My hopes of a scarier Freddy were dashed within the first few minutes. The film doesn't even try to build an atmosphere and Haley spouts the same tired one liners that the later films leaned on so heavily.
Even as the original series aged, one could always rely on the excellent special effects and make-up work to carry the films. The highlight of each film was the creativity of the different "Dream Worlds" that Freddy would take his victims to. Each dream world was unique because it reflected the thoughts of the character Freddy was trying to kill. This new iteration strips away any of that creativity and takes place almost entirely in one location (I'll avoid spoilers, but if you've seen any other film in the series you can easily guess where). The makeup work that looked promising in production stills doesn't hold up well on screen, failing to be as frightening or iconic as the original. The effects aren't great, it would be easy to beat the dead horse of 'computer graphics' being inferior but I think the real problem here is directorial. Samuel Bayer simply can't hold a candle to Wes Craven.
If you want to disregard my comparisons to the original films and simply take this one for what it is, a brainless slasher flick, it still fails. None of the 'kills' show any creativity at all and audiences already fed on a steady diet of graphic violence won't find anything all that shocking or disturbing here. It's just boring.
Adding to that is an over reliance on cheap scares. This film is this the cinematic equivalent of someone shouting "boo!" in your face every ten minutes. This technique becomes annoying almost instantly and becomes increasingly more annoying because it is used in every single scene. It's like the director realized he didn't know how to direct a scary movie and instead of quitting and finding a new job, he decided to edit in sudden loud noises and hope no one would notice.
By the end the audience I saw it with could hardly hold back their titters of laughter and I don't mean that in a good way. This is one franchise that had some potential for rebirth, but I will be amazed if this one makes it to part 2.