Are you ready for Freddy? – Thoughts on the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street
One..two..Freddy’s coming for you…
Three…four…better lock your door…
Ah, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. A classic horror film made in 1984. It gave us one of our most memorable and beloved horror icons, Freddy Kreuger and caused us to laugh and cry in the sequels that were made.
I’ve been a huge Freddy fan since the first time a friend showed the original movie back in 2000. True, I got into the fandom late but I made up for it with obsession. I devoured the rest of the series that was out (which meant 2-New Nightmare) and quickly decided on my favorites (1 and 3) and the one I hated the most (2). Fanfiction writing immediately followed and I knew that I was now a fangirl of Freddy for life. Even “Freddy Vs. Jason” was brought in as one of my top three favorites.
Then I got wind of a remake of the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie.
Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled. I saw no reason to remake a classic that was already wonderful. Still, as Hollywood never listens to my opinions, they went ahead with the movie.
As it was released I caught wind of a few plot points that immediately caused me to hate the film with a passion though I had never seen it. I finally broke down and put it on my netflix, because it’s hard to truly bash a movie until you’ve at least watched it.
Less than a week ago I sat down and watched it, biting my tongue to keep from uttering any scathing remarks (that didn’t work as well as I had hoped). After it was over I realized that I had several things to say about it (Beware of spoilers!!):
First, Jackie Earl Haley does a really good Freddy. He’s no Robert Englund and as such I can’t ever think of him as Freddy, but he has the right build and movements for it. I wasn’t thrilled with his makeup though. It looked too….Voldemort-ish. I would have been happier with a look that was more of the 1984 version.
Second, they added back in the discarded plot idea of Fred Krueger being a child molester. This is something I hated. You see, I loved the original storyline where he was a child-killer instead and so this did not sit well with me at all. Combined with this is the flashback to Freddy’s memory of being chased and then burned alive. I cannot, for the life of me, ever see Fred Krueger cowering and swearing that he didn’t do what they were accusing him of. Instead I still picture him as the smarmy bastard who was proud of it and didn’t care if the townspeople knew.
Third, they used several of Freddy’s more amusing quips from the various movies in the series and combined them into this one remake. While that was a nice homage to the previous movies I think they should have stuck with Freddy being more visually morbid and frightening. In the 1984 version he didn’t speak much at all but instead displayed a sick sense of humor with stretching arms, cutting off his own fingers and even waggling his tongue. That version was much more frightening.
Related to that point is that there was a severe lack of tongue waggling and pelvic thrusting in this movie. And definitely not enough of the creepy “knives on metal” scraping noise that is such a part of the series.
There were a few good things about the movie, though. I liked the opening credit sequence. Done with cuts of children, chalk lettering and sidewalk drawings, it was extremely creepy and set the nightmareish tone for the rest of the movie. Also, kudos to the composer for remembering to bring in the original theme from the Nightmare movies in the right places. Without that they would have made the same mistake that Terminator Salvation made and left out one of the most important things that makes the movies identifiable.
And there is that first moment when we see Freddy’s glove. There’s something about the sight of just the right leg and then the glove opening with that familiar *snik* sound followed by each one of the fingers moving and clicking in turn that makes you shiver. That was very Freddy-like.
And let’s not forget…at least this one wasn’t done by Rob Zombie. Whew!!
Overall….I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would but I still don’t like it at all. I felt there were too many changes made to the backstory and plot of the movie and thanks to that it lost it’s “Nightmare” feel. I’d still suggest watching it, however, even if you are ambivalent as I was.
Did you really enjoy the remake? Really hate it? Care to counter with your own arguments? Drop me a line!