Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 October Horror Movie Challenge Movie 74: A Nightmare on elm Street (2010)

Where do I begin here? Ok, first, enjoy a priceless bit of dialogue from this movie:

Daughter: "Did you ever know a guy named freddy?"

Mother: "I don't think so."

Right, never in your life have you ever known anyone by the name of Freddy. Ever.

In a way, that sums up this movie's problems in a nutshell. This kind of nonsensical dialogue pours from the characters' mouths and I just want to jump through the screen and punch them in the face.. The movie LOOKS great, a lot of the nightmares are creepy, and the characters LOOK the part...but then they start talking, and it all falls apart.

You can tell this movie was directed by a guy who usually makes music videos. It LOOKS great, at least visually. When it comes to plot and twists and mystery and depth, however, the movie just falls flat on its face. Contrast this with the original, which had some special effects that look pretty silly now, but it had subversive twists and an air of tragedy and mystery surrounding it that makes it work in spite of those less than stellar visuals, whereas the remake has really cool visuals but virtually no plot. we don't even get to know who these kids in the movie are before they start getting slaughtered. the original gave us a chance to get to know them before anybody died, so we actually had a chance to give a shit about them. In the remake, we barely know who the kids are, so why should we care when they start dying?

Not only that, but when the movie starts trying to have a plot, it gets really stupid and start insulting our intelligence. Kids who knew each other when they were five aren't just going to FORGET that and think they never knew each other because their parents tell them so. They might not remember everything, but I remember things from when I was five years old (and why the hell does the movie tell us that all this stuff happened to these kids when they were in preschool, which is idiotic because five year old kids would be in Kindergarten, not preschool in the first place, and also, all the child actors are quite obviously older than five, so it looks stupid)? Ok, maybe they didn't want to use really young kids in the movie, but then don't make the kids so young in the script. Make them about six in the plot, put them in Kindergarten instead of preschool, and then it won't look so stupid when you start telling us that these eight year olds are actually five years old. Didn't this movie have editors around to catch these kinds of stupid things and fix them before unleashing this movie on the poor unsuspecting public?

I know I'm a great big Wes Craven fangirl, but in my opinion, the original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" does everything right. It introduces us to characters, lets us get to know them a bit, introduces the terrifying idea that someone is killing them in their sleep and this causes them to die in real life (can you imagine if nightmares really COULD kill you? I'd be dead a thousand times over) keeps us in the dark about why everything is happening, then reveals the backstory which explains why this nightmare man is stalking, terrorizing, and killing these kids. The remake throws deaths at us right from the beginning, doesn't tell us who these kids are, keeps the killings coming without giving us much reason to care, then tries to manufacture a backstory that doesn't make much sense because it keeps changing its mind about what it wants to say. In the original movie, there was this back and forth that tore at the was wrong for the parents to burn a man to death, but the things he did were terrible. In the remake, the parents are portrayed as a bunch of hotheaded dipshits who don't think things through before they act, and thus it's almost impossible for us to identify with what they did. Are they trying to make Freddy into a tragic hero here with this movie? Then the story changes its mind, and then it changes its mind again, and I want to stab it in the face. "The movie is really about THIS. Just kidding! THIS is what we're really trying to say. PSYCHE! THIS is really what believe us now, don't you?" By that point, more discerning viewers have probably stopped caring.

In the original, Freddy was a sadistic man in life who became even more sadistic after his death. I don't even know what the movie was going for with his character, and it seemed like they were trying to make the ending a surprise, but unless people have been living on the moon under a rock their whole lives, most people already know the "twist" is coming before they start watching the movie. I'm sure the plot had a point, but whatever it is, it doesn't have half the emotional impact that the original managed to have, and I know it had the budget to hire good writers, but instead they spent their entire budget on fake blood and didn't think anyone would notice or care. It's just irritating. You make a remake in order to improve on the original movie, not just to cash in on the name recognition of the original movie with a half-assed attempt at telling a story. the original had an impact with audiences because it toyed with some deep philosophical ideas and questions, and it had a nightmarish dreamlike atmosphere that haunted audiences with the scary thought of what would happen if their dreams really could hurt them. The remake has a bunch of attractive actors and gallons of fake blood. It's insulting to me that people would think horror fans aren't smart enough to realize when a movie is devoid of depth or plot development or character. Those are the things that make a movie endure throughout the years. I usually tend to like remakes better than a lot of horror fans, but this one was just boring. I wanted to fall asleep and get killed by Freddy so I wouldn't have to finish watching it.

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