- 07 May 10
A Greatest Hits package delivered in a drunken karaoke warble
Here’s the hand in the bath bit with poor timing. Here’s the body-bag sequence without the jolt factor. Here’s Jackie Earle Haley playing Robert Englund playing Freddy Krueger. Here’s “Just don’t fall asleep” once more without feeling. A Greatest Hits package delivered in a drunken karaoke warble, A Nightmare On Elm Street proclaims the retooling of a seminal slasher franchise but delivers weary pastiche and fright-free horror.
The Platinum Dunes imprint – a Michael Bay sideline – used to churn out such slick, professional and annoyingly competent remakes as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hitcher. Where did it all go wrong? When did the fun go away? Like last year’s Friday the 13th debacle A Nightmare On Elm Street is largely witless, crushingly perfunctory and surprisingly joyless. Director Samuel Bayer may be one of the more luminous lights emanating from the commercials sector (having presided over everything from Nike spots to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ promo) but he’s no Nightmare on Elm Street scholar.
We’re always happy to see Jackie Earle Haley or Clancy Brown yet everything about this cynical enterprise feels wrong. Flying in the face of genre convention, Freddy is revealed in the opening sequence; Rooney Mara is sweet but she’s no Heather Langenkamp; the drip feed of information regarding the origins story is fluffed all the way; a potentially interesting revision – child molester Freddy may have been innocent when Elm Street’s parents set him on fire – is squandered.
It does not help that it’s just too indecently soon for a Nightmare rehash. Nowadays, Freddy is a Halloween costume; pre-pubescent kids sing the Elm Street nursery rhyme having watched all the key moments on The Simpsons or countless other TV parodies. Freddy may not be dead but neither is he due for resuscitation.
The tone, too, is askew. Much of this franchise’s charm was tied into the decade that spawned it. Away from the heightened camp of the eighties, away from the big hair and the house parties, the monster’s bad puns sound awfully tired.
Even Freddy Vs. Jason had more heart than this. Blasphemy, really.