The oringinal A Nightmare on Elm Street has a rabid fan-base. They’re highly protective of their slasher and treat Robert Englund as God-like (and rightly so). Thus, doing a remake of the original was always going to provoke a negative reaction, but to not case Mr. Englund? Then… then they changed the look of Freddy’s face! Now it’s getting in to death threat territory!
I’m not going to tell you the plot of A Nightmare on Elm Street because if you don’t know it, you need shooting. Simple as that.
I’m pleased to say that I think they’ve done the character of Freddy proud. There’s been a ton of negative reviews, but I think most of them are folks who just can’t look past the 80’s and Mr. Englund. I too was gutted to read that he wouldn’t be playing Freddy, but – credit where it’s due – Mr Haley has done well with what he had. Let me explain.
The face of Freddy has changed. Once a highly prized secret… the cat is now out of the bag, so to speak, and we see Freddy as a more realistic burn victim.
This I think presented some problems to Haley’s speech as he sounds quite emotionless and his lips barely move. Maybe it’s intentional, but the voice could do with a bit more work, in saying that though – as the film progresses the voice does seem to get better, I’m not sure if it’s just the lines giving him more to be emotive about, but Freddy certainly picks up pace after the half-way mark.
The make-up while probably being realistic for a burn victim, it’s a bit too… busy (for want of a better word) as rather than looking him in the eye, you’re too busy looking at scarring, visible muscle tissue and how pale the skin looks. I do prefer the early-to-middle Englund-era look.
The film is a bit low on the scare factor, but I prefer to think of Freddy as being less of a scare monger and more of a hiding-in-the-shadows-bad-ass which is exactly what he does in this film.
One thing I did expect was to have 30mins of teen babble, maybe a shadow of Freddy at the 40min mark and then some teeny-bashing for the last quarter. WRONG! Freddy (and his face) is visible within the first ten minutes and pops up throughout the film which is something I didn’t expect, so kudos to the film makers for not keeping Freddy in the shadows forever.
Gore is sadly lacking in the remake. There’s the usual quadruple slash marks and the odd cutting here and there, but nothing really gory. Right near the end we finally get some decent gore, but I think the film could have benefited from some spilled guts here and there.
There’s certainly plenty of sickness in the film with Freddy prior reputation as a kiddy-fiddler, but the script plays on that to good effect. I’ll say no more as it’d spoil the story.
I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised by the remake. All the classic scenes (from the original) are here all-be-it a tad different, but they’re there in one form or another and Freddy, while being serious most of the time, still has a quip here and there, like when Nancy is stuck in goop (the equivalent of the original sticky-stairs scene) Freddy quips “Now that’s a wet dream!”
While the remake didn’t give me wet dreams, it did leave me with a sense of relief that it isn’t as bad as the fanboys make it out to be, and that the makers have left the legend of Freddy Krueger intact.