Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

As promised, today we're looking at a movie remake that I have a particular dislike for. And that movie is the attempt to reboot the iconic supernatural serial killer known as Freddy Krueger. A movie brought to us by our favourite awful director and general soulless Hollywood figure, Michael "EXPLOSIONS" Bay. Yes, once again, Bay sank his claws deep into a beloved iconic franchise, rubbing himself all over it. This resulted in a movie that was supposed to make Freddy scary again, according to the people in charge of it.

The end result was less frightening than someone asking for your hall pass.

The major issue with the idea that Freddy needed to be made scary again is...Wes Craven already did it. His film, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, already gave us a new take on Freddy that was both frightening and imaginative, having the famous villain cross over into our world as he stalked Heather Langenkamp and her son. This new more imposing version of Freddy even tried going after Wes himself and one draft of the script called for the writer/director to show up in a van with his eyelids removed so he wouldn't fall asleep while writing the script for the movie they were all living.

At least then he could finally stare down Michael Berryman.
But, as is the way of the Hollywood machine, they thought they could do better than the man who just sadly left us. Thus came the Platinum Dunes produced A Nightmare of Elm Street film, a movie which proved to be a nightmare for many fans of the series and the classic first film especially. And, as always, they did manage to drag in some talent. We got Jackie Earle Haley taking up the mantle of Freddy and Rooney Mara as the leading lady, and Clancy Brown even stopped in to try to make some fans of good things happy. They even got Wesley Strick, writer of the classic film Arachnophobia and the Cape Fear remake, on to pen it. But then the underlying problems startied right there, because as talented as Strick has proven to be on some screenplays...he also wrote Doom, the pretty awful video game adaptation. As video game movies go, it wasn't nearly the worst but...it suffered from Resident Evil Syndrome (i.e. it wanted to be cool more than it wanted to be scary). Going into this film I had severe reservations.

Much like Alice did upon seeing the pizza Freddy ordered for their lunch date.
The film opens with our character Kris, who is just here to make the audience think she might be the lead...except this is a remake and everyone knows Nancy is the lead because the filmmakers don't the balls (or creativity) to throw a curve-ball and change that fact. Anyway, Kris is meeting up with Dean, her super dreamy boytoy. But it turns out Dean is a bit too too dreamy, so he falls asleep and Freddy slits his throat. To everyone else though, it appears he's slicing open his own throat, which can be a bit shocking.

"The apple pie was awful, so now I'm going to give you my review in the most over-dramatic manner possible."
At Dreamy McThroatslitty's funeral, the two friends see a photo of Kris and her apple pie hating boyfriend as children, which makes her remark that she doesn't recall them ever knowing one another as children. Hell, she doesn't even remember knowing him before high school, which is probably kinda weird because Springwood can't be that big of a town. Especially since they both happened to live on Elm Street. I know I'd remember living on the same street as a famous serial killer...except Freddy wasn't a serial killer in this movie's new timeline. Wait...so why was he killed? Oh, don't worry, we'll get to that shit.

You can go listen to some music while you wait. I hear Dokken has some good songs.
But yeah, Kris (which totally isn't short for Kristina because then she might be called Tina) also notices a creepy little girl staring at her at the funeral who promptly gets her ankle grabbed by Freddy, prompting the loud jump scare noise. This is what horror movies have become? Cheap jump scares and loud noises to scare the audience? That's weird, because I always thought making a movie scary was more about setting a creepy atmosphere and having a genuinely menacing antagonist. Silly me, I forgot that we live in the world of the Pop-Tart jumpscare.

Its hot frosting means death. Or it's just really stupid. Let's go with that one.
So, where in the original we got a genuinely scary performance from Robert Englund as Freddy that was built up slowly, we will not be getting that here. Instead we've got Freddy showing himself almost immediately and cheap loud noises to make the audience jump. I wonder if Strick included the stupid jumpscare noise in his script? Moving on, we get a really terrible CGI version of the iconic wall scene from the original and it looks about as bad as you'd expect. Seriously, The Haunting remake had better CGI in it and it was laughably bad with its attempts to be menacing.

I truly think the actress is sleeping here because of how boring this has to be.
Now, I know what people are going to say, but it's impossible not to compare this scene to the original, because that's what will always come to mind when you are watching a movie that is trying so hard to be like it while failing at the same time. In the original film this scene was truly creepy, with the face and hands slowly coming out of the wall above a sleeping Nancy. It was a practical effect as well, which added to the creepiness of it for the viewer, as it was obvious the it was real. Seeing it in CGI like this isn't creepy, it's doofy. I've seen scarier Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 9, which was actually something good with Freddy in it. But yeah, why build tension when we can toss some CGI bollocks up there. That's how horror works, right? But enough of that, we have to follow Kris to Silent Hill.

Come on, we all know I wasn't the only one thinking it.
In the original film, this was Nancy's scene where she saw her dead friend and it was really unnerving. Here it looks like a scene from one of the Silent Hill movies. I'm just looking at it and waiting for Pyramid Head to wander in and rip off her skin. Or save her from Freddy. It really depends on the movie, honestly. Anywho, Freddy attempts to be menacing and...it leads to nothing, as he doesn't kill her and the movie trudges along. Yay. But she had to live, because they needed her to die like in the original! But worse! And with more dog killing!

I guess the dog helped burn Freddy or something so he had to die? I don't know, you explain this.
Yeah, Kris gets killed exactly like Tina died in the original, which is supper shocking because they're two totally different characters, right? No, really, they are, because one was in a good movie and that character definitely isn't in this movie. Because this is a Platinum Dunes movie that can't have explosions, they instead do what many shitty remakes do: try to outdo the original. This results in Freddy tossing Kris around the room rather than the whole dragging her up the wall and ceiling bit in the source, because...well, I'm sure someone thought it was a good idea. I'd blame the producer, but he probably would've had her explode.

I hear he pays his housekeeper by blowing up a bag of money in her room while she's sleeping. Then he writes her a check, because all the money is on fire.
Now that Kris is dead, we can actually focus on our actual lead. It's a good thing that it only took a third of the film to set up her death and that Rooney Mara as Nancy is about as likable as Kate Mara as Sue Storm. Yep, truly great things. Kris' boyfriend, Jesse, runs out of her house and does the sensible thing to do when you're covered in your ex-girlfriend's blood...he sets off the alarm and goes to Nancy, because I guess he got confused earlier about who the main character was supposed to be. Don't worry, Jesse, the movie was too. This is especially weird though as the only other scene where Nancy and Jesse met gave the impression that they weren't even friends or really close at all, so why'd he really run over to her place? But his confusion/stupidity abound and he ends up running outside again where he quickly gets picked up by the police while covered in blood. No wonder Jesse is so confused though, because I am too. For example, why did the cops show up at Nancy's house when the alarm went off at Kris' place?

Maybe they're the Vegan Police? It'd make about as much sense, at this point.
But it's not like Jesse is important or anything, right? We can just write him off and jump to another character. I mean, to get that impression you'd have to have had the movie focus primarily on his now dead ex and his trying to comfort her and...oh wait. Swing and a miss, movie. That's what we get though as we see Freddy scare Johnny Derp kid here with his most spooky jumpscare yet....HE TURNS AROUND!!!

"We're playing cards here, you wanna be dealt in?"
And since we've now showed off Quentin (aka Johnny Derp), we really don't need Jesse anymore, so Freddy goes and kills him after being kinda...whiny. Yeah, this is the Freddy we're getting here. He whines and acts like he's trying really hard to be scary. I'm sorry, but that's not Freddy. Freddy was a sheer presence when he was on screen, exuding a casual calm and even delight at the prospect of murdering his victims. The one we get here just seems so desperate to be imposing that he comes off silly and almost sounds like he's doing a Christian Bale Batman voice. I guess that's why they threw in all of the CGI and loud noises, because they could tell this wasn't going to be scary with the way Freddy was written, meaning they had to try to make you jump somehow. Cue Jesse's chest exploding all over his cell. Take it away, John Hurt!

Someone get a mop for Jesse and a bandage for Mr. Hurt.
Johnny Derp and Nancy start digging into their past in an attempt to link all the deaths together, but it's really hard to care because Rooney Mara feels like she barely cares. She asks her mom about the possibility of them knowing a guy named Freddy and it's said with all the urgency and feeling of someone of a Ben Stein performance. Then we get them once more attempting to recreate a scene from the original film, but I....it's just...well...is Nancy bathing in a giant fucking toilet? Because that looks like a fucking toilet seat there and I am deeply confused.

It is fitting though, as this movie does remind me of something one might find in a toilet.
Now, we're going to skip ahead past a lot of stuff now because I want to not focus on Freddy's lack of menace, because if I did that we'd be here for a while. We see Johnny Derp have a dream about Freddy's death, where he sees the scared man get hunted down by the neighborhood parents and burned alive. Why? Well, it's because they think he was a child molester, but there was actually no evidence of this and, as Quentin here points out, kids do say things sometimes without realizing it might sound worse than it actually is. This is one element of the film that I thought had promise, as it makes Freddy's mission one of revenge on the people who murdered an innocent man by striking back at their kids. It's an interesting idea, because it really sets the story set-up on its head and makes you sympathetic towards the antagonist as you can understand his reason for being a vengeful wraith. Except they undo all of that because Johnny Derp and Not Quite Nancy find out that he actually did molest them.

I don't much care for that at all.
See, this is a big problem I have with this movie. The whole Freddy as a child molester thing being a major plot point. In the original film it was said he killed kids, yes, but it never really said that he molested them. In the film Freddy's Dead it even set up his chief motivation behind killing kids, as his daughter was taken away from him and he wanted to take their kids from them. Yes, that's really terrible and Freddy was a terrible person for doing. But does he really need to be a molester on top of it? It just feels like they're trying to avoid having him be a child murderer by making him be something that also destroys kids. In a fictional sense, I always enjoyed Freddy as a kid. He was creepy and funny and he mostly killed teenagers. I didn't really like teenagers all that much as a kid, which may be because my teenage sister would do things like put my toys out of my reach. This is why I had dreams of us playing together, because I had fun with his films. Him being a molester isn't fun and it feels like they're simply using what is a real problem as cheap shock value to differentiate their piece of shit remake from the original film.

"You tell 'em, kid! This movie's worse than when I try to masturbate without taking off my glove first!"
The rest of the movie unfolds like the original, essentially, only without Johnny Derp dying like his original movie self did. i guess because he's not actually Nancy's boyfriend it means he gets to not have on of the best deaths in horror movie history. Or it's just that they were too cheap to attempt recreating the scene so they let him live. They just do the finale fight scene in the preschool insteadBut don't worry, Freddy shows up to pull mom through the window again! Only it's a mirror this time...yeah, I don't even care enough to get angry at that. It's just more shitty CGI bullshit. Enjoy.

He looks like he's gonna throw his back out with how he grabs her.
This movie is, in my honest opinion, one of the worst remakes out there. Yeah, it had a lot of money and talent behind it, but it kept trying too hard to the point where you feel like the movie is a needy person desperate for your attention. The child molester thing is a bad replacement for the the original serial killer plot and it just makes Freddy look like a bitchy wraith more than a vengeful one because he's after them for tattling on him. I mean, for fuck's sake, this was so stupid from beginning to end. There was literally a scene I glossed over when we see an Asian kid dying on webcam....how did the video get uploaded? Who knows? Probably the same way the characters in Smiley can be on webcam without having a webcam. Yes, I do intend to talk about that shit too at some point, don't worry.

Let's try to focus on one bad horror movie with irritating characters at a time.
The CGI in here is really lame and adds nothing creepy or foreboding to the overall film, which is just perfect for this movie. What do I mean? Well, I mean that this movie didn't try to be creepy or foreboding, instead spending all of its time on jumpscares and Jackie Earl Freddy laughing at his own non-jokes. Had the movie attempting to set up a genuinely creepy atmosphere and maybe built Freddy up slowly before revealing him, it might've been somewhat scary. Just like how if they'd stuck with the idea of him being wrongfully accused of being a molester only to be burned alive for a crime he didn't commit, it would've made for a more interesting motivation. All they really did though is make a movie that comes off as annoying with how desperately it's grasping for your attention. I can't speak for people with short attention spans, but this feels like the sort of movie that was made with the hopes it would keep with them somewhat entertained. I know if I had a short attention span though, I would've turned it off before Kris got killed because it just wasn't pulling me in.

"You....you don't have to be so mean about it..."
I'm sorry if you like this movie, but it is easily one of the biggest pieces of shit I've have to choke down and I hate the fact that I had to rewatch it for this review, because it just reminded me of why I never even thought about watching it again. Wes Craven once said that this movie was his least favourite film in the series and I would have to agree, because as silly as some of the later films were, at least they're enjoyable bad. This is just bad in the same way that farting during oral sex is. No one wants it and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. So, until I get to talk about one Jackie Earl Haley's good performances, I'll be here attempting to wash the bad taste of this out of my mind. Later days, bleeders.

"You've got something in your eye...let me get that for you..."

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