A Nightmare on Elm Street review ?

This remake of the Wes Craven 1984 classic is not a bad film, though it's not a good film, either. It's so completely and utterly pointless that it's almost offensive.

Hollywood today has been taken over by the remake culture. And to be honest, all these remakes, reboots, reimaginings, re-engineerings, revisionings and retoolings simply make me want to regurgitate. Most of the time they are totally unnecessary, just a greedy grab by the accountants who are now running the studios to cash in on a title that was once successful and made a buck or two. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a perfect example. If you don't know the story by now, then where have you been for the past 26 years? Gardener (a janitor in the original) Freddy Krueger (Haley) was abusing children at an elementary school and hounded by a lynch mob of parents, who burned him alive. Years later, he returns as an unstoppable bogeyman invading the dreams of the now-teenaged children of those parents. And if Freddy manages to kill them in their dreams, then they die in real life – albeit appearing to be a suicide.

All the elements you'd expect to find in a Nightmare on Elm Street film are present. And yet ... this one just isn't scary. And the biggest problem of all? It's boring. Director Bayer, who until now has only directed music videos, relies on cheap scare tactics to make the audience jump. So we get Freddy suddenly appearing behind his victims, accompanied by loud music to let you know that yes, this scene is supposed to be scary. Haley is a serviceable replacement for Robert Englund as the knife-fingered villain, but he deserves a better script than this mess. And the kids are all dull and forgettable – there is so little character development that you really don't give a toss when they die. We get a couple of retreads of set pieces from the original – the claws-in-the-bathtub scene, and the face-stretching-out-of-the-wall – but all they serve to do is remind us how good Craven's original film was.

There were three great movie monsters created in the 70s and 80s – Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. All have now appeared in remakes, but not one has bettered the original. Doesn't that tell you something? Trust me, don't bother going to the cinema to see this; instead, sit down and watch the Wes Craven original again. You'll sleep a lot easier if you do.

Official Site
A Nightmare on Elm Street at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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