Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

In my own opinion, the best of the big three slasher series I watched growing up was the Nightmare on Elm Street series. As all kids do I tried to figure out ways to avoid the horrible killers from the movies I watched. Here were a number of my solutions
Bookmonkey’s tips to avoiding the killers

1) Don’t be involved in a childhood event involving the death of a kid with a troubled sibling/parent/babysitter (Prom Night)

2) Don’t go to summer camp (Friday the 13th)

3) Don’t babysit (Halloween)

4) Don’t be a jerk to the quiet girl in class (Carrie)

5) Don’t be suspiciously nice to the quiet girl in class (Carrie)

In the case of Freddy Krueger (the villain from the Elm Street series), your only option is as follows.

Don’t Fall Asleep.

The genius of the Elm Street movies was pretty simple – as everyone sleeps, and everyone dreams, what if the killer only existed in dreams. The films worked on both the real world level, where the kids worked desperately to stay awake and in a bizarre dream world level, where virtually nothing could save them once they were asleep. The original series has both strong and week entries (the best are parts 1 and 3 followed by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), and definitely rank among some of my favourite scary films.

Then in 2009 I started seeing trailers for the reimagining. The movie looked sleek, and the tone reflected the creepy and frightening look of the original film. Honestly the main reason I didn’t check it out in theatres was the hiring of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. I was a traditionalist and considering the character requires total body makeup I wasn’t sure why they wouldn’t hire my Freddy, Robert Englund for the newest film.

But, after checking out both reimaginings of Halloween and Friday the 13th, I decided to check out the newest version of Nightmare.

The big change in the reimagining? There is a significant question of whether or not Freddy was innocent, and therefore justified in his killings. The film shows us in dream flashbacks the mob mentality of the people who originally killed him (it is their now-teenaged children who Freddy targets) and asks the question, what if he was innocent?

Although I didn’t get the same feeling of respect for the source material that I got withHalloween, the film does look very good, the actors are well cast (and yes that includes Jackie Earle Haley – who really creeped me out), and the idea of micro-sleep, wherein the characters begin to have waking dreams as they hit massive levels of sleep deprivation, were pretty cool. My biggest problems involved the special effects, virtually everything was done with computer animation, and it simply didn’t posses the same level of reality that the stop-motion effects of the original series had.

Although I did purchase the film to check it out, I didn’t keep it, instead I traded it in for a boxed set of the first four films in the original series. Oh yeah, and I bookmarked the music video for Dokken’s Dream Warriors (hands down the coolest tune out of a horror film I’ve ever come across – sorry Cry, little Sister)

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