Movie Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

I think they gave up on summarizing movies at Amazon:

Freddy’s back in the update of Wes Craven’s classic tales of the hideously disfigured dream-stalker and his prey.

This is the only movie in the franchise without Robert Englund as the big bad. He has been replaced with Jackie Earle Haley. So we’ll address that right off: with the make-up you can’t really tell this is JEH, but it is definitely not Robert Englund’s Freddy. The facial look is a lot different, somewhat more realistic in some ways. When he speaks, though, I get full on Rorschach vibes, which is sort of disconcerting given what a total and blatant evil person this Freddy is.

Freddy doesn’t feel as goofy in this movie, at all. He’s more overtly awful, and his reason for being killed is more in our face.

At the same time I spent most of the movie disliking the teens — which is not uncommon in these movies — so I couldn’t really root for Freddy and then I had myself a mess of unlikable teens including the dude from the Sarah Connor Chronicles on the other side. It felt like watching a football game where the one team is definitely a bunch of shits, but they’re playing a divisional rival of my team, so I can’t really choose.

By the end of the movie though, Freddy has become such a direct awful presence that you really want to see him dead. There’s a bit of waffling in the middle where it is implied the kids made up the bad stuff about him, and so it might be that he’s an avenging spirit in a twisted way. But then he puts the female lead in the dress he used to molest her in (shortly after they find never-shown-to-us polaroids of her as a child), and any doubt about Freddy is gone. Screw that guy.

But I think making Freddy such a blatant pedophile might have hurt the franchise in a way: there hasn’t been a sequel to this movie. It was eight years ago. These movies make a lot of money, and have a cult following. There should be more of these slashers. With Halloween and Friday, there’s not really a personality to the “villain”, but the villain still draws them in. Nightmare’s strength has always been that Freddy is entertaining.

This Freddy is worth watching, but he’s also not likeable at all. Period, full stop, this one is a straight up bad guy.

The effects in this were good, with a few great moments that captured some of the magic of previous Nightmare movies, but they didn’t feel as groundbreaking in 2010 (or now, 2018) as the original movies were. That was kind of a let down, although really where can we go for new special effects directions?

The acting was on par, but nothing outstanding. Jackie Earle Haley did a great job given what he had to work with — and in — and the fact this Freddy was such a dick is in part because of how well he played the creep. Some of the cast did really well, some turned in mediocre performances, but overall it was about even with a boost from Freddy. Also, Clancy Brown made the most of his unfortunately small amount of screen time, but he is and has always been a scene stealer.

No nudity which is surprising in the genre but it wasn’t missed — the movie never had a scene that required it. The gore, on the other hand, is a’plenty for me. Nothing over the top, but it hit the mark and often. Of course, with that said that means there was an awful lot of violence — to and from Freddy, mostly.

It’s not the best Nightmare movie, but it isn’t the worst, either.

Next week: we start the Friday the 13th series. I’ll be doing the first two and then the 2009 remake, and then to change gears a bit from Slashers, the final series in this new vs old will be Invasion of the Body Snatchers: the original, the 70s one, and then the 90s “Body Snatchers” film. This leaves us with one extra movie to review to complete the circuit of 13 movies. Each of these series’ has at least one more film in it, so I’m going to pick one from whichever series I determine is my favorite over-all.

Report Card:
Running Time: An hour and thirty-five minutes of Freddy.
Acting: Pretty good for a slasher movie.
Effects: Nothing stood out.
Violence: Oh yes.
Gun Use: Not really.
Gore: Of course. A lot of gore.
Creepy? Freddy definitely is in this one.
Monster Type? A pedophile ghost, again.
Funny? Not really.
Nudity: No.
Pacing: It’s all right.