• Nightmare On Elm Street, A (2010)



    Released by: Warner Brothers
    Released on: 10/5/2010
    Director: Samuel Bayer
    Writer: Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer
    Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Connie Britton
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    Samuel Bayer’s remake of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street is completely unnecessary. To succeed, a remake should at least improve on a few aspects of the original film, and as good as that original is, there is room for improvement. Bayer’s film doesn’t do that though, instead it replaces effective and creative special effects with CGI wankery and doesn’t really do a whole lot else with the story or the characters.

    Following the plot of the original film quite closely, the movie follows a bunch of kids who all grew up in the same neighborhood - Quentin (Kyle Gallner), Nancy (Rooney Mara), Kris (Katie Cassidy), and Jessie (Thomas Dekker) – all of whom are having bizarre visitations in their dreams from a fright glove wearing motherfucker named Freddy Kruger (Jackie Earle Haley). He’s got a dirty sweater and a burned up face and a few bad one liners to offer up and he likes to cut things with his claw-glove contraption. When people start dying off, the teens realize that this Kruger guy is stalking them in their dreams and set out to figure out why he’d want to do that. Their investigations lead them to the death of a school janitor who may have molested them in their younger days and who died at the hands of their parents.

    Initial reaction to the news of this remake was a bit of a roller coaster – fans went through the initial poopooing of the idea until it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley, still hot from his excellent turn as Rorschach in Watchmen, would play Freddy. There was no reason to replace Robert Englund, as the makeup effects are pretty much ageless here, but if you are going to use someone else, Haley is a decent choice and this seemed to sort of ease the idea a bit. Then the movie came out and it was just as bad as everyone thought it would be despite the fact that, contrary to popular belief, Haley’s not bad at all in the role. It’s unfortunate then that everyone else is. The teenagers in this film are, to borrow from a Sex Pistols song, pretty vacant. They look good, they wear the latest styles and have nice hear and don’t appear to have any obvious zits, but they’re boring one dimensional stereotypes that serve as nothing but claw fodder. Craven’s original didn’t have the greatest character development in horror movie history but at least it’s Nancy wasn’t annoying – the 2010 version is.

    Puzzlingly enough, effects that were done quite cheaply by Craven and his crew are replaced in this new version with less effective (and probably more expensive) CGI effects. That great scene where Englund leaned into a rubber sheet over the bed to make it look like he was coming out of the wall? Now it’s computer generated and it looks lousy. Why the filmmakers would choose to replace something that could have been done for about thirty bucks with a soulless computer generated replacement is a mystery, but it happens time and again throughout this movie and it doesn’t do the film any favors.

    Visually the film is okay looking if you’re able to look past the fact that it’s utilizing that grim, gritty, brown-heavy color palette popular in modern horror films of the last five or six years instead of the originals natural and colorful look. The cinematography is good, the sound design is very impressive and the sets and production values are all quite good – but the film has no personality, and if there’s one thing that all the original Nightmare On Elm Street films, good or bad, was personality. Love him or hate him, Freddy Kruger has always been an interesting character. Bayer and company have succeeded only in making him boring.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    A Nightmare On Elm Street looks good, but not quite perfect, in this 2.401 AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. The color palette used in the film is a pretty grim one with a lot of browns and earth tones used throughout, but colors generally look pretty good regardless and skin tones are nice, if a bit hot looking. The black levels show a bit of crush and some compression artifacts which tends to hurt fine shadow detail, however. There aren’t any problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement and a nice bit of film grain works well the context of the visuals. Overall, things do look pretty impressive and detail is generally very strong, but the compression artifacts keep this one from scoring perfect marks.

    The main mix on this release comes in the form of an English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, though alternate Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are available in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Subtitles are available in the same four languages. Getting back to that lossless mix, however – it’s a good one with lots of surround activity and a nice rumble in the low end. Rear Channel activity is frequent and well placed and the levels are well balanced. The dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and everything from subtle effects like the creak of a door to more bombastic effects like fire sound well defined and very strong.

    There aren’t a ton of extras on this disc, but there are a few starting with the Focus Points section which contains a collection of short documentaries including Makeup Makes the Character (3:34), Micronaps (2:38), The Hat (2:31), Practical Fire (2:32), The Sweater (2:20), The Glove (2:24), and The Victims (3:51). These are all pretty self explanatory as far as the content goes and each one does offer a bit of insight into its particular area. Freddy Kruger Reborn (13:54) is an interesting piece that points out some of the differences between the original Freddy and this version and which also includes some input from Jackie Earle Haley. An alternate opening, alternate ending, and single deleted scene are also included, as are menus and chapter stops. The disc is Blu-ray live enabled so you can access more content online if you want. All of the extras on the Blu-ray disc are in high definition.

    The Blu-ray release comes packaged in a slipcase with a lenticular cover that also includes digital copy and a DVD version of the movie.

    The Final Word:

    A Nightmare On Elm Street looks good and sounds good and features a decent performance from Jackie Earle Haley who doesn’t do a bad job of following in Englund’s footsteps, but it really does fall flat on its face as an overly glossy retread that doesn’t improve in any way on the original. Warner’s Blu-ray looks pretty good, sounds even better and contains some decent supplements but that doesn’t take away from the pointlessness of the feature itself.