Friday, October 25, 2013

Re-Imagining - Day 24

Remember that time you thought I got ranty? That was just a glimpse into the madness. Hold onto your horses, this is going to get messy.

Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Year: 2010
Synopsis: A re-imagining of the horror icon Freddy Krueger, a serial-killer who wields a glove with four blades embedded in the fingers and kills people in their dreams, resulting in their real death in reality.

Tagline: He knows where you sleep.

First off, let's tackle this re-imaginging bullshit. Is this what we are calling remakes now? Re-imaginings?And is this to try and give the screenwriter and director props? Like they put a little something extra in it? Like they actually did some work and put an original idea in it? To give the pretence they improved on the classic they maimed? After watching it, I can safely tell you, this isn't so much a re-imagining, as it is a re-destroying. 

Unlike yesterday where I listed what I didn't like only to cap the review off with what I enjoyed, I am going to do the reverse today. First, I will tell you the strong parts of this remake. Here they are in alphabetical order: 


Zero. Zilch. Zip.

That's right, nothing. I liked nothing about this redo of the 1984 cult classic. Since I am sure you want to know why, I shall detail it for you forthwith. 

Like Rob Zombie's version of Halloween and Marcus Nispel's redos of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, this movie suffered from the 'we have to explain everything' epidemic. I didn't need to know Michael Myer's came from a broken home. I didn't need to know Jason Voorhees liked to play hockey. I didn't need to know Leatherface apparently didn't have a nose. And, this is the most relevant, I didn't need Freddy's paedophilia spelled out for me. 

All of this information these writers put into the remakes of the classics I know and love is utterly frustrating. Mostly because it is freakier not knowing. Not being sure. Trying to figure out if the person is an anti-hero or not. Wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt. And this just happens to be one of those films for me. They never told you flat out what Krueger did to kids in the original. Sure, it was implied, but then there was also the uncomfortable feeling that the lynch mob who burned him may have been wrong, and that's why it was such a brilliant film. 

One would think with this re-imaginging (ha-ha) that the CGI and green screens would make it scarier and more intense. Nope. Because it lacked creativity. The original had better dream sequences, deaths and acting, which is hilarious because it was filmed in 1984. Like the scene with the friend all in plastic, that part in the 84 version freaks me right out, but this one was boring and, somehow, managed to be comical. 

Apparently, this new version of Nightmare on Elm Street had fifteen scripts written for it and the final product is a mish-mash of four of those. Too much material apparently equals too little plot. And for some strange and inexplicable reason they decided to turn Nancy into a walking cliché by making her the social outcast who doesn't fit in but is an extremely gifted artist. In the original, Nancy was popular. She had friends. A relationship with Johnny Depp, for crying out loud. And her last name was Thompson, not Holbrook. Why keep the central character's first name the same and change the last? 

It makes no sense. Was the whole production team high when they decided to smoosh four scripts together? Four! I mean, that's a lot of scripts. Didn't anyone sit back and think it might not work. 

Okay, I don't like Michael Bay, I will admit that right now. But I am not being bias. Just because I find him a womanising jerk with bad hair and a smarmy smile doesn't mean I can't be impartial! Just because he hasn't ever done a good film - yeah, I went there - doesn't mean I can't go into this movie optimistically. After all, he's only been on the board of ruining two other classics for me, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But he was only a producer for this film, so a bad taste isn't left my mouth, right? Fine, maybe there's a little bitterness on the tip of my tongue, but I went into this with an open-mind. Well, as open as my mind can be about remakes. 

Fat lot of good that did me. 

Remember in the original movie how Nancy is drinking coffee on the sly in order to stay awake? That added to her character a certain innocence you couldn't help but love. Apparently in 2010 it is all about sleeping pills and needles to keep yourself awake. The whole original cast proved to be better actors than the ones who came 26 years later. While I know these kids don't have the same names, the same plot plays out but in a much less appetizing way. It baffles me why they would insist on re-imagining a movie only to not add anything worthwhile to it and not do the original justice in any way shape or form. 

And what the hell is with the new tagline? Pathetic. He knows where you sleep. Yeah, in bed. Duh. Besides, he comes for you in your dreams, so shouldn't it be 'He knows when you sleep'? Just a suggestion. And the original's tagline? 

If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming She Won't Wake Up At All... 

They couldn't even best the original's tagline. How embarrassing.

Oh, and are we supposed to believe that this Kyle Gallner is this version heartthrob. Please, the guy looks strung out from the word go! To quote the Sidekick "Are we supposed to believe this is the new Johnny Depp?" Exactly! Greasy mop-haired boy with a gumby expression on his face. Pass. Give me J.D in a crop top any day of the week!

   Look at that tummy! 

And lastly, I tackle the subject of Freddy himself. Dear old Fred. The guy with the knives for fingers. Here's the thing about remaking movies, some characters are so iconic you simply cannot put another person into the role. Bluntly, I love Jackie Earle Haley, adored him as Rorschach in the Watchmen, but he simply couldn't fill the shoes, or sweater, of Robert Englund. The truth hurts, I know. You can stick anyone in the roles of Jason, Michael Meyers and Leatherface and no one will bat an eye because they wear masks and suits, and they aren't exactly big talkers, but Freddy Krueger? You can't. 

Like Pinhead and Doug Bradley, Robert Englund is synonymous with Freddy Krueger. They ARE these characters. Their voices. Their faces. Their movements. These men are what nightmares are made of. You
can slap prosthetics on anyone, but you can't replace heart and personality. These characters were just characters until these men breathed life into them.

And the way they changed the new Krueger disappointed me. Englund made Uncle Freddy into a believable freaky and twisted killer, while Haley stoked the fires of him being a child molester and played the part in an overtly sexual way. This bothered me. Granted, there was some sexualization in the original it wasn't to this extreme. Also, my favourite part about Nightmare on Elm Street has always been the quick-wit Freddy had and his sick twisted sense of humour. While there were a handful of humorous lines in this 2010 version, they all seemed to be stolen from other Freddy movies, and sounded so much better with Englund's voice behind them.

In the end, just avoid it. If my long winded rant can't convince you, nothing will.

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