out of Five
Running time: 95
As pointless remakes go, this is by no means the worst of them, thanks to a decent cast and a liberal use of shock and gore, though the 2010 Freddy is significantly less scary than the original.
What's it all about?
Directed by Samuel Bayer, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a remake of Wes Craven's 1984 slasher classic. When the teenagers of Elm Street start dying violently in their sleep, plucky teen Kris (Katie Cassidy) discovers that they've all been sharing the same dreams, about a scary man called Freddy (Jackie Earle Haley) with a fedora, a tattered red and green jumper, a burnt face and a glove with knives for fingers.
Realising that they have to stay awake to stay alive and out of Freddy's clutches, Kris's friends (Thomas Dekker, Rooney Mara and Kyle Gallner) attempt to discover who Freddy is and how they're connected to him, but they're unprepared for what they find.
Despite the fact that Bayer is clearly no Wes Craven, he does at least appear to know his way around a horror scene. Accordingly all the various shock and gore moments are well handled and there's a particularly well edited attack sequence which cuts between the dream world and the real world to good effect.
In addition, the young cast (several of whom are familiar TV faces) are excellent, with Cassidy in particular delivering some top class screaming (a skill she no doubt honed on Harper's Island) and Gallner demonstrating that he could quite happily take over Michael Pitt's career since Michael Pitt doesn't seem to be using it.
Aside from being utterly redundant in the first place (adding YouTube, Google and mobile phones isn't really enough to justify a remake), the film's biggest problem is that the 2010 incarnation of Freddy simply isn't as scary as Robert Englund's original, iconic version. This is partly due to the dodgy latex make-up job and partly because Haley just doesn't inhabit the role the way Englund did. And, really, if you can't do a remake with a scarier Freddy then why bother?
Well made and well acted, A Nightmare on Elm Street scrapes a pass due to pushing the right horror buttons enough to qualify as brainless Friday night entertainment, but don't bother seeing it if you have any affection for the original film.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (R16)