Friday, April 30, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the Freddy

With my Twitter name being FreddysFingers and my extreme geek pride in my Robert Englund photo, one can assume that I am a huge Nightmare on Elm Street fan and if you are one of those people… you assumed correct. Elm Street is my #3 favorite horror movie of all time so naturally I would think the remake would be good or at least fun. I was wrong. It was bad, really, really bad. I have good things to say about it but not nearly as many as compared to the bad things that I found.

What I liked:
➢ I loved what Steve Jablonsky did with the score. He took the original synth score of Charles Bernstein and made it darker, grittier and little more heavy-handed. I kept with the original tune right down to the nursery rhyme.

➢ The set pieces in the film, especially in the dreamworld, were pretty damn good. The restaurant was dark and almost surreal with the color and the boiler room was actually a pretty frightening place. They managed to keep the set looking like it was straight out of a nightmare… a great aesthetic part of the film.

➢ The scene in which Kris was thrown around the room by Freddy and when she gets hurled on top of the ceiling was done quite well. It was brutal and an overall great adaptation of the original scene. Even the gore, when Freddy slashes her, was pretty well done.

➢ The scene in the pharmacy when Nancy experiences the ‘micro naps’ and Freddy attacks her was brilliantly lit, shot and edited. It was probably one of the more frightening scenes in the movie and it played out like a real waking nightmare. The cuts back and forth make you disoriented but at the same time you are forced into the mood.

➢ The other scene when Nancy sees Kris in the body bag was also pretty intense and I’ll admit it freaked me out. I guess it was just so bizarre and a great take on the original scene.

➢ I don’t want to say anything about the appearance because I will get to that but what Freddy does with his glove is actually pretty cool and intimidating. He flexes his fingers to make his blades scratch up against each other and I thin it’s a great taunting mechanism.

➢ Freddy himself had some good lines here and there but I think one of the best ones is, “How’s this for a wet dream?” I almost plays on his sadistic, pedophile nature.

That’s pretty much all there is good about this movie. Now, onto the laundry list of bad things.

What I disliked:
➢ I thought I would actually like the new design of Freddy but I didn’t. He looks so weird and alien. I couldn’t take him seriously because he had weird teeth and everything. I don’t want to be mean or anything but he looked like an ape at one point.

➢ They also made Freddy serious, which I get because they want a more realistic approach I guess but that’s not who Freddy is. Freddy is somebody who enjoys killing and who has a perverted sense of humor. They could have gone serious and still be a little goofy but I guess it would be too much like Joker from The Dark Knight.

➢ I hated Freddy’s back-story. They turned him into a groundskeeper and took away the haunted and fucked up childhood that Freddy had as a kid. Plus, to have the parents burn Freddy down in a warehouse made now sense because that’s really overreacting to alleged pedophilia.

➢ There was so much redundancy throughout the movie both spoken and action wise. Why does Nancy burn herself to say awake but then leaves the car a second later? Wouldn’t leaving the car wake you up? Also, my favorite exposition dialogue is this: Nancy: “I think this is where he lived.” Quentin: “This is his home.” Those are just a few to name.

➢ The transitions between the dreamworld and the real world were so awkward, they weren’t fluid or random just awkward. It felt like somebody took two different movies from two different genres and spliced them together.

➢ I didn’t really understand the purpose of the boiler room considering that the basement of the pre-school wasn’t that complex in its pipework nor did it have the look of the overly exaggerated boiler room they had in the dreamworld.

➢ Personally, I think they just threw the glove in there because they needed it. Freddy himself did not need the glove at all.

➢ Freddy was just Freddy throughout the whole movie and he didn’t make himself into anything. The original had him literally part of his dreamworld (ex: having his mouth become a part of the phone). Here, he just is and doesn’t take the form of anything. It was kind of a let down.

➢ The whole ‘Freddy popping out of the wall’ scene was terribly computerized.

➢ I really did not like the ripoff of The Faculty when Quentin breaks off the blade from the giant paper cutter.

➢ Nancy just right away jumps to conclusions thinking that her mom is hiding something when there is nothing to allude, before, to that. It just seemed rushed.

➢ I hated Nancy in this one. She is a quiet, whiny teenager who likes to draw a lot and nowhere near the commanding and quiet ballsy Nancy of the original. I didn’t feel sorry for her nor did I identify with her at all.

➢ The rest of the characters are also really unlikeable.

➢ When Quentin flips out at the pharmacy because he couldn’t get his prescription pills, why couldn’t he just buy caffeine pills?

➢ I hated that they kept flipping back and forth between Freddy’s innocents. First it hints that he was innocent since Freddy had a pretty convincing monologue, then picture reveal that he wasn’t, then a flashback contradicts that and then we realize that he wasn’t innocent. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

➢ One of the biggest problems that I had was; how the hell did those kids block out what Freddy did to them? Even if you were five-years-old, you would remember having a creepy groundskeeper abuse you with knives! Either you would turn into a mute or you would have nightmares throughout your entire life and not have them sporadically turn up. It was a huge plot hole.

➢ Nothing ever really occurred on Elm Street aside from a few actual nightmares. The preschool was out of the neighborhood and most of the kills were too… Freddy never lived on Elm Street so the title, a Nightmare ON Elm Street, doesn’t serve as a double meaning. It just seems pointless.

All in all, it seems like I loathed this film and that’s not true. When I went into the screening, I went in with an open mind and I turned out hating it. I didn’t read any reviews or anything so I was completely untainted. The reason why I nitpick is because I hold the original one very close to my heart, in fact, I rank it as my #3 greatest horror movie of all time so I feel like Platinum Dunes could have done so much more with this but they just rushed it out and didn’t do Jack. Honestly, this isn’t the worst remake because I would rather watch this than Friday the 13th or Halloween 2.

My buddy and I were talking and I think that we were able to isolate one of the problems with this movie: The horror fans/movie fans who grew up in the 80s watching the original are about 30 or so years old and those of us who grew up in the 90s watching the original are about 20 years old; there is a generational gap where you have a lot of people who will always remember the first one for how scary it was and you don’t have a lot of younger kids who know that feeling. A majority of the moviegoers are within the ages of 18-35 years old and they all hold the original one in high regard because of the memories they have attached to it. So, the problem is this: they are dishing out the remakes way too early and way too rushed. The end result is an unsatisfactory remake.


Jon Walmsley said...

Nice review there dude.

It's obvious that you're an old-school fanboy, so I was expecting you to trash the film in a 'blah blah... not MY Freddy... blah blah' style, but you actually took the time to criticise the film on it's own merits as well, and also praise what it does well.

I think there'll be lots of reviews slating it for pissing over the heritage of the series and what not, but it's good to read comments by a true fan who can actually talk about the film in it's own right.

I'll be watching it anyway though, as it's obviously not a total train-wreck of a movie, and I'm not a precious fan of the originals (despite still liking them).


The Film Connoisseur said...

Ive read reviews that are similar to yours. Some say the film is too similar to the original and doesnt bring anything new to the table, but they all say its not all that bad, that there are some enjoyable elemnts to it, so its half and half. I guess it could have been worse, but Ive still got to see it for myself.

I posted an article on the chronological events that happened to Freddy, from childhood to the moment where he receives his powers. You might enjoy it:

Andre said...

I agree with most of your good and bad- except I feel like this remake was made to concentrate solely on the original and none of the sequels so maybe it just feels like you're putting too much reliance on the Freddy of the sequels?

I liked that he wasn't entirely goofy because the original Freddy compared to the sequels is like world's apart. And he did say a few goofy things tho! That wet dream joke was probably the best example.

I also think people are a little too Jackie Earle Haley wacky. People are already raving about how great his performance was and I don't think I can really agree. I agree with you on the face- but he also felt really cartoonish in his acting and voice at times! And I'm sorry but seeing the freddy as groundkeepers Freddy---how can you NOT think he's a molestor? haha...such a creeper.

It's funny because after I wrote my review I felt like it seemed like I hated it too- but like you that's not true. It's lightyears better than Halloween or F13 remakes that's for sure. And I was pleasantly pleased and surprised with a lot of it. There just happened to be a lot of little things that I didn't love!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

I'm sort of glad the he wasn't completely wacky but I feel like he still could have been dark and somewhat taunting. Haley's performance was what the director wanted and I don't think they gave him (or maybe he didn't want to) room to create his own character. Either way, it was rushed.

Jay Amabile said...

I'm in the thirtysomething crowd - haven't seen the film yet but I am very skeptical because I LOVE the first one and the original series of films so much. I will check it out though. Thanks for the review.

Gore Whore said...

This really, really breaks my heart. I was so looking forward to it and hoping it would be good. I trust your opinion but of course, I will still have to see for myself. =)

Post a Comment