By Shane M. Dallmann
Look–you knew it was inevitable. And it was inevitable that it would have a huge opening weekend at the very least. We’ve had our new Michael, our new Jason, our new Leatherface–there was no way this was NOT going to happen–so let’s just take a look and see how it fares on its own.
As for Robert Englund being the “only” Freddy Krueger? If that’s how you feel, fine. Perhaps you also feel Sean Connery is the “only” James Bond, and he may well be the original and the best, but the ensuing decades have established that he’s not the only ACCEPTABLE James Bond at the very least. And I could say the same thing about Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, Sherlock Holmes or any other classic character you care to name.
The fact is that Jackie Earle Haley does an admirable and honorable job with the role of Freddy Krueger. He clearly took his role seriously and had no intention of providing a mere Robert Englund impersonation. Hey–this is RORSCHACH we’re talking about–and I seriously doubt they could have landed a better actor for this part. The ELM STREET redux hovers above the slag pile by virtue of Haley alone.
Yep, you heard me… alone. The movie itself… just isn’t very good. Sure, isolated moments here and there work, and the cast certainly tries its best, but the attempt to go back to the roots of the series and “re-imagine” it with a more perverse tone remains just that–an attempt. What we actually get is a severely pedestrian script that cuts corners and spoon-feeds the viewer (honestly, is there ANY good reason at all for Freddy to TELL Nancy that her memories fuel him? He just throws that out there at one point!), plays hell with logic (and I don’t mean of the supernatural variety–are you really asking me to believe that EVERY child involved completely forgot about the original incident, not that I’d actually spoil it here?) and is so focused on the character’s underlying corruption and sickness that it forgets to supply such details as what inspired him to, say, create a set of finger knives to begin with? Or just HOW he became a dream demon at all? (Craven’s original didn’t spell everything out, but at least it alluded to an ancient discipline that enabled certain parties to enter the dreams of others–we get NOTHING on which to hang our hats here)?
The new NIGHTMARE does manage to trump the original on one count–if you think that even the Craven classic had a nonsensical and incomprehensible fadeout, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
And another thing…
…could somebody PLEASE declare a moratorium on characters named “Quentin” and adrenaline hypodermics to the heart? At least in the SAME movie? Really. You’re embarrassing yourselves, people.
Cheers and kudos to Jackie Earle Haley for taking on a thankless task and giving it his all. A mere “meh” to everything else.