Possible Spoilers if you've never watched a horror movie or the original Nightmare before.
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Starring: Jackie Earl Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara
Writers: Wesley Strick/Eric Heisserer
Director: Samuel Bayer
Company: New Line Cinema

Horror fans rejoice; the latest remake, A Nightmare on Elm Street, is not nearly bad as the ones that have come before it (Friday the 13th I'm looking at you!). Thanks to solid lead actors and some decent scares, it manages to not spit too much into the face of its predecessors. However, there are still problems that plague Nightmare from being as good as it could have been.

A Nightmare on Elm Street has generally the same story as the movie it is remade from: a group of kids are terrorized in their dreams by a mysterious killer who wields a knife-embedded glove and looks like he just came out of an oven. Unfortunately for these kids, he's not just there to give them a spook and cause them to wake up in sweats; he is after their blood, and when he kills them in their dreams...they die in real life. The story centers around two teenagers in particular, Quentin (Kyle Gallner) and Nancy (Rooney Mara), who are fighting the effects of insomnia to find out why this man, who calls himself Freddy (Jackie Earl Haley), has chosen them...and why their parents won't give them a straight answer.

I love Robert Englund, don't get me wrong. He originated the Freddy Krueger role and made it iconic, but come on now: if they had to remake such a legendary horror series, Jackie Earl Haley is not only a perfect choice, he is the perfect choice. Haley has made his comeback off of playing creeps, and he continues to show how he's the best creep in town (that is actually a compliment, believe it or not). He inhibits the role really well, and he makes the character creepy (until the script decides otherwise, but we'll get there later). Kyle Gallner, who I've seen pop up in things but never for an extended period of time, does excellent as Quentin and even though Nancy is supposed to technically be the main character, he is the more compelling of the two. Rooney Mara is good and everything, but some of what she says came across really cheesy. Plus, we're supposed to buy that Nancy is some sort of outsider, and the way she looks? Yeah, not in this lifetime movie logic. In fact, her being an artist would probably make her even hotter. Just sayin'.

A Nightmare on Elm Street has some scary moments, but nothing that lingers; the quick "jump scares" are the name of the game, but they are effective. They won't have you freaked out the rest of the night or afraid to go to sleep, but while you're in the moment, it'll have you peering away from the screen when it's quiet and you know something's going to jump out (like some loser who totally wasn't me was doing...what a wuss he was!).

While the leads were good and the movie had some fun deaths, Nightmare is not without its flaws. The supporting teenagers are really annoying and although they get killed off (spoiler I guess?), they are there for the first twenty to thirty minutes and cause the film to drag in the beginning. Plus, they play off one of the characters as the main one, but it turns out...she's not so the opening feels like a completely different movie and like they were trying to just twist it up for funsies. Other parts of the film drag as well, especially as they head towards the climax. There are stops between when the characters decide what they have to do and when they do it that feel like the movie makers were trying to increase the running time. There was about ten minutes that could have been cut out with no one missing it.

I also had an issue with some of the script too, namely with Freddy. I was under the assumption that they were bringing A Nightmare on Elm Street back to its horror roots, getting rid of the campiness that plagued its many sequels. In the beginning, that was true; but as movie time went on, he began to crack some one-liners and making him kind of likable...which is not really what I want out of a villain.

Still, A Nightmare on Elm Street is definitely a remake that's worth checking out. It's not as good as the original, sure, but Earl Haley is a worthy successor to the hat and glove that Robert Englund once wore with pride. If you love the original series...you'll probably find a reason to hate it, but for us who aren't married to the material, it's definitely worth a watch.

Final Verdict:

C




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