Monday, September 20, 2010

Guess who's back (A Nightmare On Elm Street)

So, hi folks, I'm back from my little exile. The reason I stopped writing is pretty much that The Wolfman went all Ivan Drago on me, and I couldn't, to save my life, express just how bland and unintentionally hilarious that movie was. However, dear readers, rest assured that it was bad, really bad. Let's move on. What's a catalyst powerful enough to tear me out of my writer's block, you may ask? Well, of course, a remake of one of my favorite horror movies of all times, of course. No, not that one.

Yes, as you might have gleaned from the title, I'm tackling the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. So, the story's more or less the same, as a high school girl named Nancy must survive the onslaught of a dreambound killer. There are some changes in the story, some good, some... not so good. First of all, Freddy, pedophile murdering asshole that he is, didn't get off the hook on a technicality, the parents in question merely not wishing to put their children through a trial, instead going for the oh so popular "denial and forgetfulness" route. I can't really decide what I think of this. The whole "off on a technicality"-thing seemed a little weird when it comes to a serial pedophile like the Fredster, but on the other hand, it kind of makes the parents come off as bigger assholes than generally necessary.

Oh, and just to sugar that pill, the movie also seems to pad itself out with speculations around if Freddy was a pedophile out to kill his former victims, or a wrongly accused guy out to kill the children, whom he really cared about if one discards that whole pedophile thing , of his killers. Awesome.... yeah? (Not really) Speaking of creepyness, Jackie Earle Haley, probably known to most folk as Rorscharch from Watchmen, plays Freddy, and he does a fairly good job, although I can't help but think he's playing from kind of the wrong angle. You see, he very much plays a creepy rapist/sadist type of guy. Sure, it plays in on his character quite well, but considering he shows one of his prospective victims how he was killed, it feels like the movie wants to portray him as a vengeful revenant of sorts.

Either that, or the movie's just being a little lazy. I don't know if you remember the scene from the original where Nancy's mom tells the story of Freddy's demise? That's probably one of my scenes from the original, and it really allows both actors to show what they can do. In the remake, by comparison, it boils down to a shrill shouting match where the actors tries to out-shriek each other, and the whole exchange is more or less pointless, and the exposition is left to said flashback, smooth.

When it comes to the scares, I'm a little ambivalent. Sure, it's got atmosphere, and it's occasionally creepy. Sure, the bathroom scene is more or less intact, Freudian overtones and all, but there's one problem.... goddamn jump scares. Hoh yes, I hope you're ready for multiple scare chords and blink and you'll miss it horror. I'd go so far to say that this movie almost has the atmosphere to pull off jumpscares, but there's simply too many of them, and it gets tedious. It's also worth noting that the movie feels padded occasionally. Sure, it's decently atmospheric padding, but it's still padding.

When it comes to the real centerpiece himself, Freddy, I'm glad to announce that Clown!Freddy seems to have been thrown away with the dishwater. Haley!Freddy is occasionally darkly humorous, but almost a little too serious. Again, could be the nostalgia speaking, but I felt Englund!Freddy, at least in the first movie, struck the perfect balance between disturbing and funny, making him a villain that's funny while still being threatening.

My biggest problem though? Freddy's makeup. Now, I don't know enough about medicine to decide which of the faces that looks more realistic, but I must admit, New!Freddy doesn't really look as intimidating as old!Freddy, and their attempt to keep him in shadows until the end could have worked, hadn't it been for the fact that the shadows didn't really hide all that much, the way they were done.

In summary? A Nightmare On Elm Street wasn't all that good, can't really say that surprised me too much, it did enough right to be better than a lot of horror I've seen lately, but that doesn't really say all that much. Here's hoping Rec 2 is good.

No comments: