16 May 2010


Twelve Things about A Nightmare on Elm Street (The Reboot)

12. By accident of timing, I hadn't got enough sleep the night before, and so walked into the first screening of the day--the only one my mother was willing to watch with me--sleepy. That kind of messed with my mind a bit . . . and I liked it. =P

11. There's no way this movie would not be compared to the original, which was--though it may be hard to remember, over twenty years and seven sequels later--something really new. I recently reviewed the first Nightmare (partly in anticipation of this one) and was struck by how fresh it must have been when it first came out.

Freddy's extra long arms . . . an invisible force dragging Tina all over her room . . . Freddy's face pushing through the wall over Nancy's bed . . . the fountain of gore pooling on Glen's ceiling . . . Not to exaggerate for effect or anything, but Nightmare on Elm Street must have been the Star Wars of Horror. And just try to remake Star Wars! (Oh, the hubris! And yet . . . I can totally imagine Michael Bay wanting to try!)

But . . . I do want to give this reboot a fair shake, so I'll try to let the comparisons end here. =)

10. And since making note of the homages is not a comparison . . .

How many did you count? The glove rising from the bathwater is probably the most obvious one, followed by the dead friend in the see-through and bloody body bag in the school corridors. I guess the falling from the pond of blood onto the bed was a reversal of Glen's death; and they also recycled that old line, "I'm your boyfriend now," finding a way to make it fit the new context.

And that was all kind of okay . . . except when it made the filmmakers look as if they had no new ideas at all, which was quite often.

9. I can't believe they cast somebody from The Twilight Saga in this! At least he didn't get a lot of screen time, if you grab the meaning of my spoiler. ;-)

But he had a good line--a great first line for the movie: "Can I have another? Can I have another cup of coffee, please?" Remember that these kids are doing all they can to stay awake!

8. Speaking of staying awake . . . Isn't it annoying when movies have to have a rationalisation for every tiny detail in the plot? This new Nightmare introduces the idea of "micronaps" brought on by sleep deprivation: essentially, they are a few seconds in which your brain shuts down your consciousness and you involuntarily fall asleep. This concept is used to explain why Freddy can suddenly appear out of nowhere when the characters are supposed to be awake. As if there was something wrong with the good, old fashioned explanation, "They've been driven really crazy by this point."

7. On the other hand, I really liked the comparison drawn between Freddy and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. =D

6. As any respectable member of the Horror community knows, this movie gives Freddy a whole new history. (No, I'm not going to call it canon.) In the original movies, he is a child murderer who gets off on a technicality, and who then becomes the target of some vigilante justice by the furious parents of the town. In this reboot, he is a suspected pedophile who is never brought to trial; after he makes a break for it, the parents of the children he seems to have molested hunt him down and burn him to death inside a warehouse.

In the flashback sequence--which is one character's dream--a terrified Freddy pleads to be left alone, crying, "I didn't do anything!" It certainly looked as if the parents had executed an innocent man, and I was excited to see how what went around would come around.

And then I got to the climax and couldn't believe how badly the filmmakers had flubbed something with such amazing potential.

5. An essential note to parents who are lying to their children about the past: It's probably a bad idea to save incriminating evidence, like old photos from kindergarten, especially when there's no good reason to keep any of that stuff in the first place and every reason (by your own deceptive criteria) to burn it all. And anyway, you already know all about burning things up, don't you?

4. And now we come to the really bad news. When Jackie Earle Haley (who wasn't horrible, given that he had the deck totally stacked against him as soon as he slipped on Robert Englund's glove) signed up for this movie, he had to sign up for two more. Which means that the writers who have already flubbed Freddy beyond belief are going to get to do it again . . . and then yet again. Oh, joy.

3. I'm strangely upset that we didn't get the usual "Stay a virgin, survive a Horror movie" moral. If that turns out to be an 80s shibboleth, it gives us another reason to miss the 80s. I mean, where is the virtue in starting the kills with the most attractive, best-dressed, blondest teenagers? What a strange omission in a reboot that makes Freddy himself all about sex.

2. My penultimate point will be about the penultimate character--and another convention that didn't make it. I kept waiting and waiting for him to die, because, you know, Slashers are all about the Final Girl. (And the Final Girl, whether or not anyone realises it, is all about Mary, the Mother of God defeating the dragon.) Well, apparently, Slashers are now all about the Final Couple. Which is so whatever.

On the other hand . . . someone has complained that the original Nancy was a symbol of women's empowerment because she took Freddy out alone, but this Nancy can't seem to do anything without a man to help her. Well, you know what? There's nothing wrong with a fish who can admit she needs a perfectly decent bicycle to help her out when she really needs it. Nancy and Quentin (Nantin? Quency?) make a cute couple, and it's cool that they helped each other.

1. Horror is at its best when it can take ordinary, completely unsinister things, and makes them terrifying. I think my favourite thing about the new Nightmare on Elm Street is its use of the totally innocuous Everly Brothers song All I Have to Do is Dream.

Enjoy the fan-made video . . .

Then again, the connection was made much earlier, back in 1987 . . .

But, yeah, I'll admit a campy cover "featuring" Robert Englund is really just for laughs. The Everly Brothers' original has the true Horror potential. So good on them for that.

Image Source: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Reboot) poster


Sullivan McPig said...

I know I shouldn't compare them, but this sounds like I'd better get hold of the original and while I'm at it get the second movie too (loved that one!)

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, definitely watch the original! =D

And you must be the only person I've met who liked the sequel. =P I confess that when I do a marathon, I jump straight from the first movie to the third and try to forget about the second. Care to share your reasons for loving it?

Jillian said...

I remember the day I watched the original so well. I was only 10yrs old, and decided to go rent a movie with my cousins (a 9yr old and a 15yr old).
We watched this -- and I could not sleep for daaayyyysss!! Sometimes, I still think about the movie up to now and I fear sleep. Gosh.

I did watch this remake. I have to admit, though of course it is nothing like the original, it wasn't horrible. It was a very different Krueger though, wasn't it? Both are obviously evil -- but they seem like two different levels of evil-ness. I kinda liked it.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

I was 18 when the first one came out and it was a fresh take on horror-- everybody was talking about it. I worked part-time at a dress shop and an older girl who had already watched it told me all about it-- all day long.

Enbrethiliel said...


Jillian: I'll just bet you weren't able to get to sleep! XD

Yes, this one has a very different Krueger, and I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of his. =S I think turning him into a pedophile did make him more awful but also took away his likability. I mean, let's admit it: we like Freddy's sick sense of humour. =P He's totally worthy of one of Jen's Character Connections! (LOL!)

But it's not so easy to laugh when a pedophile is making the jokes. =| I guess the filmmakers wanted to go someplace darker. I kind of wished the new Freddy had turned out to be innocent of everything they had accused him of, because then he'd be fueled by revenge and we'd have a glorious new moral element. The kids would actually "deserve" it this time, for making up those stories that made their parents so hysterical.

You know, I could go on and on and on about that, so I should stop now! ;-)

Lesa: Thanks for sharing that story. =) It definitely supports my belief that the first Nightmare on Elm Street was a true phenomenon!

Sullivan McPig said...

Honestly, I think it's about twenty years ago that I saw it, so can't even remember much of it. I only know I thought it was a cool movie. I really must rewatch them to see if I still agree.

r said...

A pedophile? A pedophile witchhunt? How the opposite of timeless.

I doubt that can ruin it, though. I might see it, who knows?


I haven't seen the remake. Well, I actually don't watch movies often. But I was able to watch the original since my sister likes watching horror movies. She can actually watch it alone at night!

Anyway, I can still remember the original movie (I still know the chant in the ending by heart) and it still scares me. It somehow reminds me of the "Don't Go To Sleep" episode of Goosebumps.

Enbrethiliel said...


R: I know!!! But if you see it, please let me know what you think!

Fun and Fearless: I can watch some Horror movies alone at night--but the original Nightmare was not one of them!

ninjapeps said...

they tried to justify offscreen teleportation? he's horror movie bad guy! that's all the justification it needs.

Enbrethiliel said...


Well, not exactly that, but yeah, "He's the Horror movie bad guy!" is really all the justification one needs for all the other stuff they over-explained.