A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

02/16/2024 08:39

Film: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Year: 2010

Director: Samuel Bayer

Writers: Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara and Kyle Gallner



This is a movie that I enjoyed the first time I saw it. That would have been in the theater. Did I think it was better than the original? Not even close. I still thought this was a solid remake though. I’ve seen it a couple more times since this. I’ve heard the hate and I can understand it. This is one that Jaime watched, not realizing there was an original. We decided to give this a go for a bonus episode on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast.

Synopsis: the specter of a disfigured man haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their drams.

We start this at diner. Dean Russell (Kellan Lutz) is having trouble staying awake. Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) is a waitress who goes to school with him. She helps keep him awake so he doesn’t get the boot. During one of his dreams, he falls asleep and attacked by a burned man with a glove that has knives for fingers. We will learn that this is Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley).

Meeting Dean is Kris Fowles (Katie Cassidy). He tries to warn her about what is happening to him and she’s concerned about how he looks. At another table is Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner) and Jesse Braun (Thomas Dekker). The former has a crush on Nancy while his friend used to date Kris. He’s not happy that she’s at the other table with this guy. Things take a dark turn when Dean falls asleep and he’s killed by Freddy. He makes it look like Dean killed himself.

All these characters are at the funeral. Nancy is there with her mother, Dr. Gwen Holbrook (Connie Britton). Quentin’s dad is Alan (Clancy Brown) and Kris’ mom is Nora (Lia D. Mortensen). Kris notices a little girl and then sees a picture. This shocks her as the figure she saw was her when she was little. The picture has Dean as a little boy. She didn’t think they met until high school though. Kris questions her mom who avoids the question.

This group of teens also starts to see Freddy in their nightmares. They try to figure out why he is after them. There is a connection, but they aren’t sure what it is. Alan and Gwen act just like Nora in avoiding giving a straight answer. Dean is only the first to meet their fate at the hands of this burned individual haunting their dreams.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is saying that this movie isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Are there issues? Yes, but I could also nitpick the original version as well. I don’t think this is great. It still does things well.

I will then start with positives. I think that Haley makes a fine Freddy. I don’t know if he is as menacing as Robert Englund played the role, but this is a dark version, nonetheless. I do think that is part of the problem as well. Here, Freddy is a child molester. I was talking to Jaime about this and I said that makes it tough to side with him. She pointed out that murdering a child is also looked down on. I agree, but there is something about molesting them that is considered worse. It is hard to side with him, even though I love the dark take. Now being a parent, I can see why they did what they did.

Another positive is a negative for people and that’s the pseudo-science of micro-naps. This tries to say that the longer you stay up, you run the risk of ‘micro-naps’. This explains that you’re awake, but your brain will shut down, mimicking the rest you’d get from sleeping. I love this as it makes more sense why characters will see things when they’re awake. It is easier to understand the concept when it is explained with this idea. It blurs the lines of reality. I’ll still give credit here, but I believe you will just eventually crash. This idea does happen in this movie which I appreciate.

One last bit is I don’t know who the story wants you to root for. We have Freddy killing these teens. It seems that he is pushing that he was wrongly accused. There is a reveal near the end that I loathe. There are twists to where we fall on Freddy and whether he did these things. I think this is a misstep for sure.

Since I’ve already touched on it a bit, let’s go to the acting. I’ve said that I liked Haley as Freddy. He isn’t as good. I think he does well in bringing the one-liners that this character is known for. He also plays it dark, which I can appreciate. The make-up, if they would have just stuck with the practical approach, looks like a burn victim. I also think Mara and Gallner are fine. They aren’t giving a lot to shine with, but they are solid in their roles. Cassidy, Dekker and Lutz work as other teens that are dealing with this killer. I liked Brown and Britton as well as Mortensen as parents who want to protect their children, just not realizing it is hurting them. The acting here is fine for a remake supernatural slasher in my opinion.

Then all that is left is filmmaking. Now I’ve already brought up the effects. I think that for the most part they’re good. My gripes are with CGI when it is used on Freddy. The killings can be brutal. The blood looks good. As a supernatural slasher, I think they did well there. That’s what I’m here for to be honest. I do like the transitions from dreams to reality and back again. That is creepy. I’d also say that the cinematography was good. Didn’t see any issues there. The soundtrack works for what was needed. I also like the design with running the finger knives across metal and the whispering from Freddy. That adds a creepy layer to this.

In conclusion, this remake isn’t nearly as bad as people think. I’d go as far to say that I prefer this movie to mid-tier 80’s slasher. If this movie would have not been a remake and the first one, I think more people would be fans. We have solid enough characters, including Haley’s take on Freddy. There is good practical effects and solid kills. This is made well enough. The issues for me come from the CGI that is used and story elements don’t necessarily make sense. I’d still turn to the original over this one though. I’d recommend it to fans of the 2000s/2010s remakes.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10