A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET  (2010)
SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
Amen, you hardcore die-hard Kreugerites, here is the actual, for the moment Final Chapter of ANOES, the ninth entry, & possibly not the last. Lots of interesting issues here; this is basically a Redeux, a remake of the first 1984 film, with CGI this time, & some interesting twists. It was released 7 years after FREDDY VS. JASON (2003); which I really liked. It seemed to represent a “reboot” of the series; a kind of a bromance between Robert Shaye’s NEW LINE CINEMA & Michael Bay’s PLATINUM DUNE production group. Maybe they should have hooked up with J.J. Abrams, the royal master of the “Re-Boot”, for sure.
It was directed by a dynamo called Samuel Bayer. He has directed hundreds of rock videos & documentaries, working with groups like David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, Metallica, Pat Benatar, the Cranberries, Tesia, & Iron Maiden–over the last 15 years. This was his first & only full length feature film; returning immediately to the fast-paced & lucrative universe of Rock Videos.
He had turned down the offer to direct this film twice. He had already turned down directing jobs for THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005) & FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009), both Michael Bay, PLATINUM DUNE productions; but Bay worked real hard on snaring Bayer to helm this film. With a 35 million dollar budget, it might have had something to do with salary offers. ( the film grossed 63 million USA ).
Samuel Bayer talking about ANOES 9: “It is definitely not your standard slasher film. This is the movie that when you even mention the franchise, people’s jaws drop–because that character had a profound effect on their childhood; I hear all the time “Freddy scared the hell out of me”. So it was my job to reinvent the character for a whole new generation.”
The big switch-up challenge for Freddy-freaks was that Jackie Earl Haley played Freddy, not Robert Englund; who had played it 8 times previously. Wes Craven was not approached about this remake, & he has said some negative things about the movie, even though much of it is like a shot-for-shot homage to his 1984 film. Haley, in 1984, along with his buddy, Johnny Depp had auditioned for that film; with Depp being cast–now 26 years later, Haley prevailed.
Taglines: Never Sleep Again.
All You Have to do is Dream.
He knows where you sleep.
Welcome to Your New Nightmare.
The script was written by Wesley Strick, who had written the successful re-make for CAPE FEAR (1991). Other movies he has written include TRUE BELIEVER (1989), ARACHNOPHOBIA (1991), WOLF (1994), THE SAINT (1997), & DOOM (2005).
The cinematography was done by Jeff Cutter (a fucking cool handle, for sure).
He had lensed 13 films since 2003, including GRIDIRON GANG (2006), ORPHAN (2009), & CATCH .44 (2011).
The musical score was done by Steve Jablonsky, who has composed scores for 62 films since 1998, most all them for Michael Bay, including THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003), THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2009), THE ISLAND (2005), TRANSFORMERS (2007) & the three sequels, FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009), BATTLESHIP (2012), & LONE SURVIVORS (2013).
This film won the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD (2011) for “Favorite Horror Movie”.
FREDDY’ S BABE GALLERY
Rooney Mara played Nancy Holbrook; she disliked doing the horror genre, struggled with the world of the movie; almost quit acting.
But she is a babe, & has not been shy about nudity in several of her other films.
Her tit-shots are sweet.
Here is one of those compilation lay outs too.
Katie Cassidy played her BFF, Kris Fowles. She is David Cassidy’s daughter.
She has been kind enough to provide some nice tit-shots for the gallery as well.
Connie Britton, from FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, played Mama Holbrook,
& she did include some nice cheesecake shots for us.
This looks like a for-real breast image, though nudity is too easy for many to photoshop; cool, regardless.
They filmed this move in & around Barrington, ILL. & Chicago; getting some nice tax breaks. Michael Bay shoots a lot in Illinois.
We open at the Springwood Diner, a hash-house where the teens hang out, & work at. In the original film, & some sequels, the diner is called the Craven Inn. Kris comes in visit her boyfriend, who has fallen asleep, & is chased around in his dreams by some creep covered in burn scars,
wearing a ratty fucking red & green sweater, a fedora at a jaunty angle, & a clawed glove on his right hand.
Nancy, our heroine, is the waitress, & she warns Dean that if he sleeps in there, the management will ask him to leave. Jesse, Nancy’s old boyfriend, & Quentin are in another booth, making fun of Dean’s predicament.
But, of course, Dean falls asleep, & finds himself in the diner, asking some strange waitress, who will not respond to him, for more coffee. The place is empty. He rises & follows the waitress into the kitchen.
He sees a glimpse of her darting around a corner. The grills & fryers are all cranked on, & flames are leaping up like a Dante’s mini-inferno. Food is frying & burning on the grill.
Enter Freddy, screen left, walking through fire & smoke, jumping Dean’s shit without so much as a “how you doin’?”. Dean tries to fight back, but Freddy is too fast, too strong. In no time whatever, he is able to cut Dean’s throat–
but in the real world it appears to Kris & Nancy that Dean, whom they can’t wake up, is cutting his own throat.
The next day Kris falls asleep in class, & Freddy gets to chase her around a bit.
At Dean’s funeral, Kris is shown a picture of her at 4 years old playing with Dean, which baffles her since she doesn’t remember him before they met in high school.
She admits to Jesse that she is dreaming about Freddy now too, & could he come over to her house & keep her company while she sleeps. We can tell from Jesse’s reaction that he, too, must be having dreams about the blade man.
So Jesse has no problem staying in bed with Kris. In the ’84 version, this couple have sex; but not so in this movie–where the hell Kris’s parents are, or whether or not they got frisky before sleep is not explained.
We are catapulted into Kris’s dream. She finds herself at the Badman Pre-School, where she sees the three little girls, the Freddy Kreuger trio, jumping rope, & chanting the Freddy rhymes–1,2, Freddy’s after you & shit. She is met at the door by her 4 year old self, who takes her by the hand into the school.
She meets Freddy, & he attacks her.
In real life her body is lifting off the bed, with Jesse screaming for her to wake up. She is slammed off the ceiling, drug down the walls,
then dropped onto the bed, dead.
Jesse is covered in her blood, so he flees out of her bedroom window, then sprints over to Nancy’s house, explaining to her what just happened. They both admit that they are each having their own Freddy nightmares. Nancy’s mother comes to her bedroom door, so hey, it’s back out the fucking window for Jesse.
Jesse is running aimlessly down the street with five cop cars on his tail. They corner him, manacle him, & put his butt in jail; exchanging some special knowing looks before pretending that he was a suspect in Kris’s death. As in the original film, Jesse is visited by Freddy while in his jail cell, & is killed; but this time he has a jail cell mate who gets to witness the carnage.
Nancy finally is getting freaked out because her friends are dying all around her. She begins to fall asleep on her bed, & we get another Craven homage, as Freddy begins to push out on the wall above her.
She rises, & decides to take a bath; but her naked back is all we are treated with before she slips into the soap suds bubbles.
We all now what’s coming, right–& you betcha, Freddy’s clawed glove appears out of the suds between her legs;
but knock-knock, the mother is at the door, & we do not get a repeat shot of her being dragged under the water by Freddy; losing another possible tit-shot.
Quentin comes to her house to tell her about Jesse’s death in jail. They rumage through Nancy’s mother’s panty drawer & find a lovely 8×10 photo of the kids at Badham Pre-School–& there they are, all of the kids, all of her friends; they did know each other before.
When confronted, Gwen, Nancy’s mother finally spills the beans. All of them did attend the pre-school. There was a gardener there named Freddy Kreuger, who was very kind to all the children, entering into their games. Nancy became his favorite. We see a flashback where Fred tells Nancy that if she can keep a secret, he will take her to his “special place” in the basement. This is a master–stroke plot device, because it gives Freddy perfect access to all the kids. It helps to explain that now they are being punished both because they told the truth of their abuse at his hands, & the terrible retribution their parents enacted on him.
But shame on the writers, since there is just no mention of murder for this Freddy. Obviously, he abused dozens of children repeatedly, but it does not seem that he actually killed any of them–& this reduces his evil deeds for me by several notches. I mean the real evil clowns always murder their young victims after having sex with them, as Freddy had faithfully done in the 8 previous films.
Gwen told Nancy & Quentin that Freddy had skipped town before he could be arrested (thus not being set free from incarceration secondary to a clerical error, putting a murderous pedophile back out into the neighborhood).
At one point, Quentin chides his father, played by powerhouse actor Clancy Brown, doing his best with a nothing part, for murdering Kreuger with no real evidence that he had committed any crime.
Nancy does not quite believe her mother, so with her computer, she tries to track down all the rest of the kids in the photograph. She finds out that most all of them have killed mysteriously in their sleep, or car accidents.
Quentin actually falls asleep during a swim practice with his HS team, & he witnesses his parents, & all the others track Freddy down to the old steel mill, corner him & then burn him alive, hears Freddy screaming, then emerge on fire, running straight at him,
waking him as team members perform CPR on him.
Nancy & Quentin, as sole survivors, decide they must go to the old shut-down Pre-School, to try & solve the mystery. On the way there they stop at a drug store, & Nancy falls asleep on her feet, finds Freddy there in the store with her; there is a chase & a tussle, he cuts her arm with his glove. Quentin wakes her, finds the fresh wounds, & that she is holding a piece of his sweater.
Thus they hatch the hackneyed but tried-and-true plan of Nancy re-entering the dream, & bringing Freddy back into the real world, so that he could be dealt with “permanently”.
But, since she is bleeding, Quentin stops at a hospital to get the wounds tended. Nancy’s mother shows up there. She & a nurse try to administer a sleep drug, but Nancy goes ape shit & breaks away from them. Quentin steals some adrenaline & some syringes–and they hop in his station wagon & flee. But on the way to the pre-school, Quentin sees Freddy in the middle of the road, swerves to miss him, & wrecks his car. They, undeterred, walk on foot the rest of the way.
At the abandoned creepy school, they make their way to the basement, then find Freddy’s hideout door, & enter his “Cave”. The walls are covered with polaroid pics of Freddy’s victims. They find a stack of photos on an old bed; they are all of a 5 year old Nancy; we never get to see any of them.
Thus the climactic final scene begins. Nancy falls asleep, while Quentin tries to stay awake & watch over her. He finds an old paper cutter, & he breaks the blade off for a weapon. But, alas, he falls asleep before Nancy does, & Freddy is right there to taunt him for being a “dumb little dick”, then attacks him, but Miss Nancy enters the dream, & Freddy prefers playing with her.
Quentin wakes up, but he cannot wake Nancy up, no matter how much he yells or shakes her. Freddy plays with Nancy, licking her cheek & shit, letting her relive several of the molestations, lying beside her on the bed, playing with her dress buttons with his sharp blades.
Nancy fights back, & is hanging on to Freddy just as Quentin injects her with adrenalin, waking her up. Freddy is jerked into the real world, which does not seem to distress him. He begins to beat the crap out of Quentin, but just as he raises his gloved hand for the kill blow, Nancy cuts his hand off with the paper cutter blade.
“That hurts doesn’t it, bitch. You’re in my world now!”
She cuts his head off, & once more, Freddy is beheaded, & he dies. Nancy torches the secret room & they barely escape before the whole school goes up in flames.
Returning home from the hospital, Gwen & Nancy appear in good spirits–but suddenly the mother’s reflection in the mirror becomes Freddy, who reaches out of the glass, & pulls her body into the broken shards while Nancy screams & screams. Thus we follow the plot lines of the original film, & seem to be set up for the sequel that has yet to be made.
Rotten Tomatoes rated the film at only 15% Critic’s Approval (with an 85% negative set of reviews), & 44% Audience Approval.
Ivan Gleiberman of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY wrote: “I did jump a few times, & I liked Haley’s dour malvolence, but overall, the re-boot new NIGHTMARE is a by-the-numbers bad dream.
Peter Travers of ROLLING STONE wrote: “It is the Bay Touch, you feel it in the way actors register as body count, characters go undeveloped, & sensationalism trumps feeling; a nightmare indeed.”
Nigel Floyd of TIME OUT wrote: “This is the worst yet from Michael Bay’s horror production company PLATINUM DUNES, which also had the temerity to bring us the rubbish re-makes of HALLOWEEN & FRIDAY THE 13TH.”
Michael Dequina of THE MOVIE REPORT wrote: “This is an homage to Craven’s original vision that is beautifully earnest in execution, & completely faithful in spirit.”
Joshua Starnes of COMING SOON wrote: “For the real fans of the NIGHTMARE franchise, & slasher films in general, this new version does exactly what you want, but not much more.”
First of all, let’s get this out of the way, replacing Robert Englund with Jackie Earl Haley just seemed bizarre to me. Englund is 5’10” tall–Haley is 5’5” tall, a mighty mite for sure, putting plenty of menace in Rorschach in WATCHMEN (2009), & playing a very convincing pedophile in LITTLE CHILDREN (2006).
Englund stated he supported Haley in the role, “it was time to pass the torch.”–fuck me, I wonder how much Michael Bay paid him to say that shit?
Haley’s career ran out of steam in 1993, just as he earned his black belt in karate. His life & marriage went into the shitter, & he found himself working as a techie on commercials, a Limo-driver, a furniture refinisher, a security officer, & a pizza delivery driver. Yet, he had his career re-booted with ALL THE KING’S MEN (2006), & he met his third wife. But hey, I looked at the negative reviews (which doesn’t usually mean shit though), looked at the trailer & the photos of him in the Freddy make-up, & it just seemed incongruous to have cast him at all–especially after finding out that both Billy Bob Thornton & Steve Buscemi had been “considered” for the role.
A lot of the script was do-overs of the Craven versions, but changing locales to Illinois seemed cool to me, easily finding streets lined with elm trees, & the Ryerson Steel factory & warehouse on the west side of Chicago really worked well too. Nancy became Holbrook, instead of Thompson, & the house they found looked “similar” but they never showed the address, so 1428 never appeared on the screen. ELM Street showed up as a sign, but no character ever uttered the name. The death scene of Kris, slamming off the ceiling & walls was OK, but it was done so much gorier, bloody, & convincing in both the 1984 original, & a couple of the sequels. Nancy, in her bed, beginning to doze off, with Freddy stretching out of the wall, worked equally well in both versions, but the Nancy in the tub scene, with the bladed glove appearing out of the suds between her legs was nowhere as exciting as the Craven version where Nancy is pulled underwater, & a body double did the tit-shots for her.
The newest plot device for the teenagers as children was way fucking clever. The creation of the BADMAN pre-school (Bad-Man, get it) was brilliant, with Freddy being the gardner who lured them to the basement where he had fashioned a hidden room he called the “Cave”, where he molested the children repeatedly. So the titty-twister was that as the teens start dying, none of them remember that they all knew each other in that pre-school, & that Freddy had had his way with all of them. I loved the art design on the Cave; it was creepier than hell–BUT, damn it, it was never established clearly enough for me that Freddy was anything more than a morally repulsive evil pedophile; the word Murderer NEVER was uttered, or it wasn’t elaborated on enough for me. So when the vigilante parents of Springwood tracked his little ass down, & burned him alive, somehow it lacked the conviction & resonance of the Craven versions.
A positive thing emerged in this remake; excellent acting; Rooney Mara brilliant & believable, brought something special to the mix, & her teen co-stars were better than usual. And once I got over the shock of seeing Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy, things jelled; his diminutive size somehow worked for the character, kind of a ferret vibe.
His 4-5 hours in make-up were appreciated for creating a more realistic burn victim persona; augmented a bit by CGI. CGI was used sparingly for the whole movie, again staying loyal & true to the Craven vision.
The cinematography was lush & interesting. The musical score echoed a lot of the Freddy themes, but stood out on its own comfortably. I enjoyed this Redeux much more than I had expected, & had no difficulty rating it a solid 8 out of 10 HH stars. Somehow the producers have not felt things came together enough to keep the franchise going, for now, but I think we have not heard or seen the last of Freddy Kreuger.
RATINGS FOR THE ENTIRE NINE FILMS:
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) 7 stars.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 (1985) 3.5 stars.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 (1987) 7 stars.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 (1988) 6 stars.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 (1989) 7.5 stars.
FREDDY’S DEAD; THE FINAL NIGHTMARE (1991) 1.7 stars.
WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994) 8.5 stars.
FREDDY VS. JASON (2003) 9.5 stars.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) 8 stars.
That gives us a Freddy Franchise average of 6.5 stars; not bad.