Halloween Marathon Wrap-up: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

It might have been easier to do another post but as you see, we’re here! Its October 31st and we’re wrapping it up with the final movie of our highlight series. More accurately, this is the remake of the iconic series started by Wes Craven. I’m not going to lie, this one was a pain to do.  At this point, I’m a little burnt out with all the Nightmare and Freddy movies.  I’m all Freddy-ed out. Haha! We’ve gone through a wave of good, bad, great, cheesy, campy…basically, I have no expectations right now.

Let’s get going! Review first!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

a nightmare on elm street

Director: Samuel Bayer

Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton

The spectre of a dead child rapist haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their dreams.-IMDB

We’re here in remake world.  It feels like a long time ago that I watched Nightmare on Elm Street.  And you know, it might’ve been since I started Halloween in September. As a recap (in case you didn’t read the review post on the original), I liked it but thought that it had some functional campiness to it and there were some creative kills. As we enter into remake world, there are pros and cons to this one.  How do I say it? Everything that didn’t work in the first one worked here and then everything worked here, kind of didn’t work as much in the original? I guess I can say that.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

Let me explain.  First of all, lets take a look at our star villain.  The main complaint I’ve had of Freddy (except for in New Nightmare) is that he isn’t scary because while his concept of using nightmares and a world you can’t control to kill you in real life is a good one, they never make him that way.  He is always campy and goofy and just not horrifying.  But this is where the remake does well.  Freddy looks a little different from the original and the guy playing him is no longer Robert Englund but Jackie Earle Haley.  Fred Krueger looks like a burnt victim and he is genuinely creepy as sh*t.  Like I mean, he is a messed up, sadistic man from his laugh to his dialogue.  There were parts that it sent chills down my spine and I literally feared for what he was going to do next. Plus, everything that he does with the characters is a hint towards a deeper trip into why he does what he does.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Second, its a refreshing time to be watching one of these where I actually know all the cast.  I mean, I know what to expect from them and their performances.  Kyle Gallner was in Veronica Mars, Rooney Mara in a ton of movies, Katie Cassidy is some movies and Arrow, Thomas Dekker was in Secret Circle. Its seriously looking like a CW party here or something.  Anyways,  the cast here pulls in some decent performances with what they had to work with.  They didn’t exactly have good dialogue to support the script (which is something I’ll elaborate on later), but they did well enough.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Third, the remake makes a serious effort to give us some memorable scenes from a few of the past Nightmare movies. We can see it added in pretty nicely.  There are a good many that are taken from the original Wes Craven’s.  Obviously, those scenes are judged a little heavily.  For one, the most effective scene in the original was the body bag scene and this one was a little overboard. Just one simple example.

A Nightmare on elm street 2010

Finally, the visuals and effects and sound worked well for this one.  While we could feel the tension, the story behind this worked better.  In one movie, we were able to learn about Freddy (even though some details were changed, I think). Freddy himself tried to lead the kids of those parents who killed him to know about it.  At the same time, we also get more up close and personal of who Freddy is. Was he innocently accused? What is he trying to revenge? All those questions that took a few movies to build, we get a good idea of in this one remake. It tries hard to make us twist our beliefs about Freddy.  While I can’t criticize what they were trying to do, the execution of it focused too much on the teens and paired up with the bad dialogue that sometimes felt a little choppy and awkward, it ended up causing the movie to drag a little in certain parts.

Overall, I rather enjoyed A Nightmare on Elm Street.  I’m not saying its better than the original because Craven can build atmosphere and the passion is retained there.  However, this is a decent effort. The script itself, mostly the dialogue and focal points in various plot points could have made for a better execution but the visuals are better and Freddy is much more chilling and thrilling to watch. The backstory of Freddy is the highlight here because we learn so much more about him and that really worked for me. Is it a good or bad remake? I really can’t say its bad.  It feels a little lengthy at parts but it stays generally faithful to the original but with its own style.

What do you think about the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street?

Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

So far, A Nightmare on Elm Street series haven’t been that bad.  Honestly, at this point in the other series, it was getting a little sketchy for the past two years highlights.  This one only has one a little more iffy one in the second one.  A lot of you have been warning me that its going to go downhill after the first.  I’m starting to wonder if this one seems to be working a little too much for than normal.  However, its not a bad thing. Moving on, we’re on the 5th installment and this one is called Dream Child.  Are they pulling this Dream Warriors, Dream Master and now Dream Child thing a little too far? We’ll see, right?

Let’s go!

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

a nightmare on elm street 5 the dream child

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Cast: Lisa Wilcox, Robert Englund, Danny Hassel, Kelly Jo Minter, Erika Anderson, Joe Seely, Nicholas Mele

Alice and Dan has started dating after the last installment.  They have been Freddy Krueger free.  Now, its high school graduation except she starts to realize that she’s falling into dream sequences while she’s awake in a way.  She soon realizes that her friends are being picked off while she is fully awake as well and it makes her wonder how its being done until she learns that she’s pregnant.  It turns out that Freddy is attacking through her unborn son and the only one that can stop him is the spirit of Freddy’s mother, Amanda which she and her friends need to find a way to free before its too late.

a nightmare on elm street 5 the dream child

How to write about Nightmare 5: The Dream Child? Let’s start with some good stuff.

First of all, I appreciate that this one continues to build on the previous story.  On top of that, they managed to still have Lisa Wilcox play Alice and Danny Hassel play Dan.  Its great to have familiar faces.  This time, they have built some new friendships.  One of them is a girl whose mom wants her to become a model called Greta, an aspiring comic book illustrator (or writer?) Mark and a smart girl called Yvonne. The last installment had start this rather predictable turn of events of just the order of how the characters are killed off.  One thing that is intriguing is how Freddy wants to kill in the real world now.  Its not about the Dream Warriors and revenging the ones who killed him.  However, I also like the decision to build on the fact that now we know about his background and how he was conceived and they choose to expand that storyline into his mom, Amanda.

a nightmare on elm street 5 the dream child

Another a good thing is that they use a really creepy kid that we soon learn is the Dream Child which is weirdly the grown up version of her unborn baby.  I always think having kids in movies always add some creepy factors in here.  Although this boy isn’t around a lot, the moments he shows up does add some mystery.  Plus, he is a naive character and seemingly influenced by Freddy Krueger. The only thing is that it feels like he wasn’t built on much.

a nightmare on elm street 5 the dream child

We are slowing inching into the bad of Nightmare 5.  My main criticism are in the kills.  Freddy is now brutal.  Even more than he was taking revenge before.  It seems a little weird to me this choice but in this one, the kills are graphic and truly very disgusting.  I can get that it helps increase the insanity of the character of Freddy.  I just found it was such a huge leap from the previous installments.  Let’s step back to the first one where I thought Johnny Depp’s kill was very gory but it was still just blood and campy and a glorious kill in itself.  But for this one, there was one kill that I found really creative and honestly the effects weren’t bad and its the one up there. For those who have seen this, for two of the characters, it was downright dragged out and explicit and just so unnecessary to be hitting that territory.

a nightmare on elm street 5 the dream child

For that, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child was destroyed.  Its sad that one aspect was strong enough for me to go from mildly enjoying it to feeling weirded out and then downright disgusted literally by the movie. I’m not one to be squeamish about slasher flicks and blood and most of the time, gore that even bother me too much but I just feel the way some kill choices went down really made me question where this franchise is going and how they are changing who Freddy is.  I can understand that now that the main deed is done and they still found a way to continue the main story (which is a good decision), that they had to find a way to change it but this was not the way I liked it.

Overall, Dream Child is a below average installment.  It wasn’t the snoozefest that Freddy’s Revenge (Part 2) was but while I can appreciate the efforts, I’m starting to feel that the different directors are finally hitting some bumpy roads as the style starts changing. I just don’t even have enough confidence that there’s a good direction to move on after this one.

Have you seen The Dream Child/Part 5? What are your thoughts?

Halloween Marathon: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Welcome to the Halloween Marathon! We’re officially kicking off with our highlight series: A Nightmare on Elm Street!

I’m working hard on catching up on all the horror series that I’ve missed year after year. You can see my past two years recap over in the menu under Halloween Marathon.  There’s all the reviews from the Halloween and Friday the 13th series (which you can find on the Halloween Marathon page HERE).  Now, we’re moving onto the next iconic series.  I’m super stoked for this one because this year, it gives it even more reason to celebrate this series even though I had planned it a year ago.

Let’s begin!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

a nightmare on elm street

Director & Writer: Wes Craven

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Robert Englund, Ronee Blakley, Johnny Depp, Jsu Garcia

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep. – IMDB

Last year while I was doing the Halloween Marathon featuring the Friday the 13ths was the first time I saw Freddy Kreuger in Freddy vs Jason.  Freddy Krueger is a downright creepy looking dude.  I don’t know much about A Nightmare on Elm Street except for the fragmented bits here and there and some iconic scenes I’ve seen here and there.  I’ve postponed this series for a few years because I never found the movies on a reasonable price but now, we’re all assembled and to me, the best part about A Nightmare on Elm Street is the premise and the character Freddy Kreuger.  Someone who can kill you while you are sleeping in your nightmares is crazy because its something that’s basically out of your control. What is the easiest way to tap into your inner/psychological fears? Its targeting whatever is out of our control.  After all, that is the basis of fear factories, right?

A Nightmare on Elm Street

 With that said, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a different sort of horror.  Its not even really slasher and as much as there is blood and its campy and mega dated, it still keeps a fun factor but also gives a rather creepy vibe.  I mean, there’s a few scenes that while the effects aren’t great because its been like 30 years (almost), and I’m rather forgiving on that, it still got under my skin a little.  I have to admit that while this first one didn’t show Freddy much because we’re just learning about who this man is before he became the monster killer on Elm Street, he had some goofy moments like that long arm scene. But then, we have this scene below…that picture kind of gives me the creeps…

a nightmare on elm street

Most of the cast here is new to me.  I did a quite rundown of them and maybe they did some roles here and there.  Of course, we have the notable Johnny Depp who makes an appearance here.  Honestly, the cast here is rather decent.  The script itself is a little cheesy at times but the cast is convincing enough. However, what the script does have are some remarkably creative death scenes.  Johnny Depp’s character’s death scene is easily one of the best ones.  It just kind of emphasizes how Freddy Kreuger can kill in any way as long as you fall asleep.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

As a first entry into a long-running franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a strong one. While I still think, Halloween and Michael Myers offered a little more creeps, Freddy Kreuger does a good job as well.  Its all in the premise of his character and how he kills and just that disgusting look that we only ever get a glimpse of. Wes Craven is a master in horror in building atmosphere and building a legit character that is threatening.  Sleep is something that is obligatory in our lives, dreaming is a subconscious state of mind and he takes control of something we can’t control.  Just think about that. Smart move, Mr. Craven. I should’ve appreciated your work a lot earlier.

Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a great first entry bring forth a memorable and effectively creepy character Freddy Kreuger.  It has a great premise and builds decent atmosphere.  It still has the campy feeling, mostly because of the supposed low budget and the dated effects from 30 years ago. However, it still made me jump a few times and the deaths were done in a rather creative way.  Definitely worth a watch!

What do you think of A Nightmare on Elm Street? How about the series in general? Which is your favorite?

**Remember to drop by tomorrow to see the review for Nightmare on Elm Street 2!!**