Monday, May 3, 2010

Nightmare of a remake

"Nightmare on Elm Street"
1 and a half stars

By Thomas Tracy

Freddy Krueger’s back and more boring than ever in a completely unimagined “reimagining” for a generation of moviegoers too amped up on Starbucks and Red Bull to fall asleep, much less dream.

The latest remake of a 1980s horror classic, the new “Nightmare on Elm Street,” has very little to offer audiences except a slightly better Freddy -- with Robert Englund handing the scorched fedora and glove of finger knives to Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from “Watchmen”).

Yet even Haley’s attempt to make the iconic burned-up serial killer darker than the campy cartoon Englund’s Freddy ultimately became is lost in all the formulaic scares cooked up by first-time movie director Samuel Bayer.

The new “Nightmare” never departs too far from the original, either: Once a bunch of teens start dying bloody deaths in their sleep on Elm Street, a few of the savvier victims (aka the creepy girl and the nerd) realize that Freddy, a pedophile that vindictive parents torched years ago, is to blame.

Somehow (which was never explained then or now) Freddy’s spirit is able to infiltrate people’s dreams and kill them, usually in the bloodiest way possible.

But with the exception of a few jumps, better special effects and an interesting flashback that makes you think poor Freddy was given a bum rap (it’s the only time that Haley really shines), this “Nightmare” brings nothing new to the table. Even the famed finger-knife glove looks like it was filched right out of a dusty Planet Hollywood display case.

With all of the electronic gadgets, Internet sites and caffeine today’s teens are exposed to, you would think Bayer would dream up something more interesting than the tired boiler room Freddy enjoys sharpening his knives in (which makes no sense at all in this incarnation because Freddy never worked in a boiler room).

With nightmares this dull, moviegoers should wake up and leave the theater out of sheer boredom.

"Nightmare on Elm Street." Starring Jackie Earle Haley and Rooney Mara. Directed by Samuel Bayer. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language.


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