Over the last several years, I've become something of a pragmatist in terms of horror movie remakes.
You might even add 1988's The Blob to that select list too.
But I think, at the very bare minimum, they are good movies that honor the memory of the originals and also boast their own distinctive visual and contextual identity.
The remake fails to scare; it fails, even, to generate interest around its by-the-numbers "investigative" story line. More than anything, the movie plays like a bad remake of an obscure J-Horror, like One Missed Call, perhaps.
I don't expect it to be.
But it fails on the creative basis I wrote about above. It doesn't replace what was so good about the original Craven film with anything of comparative value or quality. The remake fundamentally misunderstands the original's point-of-view and is a pale, play-it-safe, white-bread effort. It pushes no boundaries in terms of the genre. It is a dull, unimaginative piece of work.
Who would pay down the national debt? The children of Elm Street all over America.
Well, consider how characters have changed since 1984 to become more timid, more bland. In the original film, Nancy's mother was an alcoholic because she buried the truth and could not face her own actions. Here she is not an alcoholic. Connie Britton plays a concerned mother who counseled against killing Freddy.
See, she's reasonable and nice, not a law breaker, not a vigilante, and certainly not a heavy drinker!
That's all changed here too. Tina's surrogate -- Kris -- faces the exact some death as Tina, but there are two important differences.
First, her mother is not negligent; she's just a stewardess who needs to go to work, to take a flight.
And secondly, Kris does not have premarital sex before she dies (as Tina did, with the "bad boy," Rod.)
Where the original film was about digging and excavating the truth, no matter what, this film is about keeping the unpleasant things down and out of sight.
"I know you were just trying to protect me. Thank you," she says.
That's established. The question becomes: what does it replace that theme with?
Nothing imaginative is substituted in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Freddy talks a lot, but cracks fewer jokes. This sort of makes him dull, and less scary too. Now he's debating about "what he wants" from the teens before killing them?
Let's just have a conference call while we're at it.
For god's sake, -- premarital sex or not -- they were innocent kids.
We've seen these moments before. What's the twist?
The images mean something beyond a pure surface level.
This is underwhelming and, more so, does not hint at the power and symbolism of our dream life. It's so very literal and unimaginative, and this is, frankly, unforgivable in a film that should have had great fun playing with the concept of dreams.
I have no doubt that he will return to haunt our cinematic dreams again one day. Hopefully, when that eventuality occurs, the filmmakers will have thought long and hard about this Boogeyman, and how he can function meaningfully in our 21st century world.