Alright, let’s start off with a little background before getting to the movie.
Once upon a time, I saw a trailer for a movie. And in that movie, I saw Rorschach deliver the line “Why are you screaming? I haven’t even cut you yet.” and I went – I must see this movie. So, I prepped. I realized that it wasn’t fair to see a remake of a movie series I hadn’t seen. So I asked Mike to lend me the Nightmare films & I systematically watched the other 8 films in the series. And I loved them.
I am not a huge fan of the horror genre. I have no intention of ever seeing a Friday the 13th Movie (the closest I’ve gotten was Freddy vs Jason) because I don’t want to see gratuitous sex, nudity and violence. For this same reason I’m probably never going to see any Saw films or Texas Massacre films or what have you. The Krueger films – they don’t have these. I think the worst thing in these films has been a breast shot sprinkled here and there, but for the most part the films have been fairly tame. (With a notable exception of the 5th Film where a couple of the deaths passed into just disgusting and as such this is my least favorite of the franchise).
So why enjoy the films? Freddy Kreuger & his kids.1 These aren’t so much horror films as they are dark action flicks. The big bad monster hunts down the kids and they fight back. I don’t think I’ve ever found the Krueger films to be particularly scary, even the first one, but more so visually attractive and attention grabbing. These films don’t have to figure out the most gruesome way to kill someone to freak out the audience2
On that note – I still maintain that Tina’s death in the first film was by far the worst death in the series for emotional impact and horror. It wasn’t grotesque or over the top – there was a realism to it that hit you close because you watched a girl be beat to death and dragged across a ceiling. It was other worldly while still being realistic and I think that’s the most disturbing part.
But – we’re here to talk about the 2010 Remake that made me want to get into this franchise in the first place.
I sort of want to talk about my experience in the theatre itself first. I went to go see a 12AM Matinee of this film. As such, there was maybe 10 people in the largest screening room in the building. There were about 6 guys all by their lonesome speckled about the theatre, me and 3 teens who wandered in after the previews (who talked for most of the movie…). It was sort of interesting; it’s been a while since I got to sit in a premium spot in a theatre walking it at the start of the film. XD
It’s also fun to note that I had my ID checked to get into the theatre. On the one hand – I’m sort of flattered. On the other…I’m 25. XD
The Movie – Their be SPOILERS here. Enter at your own risk.
I loved this movie. I know how critics have been bashing it lately – but I throughly enjoyed this film. It grabbed quite a bit from the old movies3 but it was also very different. For starters? The focus of the movie. This film wasn’t about Nancy. It was about Fred Krueger and his relationship with his kids. The remake went into the direction the first film shied from – Fred Krueger was not a child murder. He was not a man who intentionally took kids away to a dark room and tortured and murdered them for kicks. This Freddie was something else.
He was a sick man who needed help.
Not once in all the flashbacks did I get the impression that Krueger even realized what he was doing molesting those children was wrong. He seemed to genuinely care about those kids. He loved Nancy. He loved her in the wrong way, and he definitely needed to be sent away to someplace that could help him – but you couldn’t help but feel for him. Hunting him down and burning him in a building without real proof of what he was doing was a bit malicious on the part of the parents. Then again – this is knowing he was guilty from the start. The movie tried to make you wonder whether or not he really molested the kids which actually brings up an interesting topic – what if he hadn’t molested the kids? What if he really was just a regular guy who liked children and then those kids he loved so much got him viciously hunted down and murdrered? It’s an angle I almost wish they had explored.
Granted, the fact he was guilty puts this Freddy Krueger on the tip top of the complete monster scale.4 But even while he’s there, you feel for him. This is a guy who was betrayed by the kids he loved. And he’s pissed off. The deaths in this film were targeted and meticulous. He wanted them to remember him and when they didn’t he screwed with them.
A critic complained about us getting to know Fred before the burning because it made him more human and “humans aren’t scary.” I think it’s just the opposite. Fred Krueger the guy who works at the preschool and has a good time watching the kids is realistic. Things that can actually happen in real life are twice as horrifying than the monster in the attic or the alien goop trying to eat you. It grounds you and let’s face it – this is the base of all Krueger horror. He’s always been just realistic enough that you remember once he’s out of the dreams, Krueger’s just a normal guy who feels pain and can be beaten down just like everyone else. You could meet this guy on the streets. And now we’ve given that already horrifying person unlimited power in a dream world where that stalker with an obsession with you can do whatever the hell he wants. That’s scary.
On that note – Haley nailed this role. He played Freddy’s cheesy one liners straight and it made for an interesting effect. He started out serious and all business and eventually started to have a bit of fun with it. By the time he needled down the kids to his favorite little Nancy – he was just having fun again. It was a great effect that mirrored the movies that started with maybe one or two lines in the first film down to the final film which was straight comedy. But there were some great lines and they made me laugh. Like they were supposed to – Fred Kreuger cracks jokes. And as Mike said “They’re funny because you’re not the one getting cut.”
And those that were getting cut – were not bad. I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with an outcast Nancy, but she really wasn’t all that outcast. She was pretty normal all things considered and that made for more realism. In fact, all of the kids reactions were pretty nailed. One of the problems with the earlier films is most of the kids didn’t well….react. They just sort of went “Huh. That’s bad.” These kids scream and yell and freak out. Poor Jesse had a break down when Kris died and him sitting in the jail cell smacking himself in the head sobbing going “Stay awake, stay awake!” was appropriate (and I cracked a smile).
And best of all? It was a level of violence I could handle. The two worst deaths in the film weren’t all that out there and they stuck to relatively quick, bloody deaths. It wasn’t so much gore as realistic violence and only the last death was really twitch worthy. I don’t want to be grossed out by violence. I want to see Freddy mess with the kids’ heads. Plus? There was no sex or gratuitous nudity to sit through. That made me ridiculously happy because the movie didn’t need it.
Though, this isn’t to say the movie didn’t have its faults. A few of the CGI effects were rather, um. Less than adequate. It’s sad when the movie from the 80’s does a special effect better than a CGI remake. I’m sorry, but Freddy coming out of the wall was cheesy and jarring because it looked fake. At least in the original they were moving a physical object. The cinematography fell pretty flat as well. The shots were pretty straight on and dull so even the scenes that were working (Micronaps anyone?) had their effects lessoned quite a bit.
Overall though – this movie was awesome and if you enjoyed the first movies – you will enjoy these. I loved the shift of focus from the kids to the monster and I think they did an amazing job with it. They’ve made Freddy Kreuger a truly horrifying figure even when he’s making you smile with a joke.
Though, despite all of Freddy’s amazing one-liners and dialogue, I think Quentin got the best line out of the film: “Ah, shit.”
…but Freddy still had the crowning moment of awesome which I will not repeat because you need to hear it yourself. All you need to know is it’s during Nancy’s final confrontation of Freddie. XD
I can’t wait for this movie to come out on DVD.
- Nancy is a regular teen who stepped up to the plate and fought back. Jesse had Freddy possessing him and fought back and broke free. Kristen fights back and frees her friends. Alice had enough and kicked Freddie’s tail, twice. Katherine? She tells Daddy where he can shove it. And of course Krueger himself who always comes back with a smile on his face and a joke on his lips as he reminds the kids whose in charge.
- At the start anyway, after the first movie they definitely started reaching for more stomach churning deaths.
- Certain deaths, dialogue, body bag getting dragged in the hallway…you know them.
- Which is also interesting how this one seems worse than the original who murdered kids.