Sunday, March 9, 2014

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" (2010) d/ Sam Bayer

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Yeah, I know, I know. Freddy Krueger review. I'm a big fat liar whose flame-enveloped 501's are putting third-degree burns on my admittedly elephantine cazzies, on this end. After seeing 'nuff  net-gativity towards the 2010 reboot, which I hadn't bothered catching (like most of the original series...ziiing), coming from hardcore fans of he of the finger-knives, floppy fedora, and ugly sweater-fame (a character personified for three decades by character actor and genre fave, Robert Englund, for better or worse), I decided that I ought to give the remake a look. I'd always felt that Wes Craven had some solid ideas on his pioneer excursion to Elm Street back in '84, if handled differently, for lack of better words, and a fresh approach might work in the remake's favor in this regard. First of all, casting Jackie Earle Haley, who's made a career out of playing ugly little creeps (dating at least as far back as the friggin' Partridge Family), as Krueger is a genius move, away from the familiar wisecracking horror cornball favorite for ages eight and under.

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Shakey-shake...shake it. Come on, pilgrim, you know he loves you.
Russell's at the diner, waiting for his girlfriend Kris to show up, when he dozes off, and is seemingly dispatched in his dream by a horribly burned yet somehow familiar man wearing a fedora, gaudy Christmas-colored sweater, and a glove full of finger knives, though outwardly, it appears that he's slashed his own throat and committed suicide. Kris witnesses in horror, begins to dream about the same mysterious man, then suffers the same fate one night as she's invisibly tossed around her bedroom and slashed to death in front of her ex-boyfriend Jesse's eyes. Jesse runs to Nancy's house to tell her his story, to find that she, too, has been dreaming the same dreams, before being arrested and jailed for Kris' murder, where he also falls victim to the shadowy sleep murderer. Nancy (Rooney Mara) begins to notice a pattern in the teen slayings, eventually discovering that she attended a preschool with all the victims, and that the man she's been dreaming about was a quirky little gardener there named Fred Krueger (Haley) that abused all the children before being run out of town...

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Freddy transforms a tittilating teen into a forgotten chocolate bar left in some fat kid's pocket.
When Nancy's friend Quentin (Kyle Gallner) falls asleep during a swim team practice, he envisions his parents among the angry mob that corners a terrified Krueger and burns him alive, leading the teens to believe that they'd perhaps lied to their parents about the abuse as children, and that Freddy has been infiltrating their dreamscape to exact bloody revenge from beyond the grave for their lies. Except, in the climactic showdown at the preschool, they discover that Freddy really wants to kill them all for telling the truth, as his secret toddler-torturing room is stumbled upon, complete with kiddie crayon drawings and half-fabricated finger knives. Drawing upon a piece of sweater that Nancy managed to pull out of an earlier dream, the two devise a plan to do the same to Krueger involving syringes full of adrenalin, finishing him off when he emerges into reality. Believing they've done just that, Nancy sets the preschool ablaze with Freddy's corpse inside, ending the incredible nightmare, once and for all. At home, Nancy notices Krueger in a mirror's reflection, just as he slams his finger knives out of the mirror into the back of her mother's unsuspecting head. Roll credits.

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Snarky captions to Elm Street screen caps seem a bit redundant, don't they?
I even thought about laying three wops on this one, but let's face it, that's just crazy fucking talk, man. Still, where I experienced corny non-scares throughout my encounters with the original series, I experienced some real menace and tension in the remake, with Fred's trademark wisecracks wisely toned down for atmosphere's sake. I can go on for days on end with comparisons, which favor the remake for me, or we can simply cut to the chase, as tackling three reviews in one evening has left me slightly burnt out at this point, by summarizing that most of the gripes of the Nightmare fan base towards this ninth installment comprise a lot of the reasons why I prefer it to the original, which I'd probably score roughly the same on the rating scale. For the silent minority out there, who grew to despise all things Freddy over the years, check this one out, you might end up feeling the same way about it as I do when all's said and done. Two wops.

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" One, two...Kelly let the grounder roll through..."
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