March 24, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 36°F


Thriller remake fails to frighten

Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface have plagued theaters until recently, but now Freddy is back. The horror icon who can kill people in their sleep has returned in the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
In the opening scene, Dean (Kellan Lutz), a sleep-deprived high school teenager, violently and mysteriously dies. Before his death, he tells Kris (Katie Cassidy) about nightmares he has been having. Soon after his funeral, Kris, Nancy (Rooney Mara), Quentin (Kyle Gallner) and Jesse (Thomas Dekker) — Dean’s classmates— find themselves being haunted with similar dreams. One by one, the teens die at the hands of none other than Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley).
Though most of the film uses the same scare tactics as other horror flicks, Freddy has some frightening moments. Some scenes attempt to build suspense with intense music and drastic changes in lighting. And the fact that the sleep-deprived characters never know when they are in a dream can create shocking moments as Freddy pops out of nowhere to wreak havoc.
The dreamscapes are well-edited. Shaking bookcases, darkly lit boiler rooms, abandoned schools and people flashing in and out of scenes during these visions make them somewhat fun to watch. In experimenting with sound, the director helps Freddy create cool, scraping noises with his bladed hands, especially when he waves his fingers rapidly or raps them against a wooden door.
Haley is one of the better-known stars in this movie, and it shows. The croaking voice he adopts for Freddy creates a sinister laugh true to his character. Freddy speaks, acts and glares with malicious and sadistic intent — something Haley embodies immediately.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is not as scary or suspenseful as other horror flicks this year like “Paranormal Activity,” but it is worth at least a rental later on. While it does suffer from an overworked story and a cast of uninteresting teenage victims, it is a tribute to nostalgic horror that has a little more flare and style than most run-of-the-mill, hack-and-slash horror films.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” was written by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer and directed by Samuel Bayer.