Review: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (2010)

By focusing on the monster instead of teen iniquities and daring to move past innuendo into fact, this Nightmare on Elm Street surpasses its predecessors to out-menace them all.

Welcome to Springwood, a sleepy little town with a secret: young people are dying in their sleep. Well, okay, two secrets, actually: the reason behind the deaths may be due to a bit of vigilante justice on the parts of local parents taking the law into their own hands. Whatever the truth is, the body count is going up and time is running out, and you can’t stay awake forever, Nancy…

The man of your dreams is back, this time replacing franchise favorite Robert Englund with Jackie Earle Haley as the finger-knived dreamstalker Freddy Krueger. What’s new is an edgier, brutal slant that’s not driven by bored teens getting into trouble; these kids know they’re in hot water and are dropping like flies. Worse yet, Freddy has a plan and is executing it meticulously by the numbers, and every new clue for the kids is another for us. While the predisposition to root for the monster is ever-present in these slasher films, this one actually makes audiences want to root for the victims again.

Without going kill by kill (which would be spoilerish to begin with), the “new and improved” Freddy likes to play with his toys, a recurring theme which makes the overall storyline more twisted. This point is also systemic in what empowers Freddy this time around (which should also play out in any future sequels as ways he can be defeated, if only temporarily.) The dialogue is cautiously specific; instead of mere one-liners for the audience’s entertainment, Freddy’s really talking to the kids this time, and that classic 1-2 nursery rhyme both makes more sense and holds more dread than ever. Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Nancy is charged less with being a dream warrior and survives longer because Freddy has singled her out (insert sinister laugh here.) Kyle Gallner, Thomas Dekker, and Katie Cassidy (great screamer!) also happily contribute to the body count.

While this all sounds like a rave about Freddy 2.0 in spite of what’s gone before, I admit to being a fan of the series. There would be no Nightmare on Elm Street if not for the likes of director Wes Craven and actors like Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp. But with so many old franchises being updated and simultaneously destroyed in the process (watch the recent reboot of Friday the Thirteenth for details), the new Nightmare on Elm Street shows respect for the original material while re-inventing a tighter mythology with the essential elements. And finally, whatever Michael Bay did as producer for this film, he needs to do more often for every film he’s involved in (you know, by staying out of it as much as possible.)

(a four skull recommendation out of four)
4.0 out of four skulls

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About Grim D. Reaper

Host of MovieCrypt.com. With my likeness being used in hundreds of films without permission, film critique isn’t dead until I SAY it is.
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4 Responses to Review: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (2010)

  1. Ameircan says:

    Wow. You were obviously paid. No wonder this site isn’t credible. The film sucks. 4 out of 4? Screw this site. The film and this pathetic fake scary site sucks. Don’t see the film. Its horrible.

  2. I’m seeing some very negative reviews from sites I would have thought would have enjoyed the new film (although some very positive numbers from audiences.) I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by revealing that this is a reboot, “Freddy Begins” or “Casino Krueger.” The world that they have recreated is one where Freddy isn’t known. What were fans expecting or wanting if not this? Sillier wisecracks? Funnier kills? A higher body count?

  3. Horror Fan says:

    I agree completely with your review I loved every minute of the film. I was desperately hoping that it wouldn’t be done like some cheesy rip off of the original. You know with dumb jokes that aren’t very funny at all. I was happy to see a more sinister Freddy. Also I read some reviews that said the film moved slow…. well I don’t know what they were watching I thought it kept my attention the entire way. So to Mr. American that commented first….. I hope you don’t claim to be horror fan because a true horror fan would like this movie. IMO

  4. Default1582 says:

    There are trolls everywhere.

    I am not a horror fan most of them scare me so I dont watch them..

    I almost did not see this one and I was so glad I did I loved this film
    Jackie Earle Haley was awesome as Freddy.

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