"Freddy’s back, but original will always be best"

Freddy Krueger.  Michael Myers.  Jason Voorhees.  Back in the 80’s, these three ruled the horror/slasher genre with an iron fist.  They were truly nightmarish characters, and for those of us old enough to remember, they set a benchmark for horror films that has rarely been surpassed since.  It is no surprise therefore that Hollywood, no doubt with the almighty dollar in mind, has decided to reboot each and every franchise – with A Nightmare on Elm Street being that last of the three to receive the treatment. 

The treatment in question comes courtesy of Michael Bay’s production house Platinum Dunes (who were also responsible for the Friday the 13th remake).  Typically of these remakes, it is very impressive visually.  Special effects have come a long way since the eighties, and the latest incarnation of A Nightmare on Elm Street is streaks ahead of the original – the transitions from real world to dreamscape are seamless, and the disfigured visage of Krueger more disturbing that ever. 

Unfortunately though, the rest of the film just doesn’t stack up against the original.  I don’t know if it’s a case of rose-tinted spectacles, but the menace and sheer terror of the original simply hasn’t been carried over.  Whilst not a poor performance, Jackie Haley as Freddy is no Robert Englund, lacking the sheer unadulterated malevolence of Englund’s Krueger.  This really sets the tone for the rest of the film – quite frankly I just didn’t find it scary enough.  Poor scripting doesn’t allow for any real suspense to build – the film plodding from one inevitable death to another.  The film makers really missed a trick by not focussing on the dreamland that is Krueger’s stomping ground, and where the real ‘nightmare’ occurs, instead spending the majority of the film in the mundane real world. 

I’d be very interested to watch an Elm Street virgins’ reaction to this film – fresh eyes and no expectations may result in a completely different perception, but for me, having grown up with the original, this remake simply doesn’t hold a candle.