What Went Wrong In The Remake Of A Nightmare On Elm Street?

1984 theatrical poster (left)
2010 theatrical poster (right)

Remakes of a popular franchise are always a decisive subject.
Creators face a daunting task of creating something different with the IP (intellectual property) while keeping the charm that made the original content special.
Should the remake be aimed at an entirely new audience? Or should it try to bring back fans of the original content?

Popular horror franchise, A Nightmare On Elm Street received the remake treatment in 2010 and was met with negative reviews, even receiving a dreadful 15% from popular review site Rotten Tomatoes.
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing what I feel awry with the title.

Trigger warning: gory image in the post!

Robert Englund (left)
Jackie Earle (right)

Mediocre Script

It was no secret that the 2010 remake wouldn’t be able to live up to the legacy created by its 1984 namesake.
The original movie opened with a plot twist. The first character we see, Tina, who was presented as the main character, was killed off rather early in the movie, revealing that the lead was Nancy Thompson.
The lead-up, nature, and presentation of Tina’s death were drawn out and gruesome, with fantastic practical effects for the time.
There was no way to replicate this that would’ve had the same impact.

Instead, we’re quickly introduced to a character, Dean Russell, who has fallen asleep at a diner. Freddy is quickly introduced into the movie; there’s no climactic build-up.
We’re then introduced to other characters just before Freddy promptly claims the first victim.
It’s uncomfortable to watch, but it’s quickly forgotten.

The script also hindered the performance of Jackie Earle. While Freddy wasn’t as quip-heavy and flippant as he grew to be in later titles within the original continuity, his lines within the remake often fell flat. I felt Earle himself was hindered by the way they wanted Freddy to be portrayed in the remake.
His delivery of the lines worked well; but because they wanted a grittier version of Kruger, they missed a plethora of opportunities to add a smarmy quip.
Freddy just felt lifeless. If they didn’t include his backstory or mention this was A Nightmare On Elm Street Feature, he’d feel as if he was a bog-standard slasher antagonist.

Nancy Thompson (left)
Nancy Holbrook (right)

Dull Characters

The character of Nancy in the 2010 remake pales in comparison to the characters original iteration.
Rooney Mara’s performance isn’t bad by any means, but it isn’t as memorable as Heather Langenkamp’s portrayal of Nancy.
This version of Nancy is portrayed as the lonely creative character trope. This isn’t terrible, but lacks the strong willed nature that Langdenkamp’s character had.
Nancy Thompson was tormented by Freddy, but always seemed one step ahead of him. Mara’s character just feels like a cliche slasher victim, until the movies climax, where she abruptly finds out how to outsmart Freddy.
This also falls into the issue of bad script writing, but it is such a glaring issue it deserved to be pointed out in its own paragraph.

1984 (top)
2010 (bottom)

Overreliance on CGI

This point could apply to more than a handful of modern horror movies, but I digress.
The addition of CGI to a movie can often enhance scenes, being able to add extra details that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
However, if it isn’t implemented well, it can significantly decrease the impact of a scene.

The remake recreates various scenes from the original. I’m going to be using the scene in which Freddy comes through the wall above Nancy while she was in bed as an example.
The effect in the remake lacks the creepyness that the original had. It’s glaringly obvious it’s CGI, whereas in the original it seems he could burst through and grab Nancy.
In some cases, practical effects are superior. They missed the opportunity here to upscale an iconic scene. Instead, we’re left with a poorly looking effect, that has only gotten worse over time.

Tina’s death (top)
Kris’ death (bottom)

Pacing/Build-Up Issues

Using another recreated scene from the original as an example here because it perfectly highlights how abruptly events seemed to occur.
In the original, what happens to Tina is drawn out. She is toyed with by Freddy, which ends up in her death. It’s unnerving on a first time viewing.
However, in the case of Kris, it happens so abruptly that it loses the build-up and tension that made the scene memorable.

This movie often fills like a kill montage compared to the original title.
There’s nothing wrong with a new take on a classic, but this remake screams “cash grab” more than homage to the original franchise.

Final Thoughts

There are aspects of this movie that are genuinely enjoyable. Freddy’s backstory is a welcomed addition; it adds a new and slimy depth to the character. The way he tormented Nancy into staying awake until she wasn’t psychically able to added more urgency to needing to overcome the killer.

Sadly, the good is overshadowed by the lousy aspects of the movie.
Unless you’re a fan of the franchise, or morbidly curious, you might as well give this movie a miss.
The original continuity has more going for it.

And on that note, thank you for reading my post!
Your time is appreciated! If you have any feedback or notice any errors, feel free to contact me!
For all things Life Told By Stacey, click me

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