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A Nightmare on Elm Street(2010)
A re-imagining of the horror icon Freddy Krueger, a serial-killer who wields a glove with four blades embedded in the fingers and kills people in their dreams, resulting in their real death in reality.
For more about A Nightmare on Elm Street and the A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray release, see A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 5, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Rooney Mara, Thomas Dekker, Connie Britton
Director: Samuel Bayer
» See full cast & crew
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray Review
What's scarier than Freddy Krueger? His latest movie.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 5, 2010
You're not real. You're not real. You're not real.
The brutally awful remake that is A Nightmare on Elm Street will haunt viewers and shape their nightmares more so than the disfigured slasher Freddy Krueger could ever dream of accomplishing. Considering all of the recent studio remakes of Horror movie legends, A Nightmare on Elm Street is easily the worst. It's absent the brutality, ugliness, uneasiness, and excess gore of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the grittiness and atmosphere of Halloween; and the relative stability, flow, and fun of Friday the 13th. What should have been the best of the bunch -- considering the series' legacy, characters, themes, and ideas -- is instead a picture with absolutely no purpose, no rhythm, and no heart; it's seemingly content to simply recreate the most famous scenes from the original film and plop them into the middle of a barely-cohesive narrative supported by poor acting, terribly dull characters, sluggish pacing, generic atmosphere and music, and a Freddy Krueger who looks more like a deformed space alien than, well, Freddy Krueger. Props to the movie for a few decent special effects and a fair bit of gore, but even the worst Saw movie can boast that much. What a disappointment.
Several teenagers are slowly but surely coming to realize that, for them, the dream world is far more dangerous that the waking real world. Dean (Kellan Lutz) has been complaining of visions of a badly burned figure stalking him in his dreams; his wild claims are dismissed as but side effects of his medication, but when he seems to kill himself in a roadside diner, his friends begin to realize that he may not have been so crazy after all. Soon enough, Quentin (Kyle Gallner), Nancy (Rooney Mara), Kris (Katie Cassidy), and Jessie (Thomas Dekker) find that they, too, are being hunted in their slumber by a disfigured slasher named Freddy (Jackie Earle Haley), armed with razor-sharp blades lining a right-handed glove. The fear of sleep begins to have paralyzing effects on the teenagers; despite their best efforts, they must fight not only a deadly enemy but their very biology in an effort to stay awake. They begin to piece together not only their connection with Freddy, but with one another, leading them to a shocking revelation that will change their lives forever -- assuming they can survive their nightmares.
Much like The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street had the unenviable task of recreating not just a cinematic treasure, but repopulating it with actors tasked with filling the shoes of several icons. The first -- and most obvious -- solution to the challenge would be to not even make the effort and leave well enough alone. That's probably the opinion of most film fans, but every now and then, a remake works; The Karate Kid managed to capture the same essence as its predecessor while supplementing, but not replacing, its legendary characters. Unfortunately, A Nightmare on Elm Street seems the complete opposite; here's a remake that's a train wreck from beginning to end, with every single element not only failing to impress but leaving the audience detached from the experience and not at all caring for either the story or the characters. Not only does the picture fall heavily into formula -- teenagers are killed off one by one to predictably bloody results -- but its efforts to re-imagine the best scenes from the original only fall flat and seem like cheap rip-offs rather than loving homages. Each scene feels not like an essential part of a cohesive narrative but instead a random element that just so happen to play a part in the building of a very basic plot structure. At least the editing is strong enough to ensure that previously-killed characters don't suddenly pop back up in the movie 30 minutes after the fact; with as terribly random as the movie seems -- it really doesn't amount to much more than a collection of scenes crammed together -- the absence of any glaring editorial errors is about the best thing there is to say about this one.
Even the otherwise strong special effects and gore elements serve no real purpose other than as a means of recreating scenes from the original. They, too, seem cold and routine, and while they're fairly slick in appearance and maybe even slightly more seamless than the practical effects used in Craven's original, they simply don't do anything for the movie other than to give it more of that feel that it's just a wannabe clone rather than a respectful homage to the original. They're just another example of the way the film feels as if its its simply going through the motions and banking on making money by capitalizing on the name of the movie and recreating its general appearance, but leaving out the unseen and underlying spirit that made that first picture a genre classic. On that same note, this edition of A Nightmare on Elm Street is populated with -- to be kind -- bad characters that look good but are absent the intangibles that allowed the audience to get into the heads of the characters from the original picture and fear, cower, and scream right along with them. The acting is awful, and that raises the old chicken-or-the-egg question: is the acting bad because the characters are dull, giving the actors nothing to work with; or does the poor acting cancel out otherwise strongly-written characters? The former is the obvious answer, but it's not as if this version of Nightmare is populated with Oscar-worthy actors hindered only by a bad script. This remake is just awful all around, and in a case such as this, it's usually better to root for the bad guy, except that this take on Freddy Krueger is flat-out lame next to Englund's series-defining portrayal. That the makeup makes the Horror icon look like more like an alien burned in a spaceship crash than he does Freddy Krueger doesn't help, and the playfully terrifying menace that was Englund's take on the character is replaced by a dull performance supported by a few groan-inducing lines meant to recapture the trademark Krueger humor. About the only things worth rooting for in A Nightmare on Elm Street are the end credits and the hope that there's not a sequel.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray, Video Quality
A Nightmare on Elm Street's 1080p Blu-ray presentation looks nice enough but contains a few nagging problems that linger throughout the movie and drag its overall score down several notches. On the plus side, the transfer appears nicely filmic, retaining a moderate layer of grain throughout. There's no evidence of noise reduction, and detail holds up well, though both the picture's slightly soft texture and mostly dark elements don't allow for eye-catching textures. Fortunately, detail is strong enough, as evidenced by the way the image handles the usual suspects -- facial detailing and clothes -- but also in the way it delivers on several more nuanced elements, such as accumulated raindrops on a glass door or the texturing of carpet. Colors are muted and give way to a dark and slightly green-tinted image, but appear stable and true to the film's intended visual scheme. Blacks are deep and accurate, but flesh tones capture a decidedly reddish tint. Aside from the bouts of softness, A Nightmare on Elm Street's Blu-ray transfer is also home to semi-regular but very minor compression artifacts, as well as intermittent banding, the latter noticeable in its heaviest state during a boiler room scene midway through the film. A Nightmare on Elm Street looks fine throughout, but it suffers through a few problems that shouldn't be quite so readily evident on a fresh-from-theaters high definition release.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A Nightmare on Elm Street slashes onto Blu-ray with an impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a very full and satisfying listen that opens with creepy and well-implemented music that floats through the soundstage with a dreamlike quality and is punctuated by a hauntingly tight and foreboding low end. The music feels spacious and threatens to engulf the listener in the terrifying dream world; it never plays too loudly but that slight subtlety and delicate surround support seems just the perfect tone-setter for the movie. The surround channels come to life throughout and deliver some heavier and more pronounced discrete effects, including the obligatory thunder and rain that drench the soundstage and send several shaking blasts into the living room. When a character is sent bouncing off of her bedroom walls, the thud with each hit is perfectly reproduced. Slighter but no less effective sounds also find their way into the mix; creaky attic floorboards or the din of a bustling high school hallway are nicely and realistically realized. Dialogue is fine, save for Freddy's voice which often sounds detached from the rest of the track and always seems like an element taken from another soundtrack and plopped into this one. Otherwise, this track delivers a full-powered sonic assault that makes excellent use of the entire 5.1 configuration in the way it maneuvers sound around the soundstage while also ensuring that pinpoint effects placement and a few audible surprises support the film in a way that makes this the disc's best asset.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Nightmare on Elm Street features an honest assortment of extra goodies. First up is WB Maniacal Movie Mode, another of Warner's exemplary supplements that chronicles the making of the movie through a picture-in-picture window. This is an extensive supplement that runs the same length as the film and with only the occasional gap. It features the filmmakers and cast candidly discussing their thoughts on the picture, including the inspiration of the original and the effect it had on their lives, swapped scenes, Freddy's appearance and the mixture of practical and digital effects, set construction, special effects artistry and the replication of the original film's key visuals, costume choices, editing decisions and pacing issues, and plenty more. The passion for the film and the material is evident; it's too bad the end result wasn't as strong as it should have been, but regardless, one can't help but find some appreciation for the film and the filmmakers after watching this extra. It's very well put together and much more fascinating than the movie itself; viewers are encouraged to check it out.
Also included are several brief Focus Points (1080p): Makeup Makes the Character (3:34), Micronaps (2:38), The Hat (2:31), Practical Fire (2:32), The Sweater (2:20), The Glove (2:24), and The Victims (3:51). Next is Freddy Krueger Reborn (1080p, 13:54), a piece that looks at the icon that is Freddy Krueger; the differences between this remake and the original; the dark nature of this picture; casting Jackie Earle Haley; designing the characters' costume, weapon, and makeup; and framing and lighting the character in the movie. Also included is BD-Live functionality, an alternate opening (1080p, 1:11), a deleted scene (1080p, 0:58), and an alternate ending (1080p, 6:12). Disc two features both DVD and digital copies of the film. The latter, sampled on a fourth-generation iPhone, delivers a stable image that features strong details and a color scheme that's balanced and nicely reflective of the picture's intentionally dark visuals. Compression artifacts are visible but not overwhelming. The soundtrack is crunchy and lacks definition; dialogue is choppy and muffled while sound effects and music play as a bit tinny but are nicely spaced between the two small headphone channels.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Nightmare on Elm Street is arguably one of the worst studio films of 2010 and easily the least of all the recent 1980s Horror icon remakes. The picture never finds a flow, instead playing as little more than a string of scenes copycatting the original and assembled in such a manner that they construct the flimsiest of plots that manage to get across that Krueger haunts dreams and kills teenagers but offers little else of substance. The picture attempts to create a backstory for both murder and victims that go back several years, but it falls by the wayside thanks to shoddy filmmaking, an absence of cohesion, poor acting, a generic script, and lazy direction. Even the film's gloomy atmosphere only screams out "cliché" and fails to add any sense of creepiness or urgency to the picture. Worst of all is the new but certainly not improved Freddy Krueger. A remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street should have been good; this movie isn't. Warner Brothers' Blu-ray release of A Nightmare on Elm Street features a good at-a-glance but nevertheless somewhat problematic 1080p transfer, a high quality lossless soundtrack, and a decent enough selection of extras. Horror fans will at least want to rent; the temptation to see the movie is too much to resist, but chances are hardcore genre fans, admirers of the original, and casual viewers alike will all leave this movie disappointed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Other Editions
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• A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection Blu-ray - January 9, 2013
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