Sunday, May 2, 2010

Box Office Review - A Nightmare On Elm Street

Platinum Dunes, the company behind such horror remakes as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th takes another classic horror franchise and makes it worse. The Nightmare On Elm Street series is not a favourite of mine and with the Platinum Dunes makeover it destroy everything that was decent about the series. My problem with the series comes from the character Freddy Krueger. In life he was a child molester/murderer and in death he becomes and unstoppable killing machine. An ingredient to a good slasher movie is that there is at least a little hope the hero or heroine will prevail. When a bunch of kids take on Freddy Krueger the situation just seems hopeless. While that may be the point of the films, it does not make for a good story.

One thing that the series did have going for it was the great use of practically special effects. The scene in the original film where Freddy’s face comes out of the wall still looks amazing and is rather chilling. The Platinum Dune remake does the same thing, but with CG and it looks like garbage. This use of computer generated effects in the 2010 Elm Street is very bad and lazy.

That last phrase seems to sum up the entire film; it is very bad and lazy. The film makes no effort to create any tension. The very first scene of the film is a dream sequence where Freddy is introduced right away. This scene sets a precedent for what the film is going to be, just a series of jump scares. I hate the use of jump scares. By cranking up the sound effects and having something suddenly appear on screen is always a guaranteed way to get the audience to jolt in their seats. This gets me a lot, but I don’t find this technique frightening. After the first couple of jump scares it gets very easy to predict when the next one will occur. The music will fade out; the scene will become calm, and then BAM! Freddy shows up and everyone jumps. Even a film that poorly develops tension is better than a film that only uses jump scares.

A lot of huh bub has been made over the casting of Jackie Earle Hayley in the role of Freddy Krueger. I think he is a great actor, but he is wasted here. He rarely appears not in shadows and his lines are few and far between. This is a real waste of someone with the acting chops of Hayley. The rest of the cast is filled with young actors, none of whom stand out with memorable performances.

The company of Platinum Dunes has again shown what their strategy for making films is. Make a movie that appeals to the fickle youth market, but is rated R so that there is some appeal to die hard horror fans. The movie should be heavily color corrected so that the movie appears to be blue. The box office will be booming on the first week, but will dramatically fall the second week. This plan has worked in the past and I assume will work for the immediate future. One thing is for sure, this plan will not produce any classic films.

A Banana Peel

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