Nightmare on Elm Street, A (2010) - Dread Central
Connect with us
newelm.jpg newelm.jpg

Reviews

Nightmare on Elm Street, A (2010)

Published

on

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010Reviewed by Heather Wixson

Starring Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Thomas Dekker, Connie Britton, Clancy Brown, Katie Cassidy, Kellan Lutz

Directed by Samuel Bayer


I can vividly remember the first time I saw Freddy Krueger on the big screen. It was 1987, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors was playing during the summer at a local drive-in as a double feature with Predator. Once I had seen the Freddy Worm sequence, I knew I was a Freddy Girl for life and there was no going back.

When I originally heard that Platinum Dunes was remaking A Nightmare on Elm Street (true story: if you Google me, one of the top links is a comment I made on EW.com about the project a few years back), I was livid. However, being in the line of work that I am, remakes are now a commonality, and as I’ve come to realize through numerous discussions with genre filmmakers of every level, there are no sacred cows left when it comes to our boogeymen.

Freddy Krueger was getting a makeover, and that was the end of it.

Going into A Nightmare on Elm Street, what I consciously decided to do was keep an open mind and avoid the urge to compare it to the original. What I decided when the film was finished was that, for the most part, Platinum Dunes succeeded in delivering one hell of a chilling spin on the lore of Freddy Krueger and the doomed teenagers of Elm Street.

In terms of plot A Nightmare on Elm Street goes back to square one. We’re introduced to a group of teenagers who all inexplicably begin to have nightmares about the same man. Once one of the teenagers commits suicide while asleep, the others come together to find out what evil lurks in their missing childhood memories and how that relates to the increasingly disturbing man who terrorizes their dreams.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

In this new film first-time feature director Samuel Bayer isn’t looking to recreate the look that Wes Craven established with his 1984 modern horror classic. Instead, Bayer, who is known as the visionary director who may have single-handedly revolutionized MTV in the early 90s with his video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” plays to his strengths as a visual director to make this terrifying new trip down Elm Street something that translates well to today’s audiences.

What I also enjoyed about this new Nightmare is that we finally get some character development that doesn’t seem forced like you see in countless other horror films these days. The core group of teenagers taking on Freddy this time (Mara, Gallner, Dekker, Cassidy, Lutz) are all likable, realistic characters that you actually want to root for. There’s no jock, no stoner kid, no dumb cheerleader. These kids are just seriously screwed up and looking to survive. In supporting roles both veteran actor Brown and one of my personal favorites, Britton, deliver great performances as parents, who for a change aren’t the generic hapless adult-types we so frequently see. These are parents who desperately want nothing but to protect their children from evil.

Now, it’s time to talk Freddy. In this Nightmare Freddy is cruel and dark. Perhaps darker than we’ve really seen before. In the original series Freddy’s crimes against the children while still alive all played off-screen. Here, script writers Eric Heisserer and Wesley Strick avoid the easy route and explore the pedophile aspect of Krueger by giving us some back-story without going to far. It was a bold decision for Platinum Dunes and Bayer to agree to go this route, and while it is touchy subject matter, it never feels exploitative.

Haley, who has become the master of playing dark characters, takes his Freddy to some wicked and terrible places as he chases down his victims. While he doesn’t have that certain charisma that only comes from being Robert Englund himself, Haley does give the character a cold viciousness that has been lacking in the franchise since 1994’s New Nightmare. Haley’s Freddy is pissed and disturbed and doesn’t have time for one-liners or sight gags. He’s just here for revenge. And it was nice to see Freddy finally have a little menace back behind the glove.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

Even though I enjoyed A Nightmare on Elm Street, there are things I’m still not completely on board with. First is the makeup. It’s been a problem for me since I did my set visit last June. I can appreciate the decision to give Freddy a more realistic look, but I think that since Freddy is this evil entity in the dream world (and not reality), his makeup should have reflected that. That could just be my inner geek talking, but usually my inner geek is right. My other issue is that the big showdown between Nancy and Freddy in the final act is missing a little something. The film’s ultimate conclusion more than makes up for it, but I would have liked to go a little further in finding out just why Nancy is Freddy’s “favorite” out of all of his victims.

Also, surprisingly enough, the two scenes that slowed the film down for me are those taken straight from Craven’s original — the tub scene and Freddy pushing through the wall. I liked a lot of what Bayer did with his Nightmare, especially something referred to as the “Blood Bog” by the cast and crew and the opening scene, which gives the film a brutal jolt. But the film would have been stronger had it kept in the subtle homages to the original and avoided recreating those classic scenes. With such a vast creative playground, like the dream world, this would have been a good opportunity for Platinum Dunes and Bayer to really add their trademarks to the project.

The other thing I wasn’t happy with is that the film relies too much on digital technology to do its storytelling. While I do know that these days it’s hard to avoid digital effects, I just wish the technology was enough to keep the effects from still looking cheesy.

With all that being said on both sides of the playing field, the solid performances, stunning cinematography and visuals, and revamped and brutal Freddy make this A Nightmare on Elm Street worth checking out. While the film isn’t completely perfect, it is clear that Platinum Dunes learned how to improve its formula since last year’s Friday the 13th remake. And even though this Nightmare wasn’t nearly the memorable event for me that Dream Warriors was some 20-something years ago (how can you compete with nostalgia?), this is a good start to a new era of Freddy Krueger, and I’d definitely be interested to see where this new franchise goes in the future.

3 1/2 out of 5


“>A Nightmare On Elm Street by Heather Wixson

–>

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET CENTRAL
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Review Our NEGATIVE look at “>A Nightmare On Elm Street by Carmen Potts
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Check out our TOTAL “>News Center
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Find out what we learned from our Set Visit
Brad Fuller - A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Read our Interview with Brad Fuller
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Photo Gallery Feast your eyes on our extensive Photo Gallery
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Video Clips Watch all of our Video Clips, Soundbites, and B-Roll
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Video Interviews Get entranced by our Video Interviews with Jackie Earle Haley, Samuel Bayer & Thomas Dekker
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Black Carpet Premiere Make like you’re there with us at our Black Carpet Premiere Coverage

Discuss A Nightmare on Elm Street in our forums!

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!

Reviews

AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

Published

on

Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


** NO SPOILERS **

It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
3.5

Summary

The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

Sending
User Rating 4.43 (7 votes)
Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

News

The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

Published

on

By

Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

Sending
User Rating 4.14 (14 votes)
Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Reviews

The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

Published

on

Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher


The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film
3.5

Summary

Ultimately chilling in nature!

Sending
User Rating 3.41 (17 votes)
Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

From Around the Web

Trending