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Nightmare on Elm Street, A (2010) (Blu-ray / DVD)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 on DVD and Blu-rayReviewed by MattFini

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

Directed by Samuel Bayer

Released by Warner Home Video


By now, nobody is expecting anything save for soulless garbage from the production company that is Platinum Dunes. What is fascinating about these company men, however, is just how severely they continue to miss the mark. It didn’t take a clairvoyant to realize A Nightmare on Elm Street was doomed to fail miserably – these guys couldn’t even resurrect Jason Voorhees for a simple round of murder and mayhem – but the mind-numbing banality of this film continues to baffle and depress. Rest assured, it doesn’t get any better on a second viewing.

It opens well enough, distancing itself from the iconic Wes Craven film in favor of introducing Freddy Krueger in a completely different fashion. Here, it’s a stalk and slash in the Springwood Diner as one of Elm Street’s kids starves off the throes of sleep by gulping down cups of coffee. We’re subsequently introduced to the rest of Freddy’s eventual fodder as another table of patrons, and director Samuel Bayer does a nice job of capturing the unease of the situation. We know Freddy’s waiting behind the proverbial curtain and it’s just a question of waiting for it to happen.

Instead of forging ahead with its own take on established material as the opening suggests, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 quickly becomes a schizophrenic mish-mash of its own misguided script (which turns Freddy into an accused child molester) and a petty replay of all the greatest bits from the 1984 original. Everything from Tina’s murder, the tub scene and the bedroom wall bit have been dusted off and reused without any of the visceral thrill that accompanied them under Wes Craven’s direction. It’s been suggested to try and take this remake on its own terms without comparing it to the original version, but how in the hell can anyone be expected to do that when Samuel Bayer, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and the rest of Platinum Dunes shackle themselves to the source material?

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 on DVD and Blu-rayAnd when this mess isn’t recycling setpieces, it’s floundering with an over-complicated script that explores material that didn’t need exploration in the first place. True to modern genre filmmaking, the approach here was to go back and explore Freddy’s past, only he’s no longer the Springwood Slasher. Instead, Freddy Krueger was a pre-school gardener who may or may not have been molesting children in a secret room in the school’s cellar. Of course, this negates his need for a gloveful of knives but the script allocates it to him anyway. And why do our teens keep dreaming of a boiler room when it has no bearing on this story? It was a creepy aspect of the original that worked within that story’s context. Here, it’s proof that this update was cobbled together by a committee without any regard for cohesive storytelling. Even the title, A Nightmare on Elm Street is pointless this time as it’s eventually revealed that Freddy has been killing teenagers all over the country in his convoluted vengeance scheme.

Many of the detractors have tried leveling some praise toward Jackie Earle Haley for his portrayal of Fred Krueger, but such praise isn’t warranted or deserved. The actor does nothing to make the character his own but he’s also failed by the dreadful content of Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer’s script. This Freddy spends the duration of the film nudging Nancy in the direction of uncovering the truth about him. He even goes as far as to pull her boyfriend into a nightmare that reveals his fate at the hands of an angry mob. But why? When Freddy is less a monster and more of a means for convoluted exposition, the movie fails in a way that even the worst sequel had the good sense to avoid (although Freddy Vs. Jason is guilty of this very same thing – only to a lesser extent).

Everyone knows that director Samuel Bayer was reluctant to sign onto this production. His lack of passion is woefully absent in virtually every frame. The nightmares aren’t scary and wreak more of Silent Hill than A Nightmare on Elm Street. The interesting concept of micro-naps might’ve been an innovative addition to the series but Bayer doesn’t use them for anything other than a series of weak jump-scares.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 on DVD and Blu-rayWhile this doesn’t quite scrape the bottom of the remake barrel alongside Rob Zombie’s Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street is probably the worst film yet in Platinum Dunes’ spectacular array of failures. It’s an incompetent rush job brought to us by businessmen without any real desire to return Freddy Krueger to his former glory. They’ve taken the money and run, yet again, leaving audiences to deal with the aftermath.

Warner Bros. brings A Nightmare on Elm Street to Blu-ray in a fairly disappointing transfer. The VC-1 encode definitely puts this head and shoulders above its muddy DVD peer, but I was still shocked by how soft some of this picture looked. It’s most noticeable in the darkest scenes, where the black levels are largely weak and gray. Grain structure remains prevalent throughout the proceedings and what textures are visible are quite pleasing to the eye. Overall this should please fans of the film, but I was surprised to find some of these problems in a brand new high definition master.

Any problems with the video are more than compensated by a rockin’ DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack. Cranking this in my living room provided a more encompassing experience than the theatrical exhibition. Sound effects hit you over the head as they hang eerily in rear channels to really boost the nightmare ambiance. Dialogue is clear and perfectly separated to ensure maximum enjoyment. One of the best lossless audio tracks I’ve heard lately.

The extras here are plentiful, yet short and lean. We get a quick featurette (Freddy Reborn), several focus point pieces (content you can also access via picture-in-picture mode), an even more lackluster alternate opening and an equally sloppy alternate ending. Aside from more back-patting nothing new is brought to the table in any of this material, and what is here is of precious little value.

Make no mistake, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 is an absolutely terrible film, complete with a laughable script, bland direction and a cast of kids that can’t muster a spark of charisma. Warner Bros. offers decent (if far from exceptional) video and powerful audio. There’s a dismal assortment of extra features if you’re really hard up for some promotional fluff but don’t bother if you’re looking for anything substantial. The most curious among you would do well to rent this disaster as only the staunchest masochists need bother with a purchase.

Special Features

  • Freddy Reborn featurette
  • Focus point featurettes (Blu-ray only)
  • Picture-in-picture Maniacal Movie Mode (Blu-ray only)
  • Alternate opening (Blu-ray only)
  • Alternate ending (Blu-ray only)
  • Deleted scene (Blu-ray only)
  • Digital copy (Blu-ray only)

    Film

    1 out of 5

    Special Features

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) in the comments section below!

  • Matt Serafini

    Author (Under the Blade, Feral), slasher movie enthusiast, N7 Operative. Plays games, watches movies, reads books. Occasionally writes about them.

    • Katsumi

      Eh I liked this movie, for me it makes the 2nd worst NOES film on my list I thought two was and always will be the worst, but thats just me…

      I really wish they’d but more special on the normal DvD’s instead of just one little thing… Does anyone know if a lap top will play a Blue Ray disk, I might have to rent this one just so I can see the special stuff, thats what I like about DvD’s is the bouns’s

    • Mr. Dark

      Hey hey hey! Easy on the Silent Hill reference! Don’t go dragging that gem down into this muck. :)

    • Pennywise

      I must be the only person here who actually liked this film. Was it outstanding? No. Was it anywhere as good as parts 1, 3, 4, or 7? No. Was it no worse than 2, or 6? Yep.

      To me, it was just a decent slasher flick with a pretty dark edge to it and a good performance from Jackie Haley. I think calling it an “absolutely terrible film” is a huge overstatement. I’d go at least 2 1/2 knives.

      • Masked Slasher

        I tried hard to illustrate the specifics that lead to my one-knife review because I wanted to alleviate as much of the “oh, he hated it becuase it’s a remake” thought as possible.

        It’s no secret, I hate the majority of last decade’s remakes but I do not do it blindly. For me, this one really missed the mark (like everything PD has done) and it bored me silly while doing so.

        But, to quote Dennis Miller, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

      • Rob

        You’re not alone, since I rewatched it again on Blu-ray and I still think it’s quite good. My main beef though is it feels like three different versions spliced together, especially given the diner opening which was done in the reshoots. You have the opening, then everything after the funeral leading up to Kris and Jesse’s death, and then everything after those two die. Those three sections just feel like they’re not part of the same movie, it’s weird. But still, I’d give it 3 knives, maybe more. But I have weird taste like that.

    • Vanvance1

      Good review, though I’d only give half a knife.

      Samuel Bayer obviously dislikes and has no understanding of horror. Worse yet he has no ability to create a narrative that extends beyond 30 seconds.

      This is the worst Nightmare movie in the series, period. It’s so damn uninspired that I’m amazed I got through it at all.

      Unfortunately this isn’t the worst cinematic turd Dunes has given us as The Hitcher remake was even worse.

      I think in the future DC has to approach Dune’s output with a lot more cynicism and less hype.

      • Uncle Creepy

        We give PD a fair amount of shit already, but as much as we’d like to we cant take sides!

        • Terminal

          Since when? I always thought you guys were all considerably anti-PD or that of the common sense where you recognized the idiotic practices of PD and were striving to show you were the opinionated horror site. And now it’s “We’re backing off on them for a little while, we don’t want to play favorites”?

          Vavance has a good point. I’ve always assumed DC did nothing but takes sides on issues and company practices and now to see you’re likely going to play soft ball is disheartening at best, especially for a company like PD who makes money off gullibility and brand exploitation.

          So it’s “Support unrated horror! Screw the MPAA! But… we’re backing off of other studios for a while.” A bit contradictory if you don’t mind my saying.

          What changed your attitude all of a sudden? The same that changed BD’s? Does your comment indicate someone told Matt Fini to go soft on his rating and sacrifice pure honesty in his review?

          Just curiosity getting the best of me.

          In either case, yes, terrible god awful movie. Definitely a half knife. I also notice you glossed over the fact that the director who has zero ability in the genre also insulted horror fans shortly after releasing the film. Interesting note.
          ———-
          “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Masked Slasher

            Rest assured, I have never been told to curtail my thoughts for this site on any subject. I took quite a few shots at them throughout my NOES review – all of which made it into the final version.

            I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t allowed to speak my mind.

            And while I don’t want to speak for Uncle Creepy, I think he’s saying that should PD make any more forays into the genre, we’ll do our best to keep an open mind until we see the final product ourselves.

            That doesn’t mean I won’t express skepticism and doubt in any news story I may write on the matter. I just think it becomes boring if we become broken records on the subject (which, I’m sure I already am).

            • Vanvance1

              That’s all fair and I think it’s a well written, honest review.

              However, I don’t see why (in the future) DC must help Dunes publicity machine just because they have a huge PR budget and supply countless ‘stories’ for each of their films.

              How many articles with a positive spin did we see about this ‘Nightmare’ movie before the final project arrived? A lot.

              You do horror fans a severe disservice when you hype up something like this KNOWING that the likely outcome will be poor. And you do know it’ll be poor based on what has come before.

              In this case you need to take sides and the side you need to take is that of the dedicated horror fan.

            • ChaosWeaver

              Dude, you never know when Platinum Dunes will finally get their shit together, and hire a proper director with a decent script…You cannot judge a final product with only small pieces of info…

              DC is doing, and has always done, a grade-A job of providing fans with horror news, no matter how negative or pessimistic it might be. It’s the same reason Twilight gets ANY recognition by this site.

              On another note…Best thing would be for PD to make multiple movies at once, so that Fuller and Form (who are probably to blame for most of PDs failures) are stretched too thin to meddle in a decent film for once.

            • LifeMi

              Terminal and Vanvance1, chill out. Sure, most horror fans don’t like Platinum Dunes, but that doesn’t mean they want Platinum Dunes to make terrible films. ChaosWeaver is right on the money; I would love for them to pull it together and start making good films. I can understand DC’s reason for reporting horror stories on PD; it’s their job and they’re doing a fantastic job at that. Great review, Matt.

            • Vanvance1

              I’m ‘chill’ but I’m also being an idealist.

              The media has the power to influence what we watch and what the studios make.

              When a film is well hyped it’s a snow ball effect as it grows in popularity and genre (and even past genre) consciousness. Just as some people have become famous just for being famous (think reality tv), many films have done well just because there was enough talk about them.

              This is not a positive thing for horror (or quality in general) as successful marketing trumps actual talent/quality.

              So DC publishing all the press releases from PD becomes their tool, part of their hype machine. They know that’s more important than the actual product they deliver. They also know the majority of their bucks are not coming from the hardcore fan but from the casual ‘dumb ass teen theater goer’.

              It is however, the hard core fan that starts the snow ball rolling.

              If we say NO to remakes and crap companies like PD and instead focus our attentions on what is worthy then they have to start looking at product as opposed to simply marketing it.

              The modern media does not simply report news, it makes the news and shapes opinions. DC is part of the modern media and as such shares a responsibility for the health of our genre.

              Often, as was the case with hyping unrated films, they are a source for good. Other times, when hyping unworthy crap like this Nightmare remake (or Twilight) they are promoting crap. They will claim it is because the crap is popular but the reason it is popular is in large part the hype they are contributing to it.

              So yes, you’re constantly picking sides, there’s no such thing as neutral no matter how politically correct and righteous the concept may seem.

            • LifeMi

              I understand where you’re coming from, but consider this. As hard as it is for us to believe, there are some people who like Platinum Dunes and want to know about them. DC is just doing its job. Even if they don’t want to report it, they know there are people out there who are interested in Platinum Dunes or any other unpopular aspect of horror and are doing their duty to report it. I guess if you’re the idealist, then I’m the realist.

            • Uncle Creepy

              “Even if they don’t want to report it, they know there are people out there who are interested in Platinum Dunes or any other unpopular aspect of horror and are doing their duty to report it.”

              Once again … exactly.

            • Uncle Creepy

              “should PD make any more forays into the genre, we’ll do our best to keep an open mind until we see the final product ourselves.”

              Exactly.