Seriously, if you want to know what the new "Nightmare on Elm Street" is like, just watch the original film on fast forward. That's basically what the film is like. It's actually kind of astonishing. Most bad films move too fast that they have to rely on character archetypes; Elm Street goes so fast, they can't even set up those cliches.
Thankfully, I wasn't alone. I went to the midnight showing because I knew that it would be a raucous crowd and it would probably give me the best chance of enjoying the experience, if not the film itself. And once the lights went down, I wasn't disappointed. The mood was set perfectly by the trailer for Pirahna 3D and the beginning of the movie had a lot of people laughing at bad dialogue or giggling after a shock scare. But then there was more bad dialogue and even more shock scares. And that was it. By the middle of the film, the laughs had been replaced by yawns. As the lights came up at the end of the movie, the anticipation turned to grumbling. One girl couldn't believe how bad it was. Another guy wondered aloud about the test screenings. "I know they had to reshoot half of the beginning but how bad must have it been to be worst than this?!"
And you can't blame nostalgia either. This movie isn't creepy at all. Director Samuel Bader's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video is creepier than this film. Also, the film lives off of the nostalgia. It gives you glimpses of classic scenes (like the friend in the body bag) but then blows by it to get to the next Remember This moment. The talk of Freddy's character being more fleshed out is kind of BS. They do make more of a deal about his past (and they show what happened rather than just talking about it) but everything goes by so quickly that it's not like it registers.
What's even more annoying about this is that there was a good film in there. And I don't mean because of the old version, I mean there were some interesting moments (like the person video blogging about his night terrors and you see him slowly wearing down) that could have been great to set up the film. Instead, the first half of the film is one nightmare after another. There was as much time spent in dreamland as there was in reality. Which brings us to the next problem, everyone just kept falling asleep. One of the reason that there was no tension was because people just nodded off left and right. And then they brought in the whole micronaps cop out which meant people didn't even need to really be asleep to be asleep. There was just an utter lack of basic storytelling and horror film structure in this movie.
I think the biggest mistake the film made was that they seemed to go into it thinking that since people already knew who Freddy was, they should bother making what was going on a mystery. But that is the part that makes it creepy. And even if the audience already knows, watching the kids struggle with it is half of the movie. In this film, it was almost an afterthought.
In the end, the most unsettling part of the film was when the hot girl was looking through a box labeled first grade and the year on the box was 1996.
For my spoiler heavy redux, read on
Oh, and I don't think I need to type this but, obviously, I wouldn't recommend this film
First off, I have to agree with the guys over at The Playlist Nation. If I was remaking this remake (or writing the sequel), I'd dump Samuel Bayer and get Tarsem Singh. Tarsem showed in "The Cell" and "The Fall" that he's a visually stunning director and he is exactly what this film needed.
Next up, you have to tackle the main story. Yes, the who is Freddy? angle is kind of pointless because it's a remake and everyone in the audience already knows who Freddy is and why he's killing people. (And the new shit about his past didn't really change that.) What I probably would have gone for was, instead of a whodunnit, make it a whosgonnagetit. Have the main character know pretty early on what's happening but make her struggle to convince others. The underlying theme could be about conformity; nobody wants to admit that they're like the weird girl.
There was a moment when Kyle Gallner's character mentioned that coma was permanent sleep. I was thinking it might have been interesting if one of the mother or a big sister was in a coma and she was protecting the main character from Freddy. Basically, the main character had a way to combat Freddy but people needed to open up to her and listen to her so they could coordinate. Maybe her best friend always calls her before she goes to bed so they can both enter dreamland together.
But other kids keep dying, people refuse to admit to the main girl that they are having visions of Freddy, and just when a few of them finally fess up... the parents pull the plug on the comatose sister. Now the kids have to fend for themselves. If it's a remake, they fight to stay away and then figure out that pulling Freddy out of the nightmare world is the way to kill him. In a sequel, they'd have to look for another way to get rid of him and work towards that goal.
In this film, the first goal was to figure out how everyone knew each other (although they don't try that hard to put it together) and once they stumble upon the answer, everyone's dead except the final two. And then the pulling him out is just kind of a half-assed plan. It was just bad.
Basically, that's what I'm getting at. This film? It was just bad.