Monday, September 28, 2009

One, Two, This Remake Is Coming For You



I typically stay away from the online message boards - even those that tend to attract a smarter, more informed group of fans. Mostly because the comments are almost always slanted to the negative and to me that gets tired quickly. If I was as chronically disappointed in movies as much as some people seem to be, and if I discovered that I took zero joy in anticipating them, I'd just walk away and find something new to do with my time. I don't care how often I've been burned by lousy movies (and that'd be a lot, by the way), my enthusiasm for what's around the corner never dims. Call it a gift! True, there's plenty of movies that I end up disliking but I'm rarely down on a movie prior to seeing it. Sure to raise the usual advance ire among fans is the new trailer for the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.

Taking the positive point of view, I'm gonna say it looks damn sharp. But then, all of Platinum Dunes' films look sharp. There's some people who hate PD's string of remakes and on some level I can see the reason for the animosity. For me, though, the only one I've really and truly disliked has been The Hitcher (2007). I enjoyed their versions of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th but not so much as remakes but as new chapters in their respective franchises. I don't think either film holds a candle to the originals but I do think that they compare well to most of the sequels. Others may disagree but I can't go along with the idea that PD's TCM is so much worse than Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III or Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. And likewise, was PD's Friday the 13th remake a bigger blight on the series than Jason Takes Manhattan or Jason X - or even Freddy vs. Jason? It's faint praise to say so but I don't think so. My favorite PD remake to date has been their reworking of Amityville Horror - a film that's pretty cheesy to begin with and so in turn it didn't suffer much from the PD treatment.

As for A Nightmare on Elm Street, I rate the new film's chances of being good as fairly high. The original was one of the first R-rated movies I saw in the theater so I have plenty of affection for it but the series itself was never a big favorite of mine. After the buzz of Craven's film, watching Freddy get turned into a MTV-era icon wasn't so appealing. Of course, I have a soft spot for those sequels now but at the time each new Nightmare hit it was like "why can't they stick to making a serious Elm St. like the first one?" And with this new film, it looks like - if nothing else - that they're trying to make Freddy scary again. Is it too slick, is it too much of a retread of the original, is Jackie Earle Haley an effective Freddy? I don't know. I do know that it's an adjustment to see someone else as Freddy. Robert Englund truly owned that role so anyone is going to have a hard time replacing him. Even just to see Freddy standing in silhouette is to register something as being off about him. But I would hope that in the context of the film, Haley's portrayal will prove to be a strong one. Whether it is or isn't, though, the idea floated by some fans that they should've just brought Englund back is a pretty dense one. To relaunch a series for a new generation but keep the 62-year-old Englund in Freddy's sweater would've been a dipshit move.

And if this looks terrible to you, well, tell yourself it's only a dream.

8 comments:

Bob Ignizio said...

I'm looking forward to this one. As much as I love the original 'Nightmare', I think it's one film that could benefit from a bigger budget remake. It had a lot of great, imaginative ideas and pulled them off as well as possible given its budget and the effects technology of the time, but things like Freddy's arms stretching still looked kind of goofy.

Beyond that, the choice of Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy has me excited. Haley is an excellent actor, and based on the trailer you posted it looks like he's playing Kreuger his way rather than doing a Robert Englund impersonation. That's the right way to go in my book.

Jeff Allard said...

Bob, you're right about the original's low tech FX. I'd forgotten about Freddy's arms stretching across the alley way. Even in '84 that looked lame - but it was forgivable in the context of a cool movie. And I doubt if any performance in the new film will be as awful as Ronee Blakley's was in the original. So there are areas that the remake can improve on. Whether it'll be a decent film - who knows, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

knobgobbler said...

That looks pretty cool to me... and while I liked the original Nightmare movies they're not sacred to me.
Just the fact that they're ditching the jokester Freddy in favor of a return to a scarier version has me ready to go see it. I like Robert Englund but I'm happy to see a new take on the character.
Hopefully there is still a scene where someone gets sucked into a bed and pureed.

Geof said...

I just watched the trailer you posted (BIG thanks!) and I am even more excited to see this then I was before.

Like the previous poster mentioned, I ma glad Haley is not trying to imitate Englund's Krueger because that is a very likely recipe for disaster. I don't know if some of the scenes were from early in the FX process because his makeup looks a bit strange in that last shot.

One particular area of interest to me is the fact that Fred might actually be innocent and wrongly accused. That is what I got from the teaser's first couple of scenes.

Jeff Allard said...

Knob, Geof - thanks for the comments! We've got a long way to go before the new Nightmare hits theaters but for now I'm optimistic. If nothing else, I think Haley's career will get yet another well-deserved boost. He was by far the best thing about the otherwise disappointing Watchmen. I don't see him dropping the ball on playing Freddy.

Matt-suzaka said...

I think this trailer is pretty tight...it has some stuff in there from the original with what looks like a mix of some newness. I love the way the dream sequences are looking so far with the snow falling and everything. But I am very excited to see a different take on Freddy, and Haley looks like he is really making it his own in the quick moment we spend with him. I dig what I hear from his voice...it sounds downright creepy, and the make up looks interesting. I hope this movie delivers, and I can't wait to find out!

Jeff Allard said...

Yo Matt, let's keep our fingers crossed that this Elm St. lives up to expectations!

Will Errickson said...

I'm so over the horror remake backlash. Not saying they're all that great, altho' I certainly didn't hate the TCM or Dawn of the Dead remakes, but I think some fans have the wrong attitude--and little knowledge of horror history. How many Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolfman etc. remakes/sequels/3D "reboots" were there 30, 40, 50 years ago? Plenty. Nothing new here. And I was a big fan of Haley back in the days of Bad News Bears, thought he was great in his comeback roles in Little Children and Watchmen, and am excited he's gotten another promising part.