A Nightmare on Elm Street [Blu-Ray] Samuel Bayer

A Nightmare on Elm Street [Blu-Ray] Samuel Bayer
With characters suffering sleep deprivation and daytime delusions, along with a psychological breakdown involving possible childhood molestation and social anxiety, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has always been ripe with opportunity beyond passing moralistic parables. Add to this a killer capable of inhabiting nightmares, assessing and exploiting his victims' base fears and repressed signifiers, and the possibilities for character examination and psychological horror are endless. This was, in part, the driving force behind the modest original film, even if later instalments went the way of camp, with ridiculous one-liners and superficially ironic killings. While this remake rejects the corny fun of later Elm Street sequels, choosing instead to be a humourless mystery, it doesn't expand much on characterization or notions of consciousness either. Instead, it takes the original story of dreamland serial killer Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley) and updates his make-up to look more like an actual burn victim. They also add some much-needed back-story about his lascivious Groundskeeper Willie beginnings, touching kiddies in naughty places until some enraged parents burn him to death. That's really it. Otherwise, this is essentially a carbon copy of the original film with glossy, flippant direction and bland, interchangeable teenagers slapping their faces and saying, "I have to stay awake" to themselves. Little opportunity is made to examine their characters in relation to their individual dream landscapes, with most of the nightmares taking place in a dank boiler room. Young actors Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy and Kyle Gallner all handle their respective parts professionally, doing what they can with exposition-spewing ciphers, but it all feels lethargic and commercial. Still, it's a hell of a lot better than some other Platinum Dunes remakes, such as Friday the 13th and The Hitcher, even if it's just for not hopping on the misogynist bandwagon with unnecessary tit shots and moronic female characters. The Blu-Ray includes a less violent alternate ending, along with a bland "Freddy Krueger Reborn" supplement, which is a standard talking heads interview piece. There are also mini-supplements on the make-up and casting, which don't touch upon the fact that Jackie Earle Haley has been typecast as a child molester. What's nice about this release is that a bonus DVD and Digital Copy of the film are included. (Warner)