September 28, 2009

The New Nightmare on Elm Street

Here's the first teaser trailer for the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake that's slated to hit theaters on April 30th, 2010. This remake, like most of the "re-imaginings" of 80's horror classics, comes from Platinum Dunes, the production shingle of uber-hack director Michael Bay. Thankfully Bay's involvement in this movie doesn't include him going behind the camera. The movie will be the directorial debut of Samuel Bayer, a long time video director who's done spots for Garbage, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins, among others.
Platinum Dunes brought us the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (and a prequel) The Hills Have Eyes remake (and a sequel) a reboot of The Hitcher, and last years Friday the 13th do-over, among others. Of that list of films, only the remake of Chainsaw registered as even mildly successful in my eyes. For the most part, the horror films from Platinum Dunes seem too glossy, too slick and too over-produced to be effective. There were scenes in the Friday the 13th remake that while set deep in the woods of Crystal Lake looked as if the doomed victims were about to run smack into the middle of a little league game because only a baseball diamond could have required the incredible amount of light pouring out from behind the trees. Then there was Jason's underground lair, that looked like it was left over sets from The Goonies, or perhaps Mr. Voorhees' had inadvertently stumbled into Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" video.
That being said, I'm interested in Elm Street redux not because I think the film could use a remake (the original is still an effective and scary horror flick) but because of the casting of Jackie Earle Hayley in the role of Freddy Krueger. Hayley, in the past, has shown an uncanny ability to deliver dark and creepy performances, and this role definitely requires that. Krueger, after all, is a pedophiliac child killer, something often forgotten in the sequels where the character was played for laughs. Hayley's performance will have to step out of the shadow of Robert Englund, the man who owned the character for the better part of twenty years, if the film is going to be successful in its own right.

There's not a lot of Freddy in the trailer, but it's interesting to see Hayley's taken the voice in a totally different direction and the burn makeup seems to also be a total re-invention looking nothing like the previous incarnation. It's also nice to see that this remake seems to actually follow Wes Craven's original script - some of the images, the claw rising out of the bathtub, the girl being pulled up to the ceiling, the boyfriend cautioning his girlfriend "Whatever you do, don't fall asleep" is right out of the original script. What gives me the most hope about this reboot is the total lack of humor in the trailer. Freddy, in the sequels to the original film, developed into a wise-cracking serial killer, always quick with a one-liner, but it's worth noting that there was certainly nothing funny about Mr. Krueger in the first Nightmare. There are some promising signs here; though I must admit the Friday the 13th trailer also looked promising and that film ultimately disappointed; so I'll remain cautiously optimistic.

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