I figured this would be an entertaining remake if nothing else, I was wrong. Dead wrong. There was a much richer mysterious element to the original film and to my surprise, much more creative. I thought the kills and nightmare sequences would be vastly improved upon, but alas, gigabytes, greenscreens and CGI cannot compete with hands-on creativity.
The biggest question is of course whether a new Freddy is/was a good idea and I tried to give Jackie a chance; ultimately you can interchange actors playing Jason, Leatherface and Michael, they are suits and masks but you can't replace a personality. Known personalities such as Pinhead and Freddy Krueger ARE Robert Englund and Doug Bradley with prosthetics. Robert Englund brought us a believably creepy and demented sadistic killer where Jackie looked and acted like a pedophile. There were a handful of lines I enjoyed such as the 'body dying but brain living on' speech, but the rest seemed like plagiarized, recycled and poorly delivered lines selectively stolen from all the Nightmare films. (ex. Robert's "Your eyes say no, no, but your body says yes, yes." From Freddy vs. Jason)
I don't understand why everything needs to be explained in full now. I hate that. I didn't need to know what the force was, Michael Myers mom was a stripper? Oh, okay, his killing is justified. I don't care that Jason Voorhees played hockey and was prolific in archery and I don't care that Leatherface has no nose. Some things are more frightening if you don't know why or aren't given a chronological map of where everything went wrong. Where was the creepy nightmare goat in this film? Did they have to cut the sequence showing a young Fred Krueger as a goat-herder on his family farm? In the 1984 film, what Freddy did with kids was implied but never told in full. That gives the viewer the right to view him in any matter, even as an anti-hero. The new film stamps it on your forehead that he was doing unsavory things to children which more or less made me sick and made the character less likable. (I always did find it funny that Freddy had such a cult following and appeal with kids as a child killer, but it worked. Here it does not.)
The CGI becomes a distraction here; it's when things look too perfect that they lose believability such as Freddy bending the wall above Nancy. The original was creepier and it was produced in camera. The kills were boring. "I fall asleep, Freddy shows up, Freddy says something, I'm stabbed, I'm dead." Remember Rod (1984) being slowly strangled by bed sheets? That was scary, creative and left people thinking that perhaps Nancy was imagining Krueger and that Rod had hung himself. The new 'Nancy in the bathtub' scene was a boring cop-out and seemed more or less to be suggesting that it could be frightening. Even Tina's death being dragged across the ceiling was more vicious and sadistic in the original. EVERY 'scare' in this film is the cliché loud music and somebody jumping into frame.
I couldn't care less about the kids in this film, they are bratty and almost apathetic/nihilistic to the idea that they were being stalked in their sleep. Forget about brewing coffee in your closet, these kids are popping pills and using needles to stay awake this go around. I didn't buy that they were sleep deprived as the actors had shaggy or ratty hair and clothes, baggy eyes and looked strung out on heroin since the beginning of the film. The unnecessary 30 second video blog cameo by the likable Asian stoner from the Friday the 13th remake was the only time anyone seemed like they wanted to live.
The simplified story, CG, and casting aren't the only problems, the screenplay seems to be jumbled as certain characters have been blended and displaced. The 'Tina' character or 'Kris' in this film seems to take on most of Nancy's research early on in the film imposing the belief that she was the lead actress. I'm not sure if that was the goal of the screenwriter, but it wasn't a very clever or effective trick if that was the intent. The altogether renaming of the characters and traits begs the question of why even do it in the first place? Why not just make a new sequel with a great script and high production value?
This film, to me, was more like a terrible modern high school cliff-notes adaptation than a remake. It brought nothing new to the table and improved on nothing. As a film it was outperformed on every level by it's 26 year old predecessor. I truly hope this dies terribly at the box-office and that talk of a sequel gets slashed from the mouths of New Line and producers of this sacrilege. Shame on everyone involved in this crap. Even the worst sequel to the original series has more entertainment value.
I am not a purest, I was looking forward to this and I have enjoyed most of the remakes to a certain degree.