‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ is no dream reunion

May 02, 2010 | 12:08 a.m.

The Los Angeles Times review of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was written by Robert Abele, here’s an excerpt…

Nightmare-on-elm-street

 

Now comes the return of A Nightmare on Elm Street,” thanks in part to producer Michael Bay, who, when he’s not frightening movie snobs as a director, has made something of a profitable side job resurrecting scare brands — “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” The Amityville Horror,”Friday the 13th” — from the pop-culture graveyard. This time around he’s coaxed back the estimably creepy Freddy Krueger from our bloody memories, but it’s hardly what you’d call a dream reunion.

The first “Nightmare” was the brainchild of horrormeister Wes Craven, who looked to embolden the slasher era with a child killer let loose during sleepy time: Reality-bending imagery added to the usual rip-and-bleed gore craft. Although the fedora-sporting, finger-knived Freddy (iconically rendered by Robert Englund) would, over the course of seemingly hundreds of sequels, devolve into a quippy circus act, in the agreeably cheesy 1984 original he was, well, original: a disreputable genre’s very own incubus.

Faced with everyone knowing the drill with Freddy then, the rebooters here — writers Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer and director Samuel Bayer — seek a little sympathy for their devil.

To that end, actor’s actor Jackie Earle Haley has been cast as Freddy, whose dreamtime terrorizing of a handful of attractive teens — led by Rooney Mara and Kyle Gallner, cast out of the Kristen Stewart- Robert Pattinson school of pasty, glum adolescence — comes with a fleshed-out back story of how a friendly preschool gardener met a possibly unjust, fiery end at the hands of a parental lynch mob. But Freddy’s genesis just isn’t that helpful to the cause of unnerving moviegoers. Psychoanalyzing a murdering creep didn’t work with Rob Zombie’sHalloween” (poor, abused Michael Myers), and it’s a mostly ludicrous diversion here, despite Haley’s game turn in the burn mask…

THERE’S MORE, READ THE REST

– Robert Abele

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