Overview: The tag line for the movie is ‘Never Sleep Again’; I came back from the movie and slept like a baby.
I’m about to admit to something that many people may be upset by… I have never seen the original Nightmare on Elm Street! I know I’ve seen some of it because I remember Johnny Depp, but I don’t remember why I didn’t get to the end. For my lack of film pedigree, I’m sorry. I am also especially sorry to tell you that I went to see the new Samuel Bayer remake the day it came out. I’m sorry not only because it wasn’t very good, but also because I feel I may have tarnished the original for myself, when I get round to watching it.
Bayer’s Nightmare on Elm Street is just what it says on the box, it has the same premise; the easily recognisable Freddy Krueger is haunting the teenagers of a town, and attempting to kill them in their dreams, in order to get revenge on their parents. One difference that Bayer did make was for Krueger to be a paedophile instead of a ‘child murderer’. I don’t know why he decided to do this, maybe he was just changing things for the sake of it, but it made for several uncomfortable moments in the film and some rather distasteful jokes. Jackie Earle Haley, who takes over the role of Freddy from Robert Englund, has previously played a paedophile in the movie Little Children, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Knowing this makes me wonder why he decided to take this role as Freddy, did he think ‘Well, I’ve done this before…easy money!’? After watching him in both films it’s going to be hard to see him in any other role apart from as a paedophile. So whenever he pops up playing someone else I’ll want to yell at the screen ‘Don’t leave your kids with him!’ Surely that can’t be good for his career.
One of the best things about watching Nightmare on Elm Street was the atmosphere in the cinema. Although the film wasn’t what I would call scary, it was jumpy. This meant that there were many moments when the entire audience did a collective jump, which lead to some screams, and then laughter. The mood of the theatre also seemed more relaxed, allowing some smart arses to get in some funny jokes without being told to ‘ssshhhhh’.
One of the worst things about Nightmare on Elm Street was its conformity to the idea that its characters must always have perfect hair, even when they are being hunted by a crazed murdered with knives on his hand. I must admit that a few actors escaped the curse of perfect hair (there were one or two real grease-bags) but one in particular who hadn’t was Katie Cassidy, who played Kris; her golden curls were always so perfectly arranged she might as well have been Shirley Temple. I could never get my hair to look like that on a normal day, let alone if I was sleep deprived and scared s*%tless! It’s only a minor point about the film but it was so annoying, and was made even more so by the fact that Freddy’s makeup was less than impressive, meaning that they’d probably spent too long on the hair.
Another annoyance in this film were the ‘micro-naps’. These are moments, according to the film, that occur after 70 hours without sleep. What happens is you fall asleep, but don’t notice, and land straight in a dream. I have done an extensive 15 minutes of research about dreaming and spoken to my friend who’s studying psychology and I can now tell you this would never happen. ‘Micro-naps’ are real things but there is no way you would fall that quickly into a dream. Dreaming happens when we enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which usually occurs 70 to 90 minutes after we have fallen asleep, therefore the kids in this movie couldn’t have dreamt as quickly as they did. According to my friend, people with narcolepsy can enter REM sleep as quick as 10 minutes, but I’m pretty sure none of the characters in Nightmare on Elm Street were narcoleptic, although that could have been an interesting twist!
In conclusion, watching Nightmare on Elm Street gave the audience a bit of a laugh at their own jokes, but very little scares.