A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 (2010)

Starring: Jackie Earle Hayley, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Kyle Gallner, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz

Directed by: Samuel Bayer

Rating: 1 2 and a half

Jackie Earle Hayley as Freddy Krueger

I tried to go into this film with an open mind. I really, really did. But the combination of my love for the original Nightmare on Elm Street and the critics' general hatred for this remake didn't make it easy.

See, you can forget your Jasons and your Michael Myers, with their feet planted in the boring old '70s – I'm firmly Generation Freddy, reared/feared on an after hours diet of American video schlock horror: Brian Yuzna, Clive Barker, Stuart Gordon. But King of the Thrill was always Wes Craven, and Freddy Krueger was the villain of the '80s, the wise-cracking, kiddy-fiddling dream demon we all hated to love.

But now Freddy's back for the 21st century, and diehard fans like me have to decide whether or not it's a good thing that the good mid-twenty-year-old 'kids' of Elm Street can now Google (sorry 'Gigablast') their way to a solution to the matching nightmares that beset them.

Rooney Mara as Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010

Because otherwise, not much about the story has changed. Kids have nightmares, kids start dying, kids realise that back in the day (1996 – God I'm old) their parents burnt a suspected child molester to death and said stripy-jumpered paedo is now back and after revenge. Oops, was that a spoiler?

Watchmen star Jackie Earle Hayley slips effortlessly into the battered hat and knife-fingered gloves hung up by Robert Englund in 2003 (after the laughably poor but pleasingly old school Freddy vs. Jason), even trying to invest him with a bit of pre-mortem humanity, Freddy's Dead style (although without the 'son of a thousand maniacs' excuse) but it's hard to make a part your own when you're under three inches of make-up, mouthing someone else's lines.

Which begs the question, what is the point of this imagination-free 'reimagining'? It's far less scary than the original (in fact it isn't scary at all), it swaps clever dreamlike touches such as the porridge stairs for predictable 'made ya jump' moments and, despite its 18 certificate, it isn't even very gory – after all, nothing beats Johnny Depp being sucked into a mattress then spewed back up again in liquid form. Gone are playful touches like the tongue in the phone, replaced by a po-faced seriousness that suggests we might be in for a more considered take on paedophilia and vigilante violence. Er… no. If A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 sends a generation of disappointed teenage cinema-goers back to the original films then all to the good, but I don't see why it would.

If Freddy 1 was a real nightmare, this horror-by-numbers remake is more like that bad dream about work you have every Friday: inevitable, recurring and kinda tedious. It's not so bad, but it could be so much better. It could be Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street.

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