Monday, May 3, 2010

Nightmare Remake: I loved it!

So this weekend was my second Christmas. The newest Nightmare On Elm Street movie was released. Check out my previous posting on Nightmare to get my review of the series as a whole. Also, check out the great trailer for the newest Nightmare movie before reading the rest of the blog:

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been watching this series for nearly 20 years. I love it (except the second movie). So I was more than excited to find out that a remake was in the offing. Actually I was a little upset that the reboot wasn’t going to include Robert Englund (who played Freddy in all 8 previous films and the TV series). But, I understood that Englund is just too old to play this roll; and it really wouldn’t be a proper reboot if he was involved as Freddy (though I think he could have made a cameo at some point, I think during the opening sequence when Dean was following the waitress, Englund could have been a cook or something).

But here’s a quick reminder of the plot of this movie. There are spoilers in the review. A child molester, killed by a mob of parents, has returned from the dead to haunt the dreams of the children he molested. The teens quickly discover that if something happens to you in your dreams, they happen to you in real life. So if one dies in a dream, they die in real life.

This movie has a small body count, much smaller than the Friday remake released last year. But that is common for a Freddy movie, where Freddy usually only gets 3 – 6 good kills in. This movie was no exception. Freddy claimed three teens within the time line, one teen via a web cam and Nancy’s mother (and possibly a dog).

A more detailed look at the plot and some of my comments on it are below:

Dean (a new character) opens the film obviously portraying someone who has not slept in several nights. He dreams and is attacked by Freddy, but wakes up to find himself in the Springwood Dinner (nice nod to Alice’s and Deb’s place of work in Nightmare 4), where Nancy works. Kristina talks to him and when he’s left alone, he falls asleep again, but this time Freddy kills him, by forcing him to jab a knife into his own throat and slice across it.

It seems that Freddy is very strong at this point, having the victims sleep walking that mimics the happenings of the dream (canonical based on Nightmare 3).

Kristina (based on Tina) is the next up to be haunted. After witnessing Dean’s supposed suicide, she talks to Nancy and Jesse at the funeral where she discovers that she and Dean knew each other before high school. When she approached her mom about this, the mom suspiciously tells her to get ready for dinner. She digs into her past and discovers she and Dean knew each other in Pre-K. She begins to show the signs of sleeplessness and falls asleep at school and wakes up screaming (harking back to when Nancy burns her arm in a dream to wake up in Nightmare 1, and when Alice witnesses Sheila’s death in Nightmare 4). Left alone in the house, Jesse joins Kris and they discover they are having the same nightmares! Kris and Freddy fight in her dream and she is killed just like Tina in Nightmare 1, where her body is flung around the room while the boyfriend tries to stop it. Then the boyfriend runs away, afraid he will be suspected of murder.

Jesse (based on Rod), is pursued next by Freddy, but not before he is able to inform Nancy of his dreaming. Jesse’s death seems like a one off, as it didn’t really seem to move the plot, nor did it reveal anything of Freddy’s background. However, Jesse’s death is the best in the movie, as Freddy just punches his gloved hand through Jesse’s chest. In the real world, Jesse has been arrested for the murder of Kris, and while in prison is going crazy in his cell. His cellmate is screaming when Jesse’s chest explodes.

One of the best lines in the movie occurs now, Freddy says something along the lines: “The brain still functions for seven minutes after the heart stops beating. We still have 6 minutes to play!” This reminded me of Englund’s Freddy and his one off lines! I loved it.

Here’s the slow part of the movie (as there really isn’t anymore deaths), where Nancy and Quentin (based on Glen) try to figure out what the fuck is going on! They discover that their parents had helped repress the memories of the child molester, Freddy, who molested them in Pre-K. Nancy also discovers that all of the children in her class have been killed (many ‘unexpectedly in their sleep’); and she gets to watch this vlog of one person who has a waking nap (the brain goes into sleep mode due to deprivation) and is killed on the vlog by crashing his head against the computer screen.

While Nancy is doing this research, Quentin is almost drowned as he has a waking nap while swimming (reminding me of Nightmare 5, when Yvonne does something similar when swimming). This time, though, instead of haunting Quentin, Freddy shows him how he was killed, burned to death by the mob of angry parents (it was Quentin’s dad that actually threw the cocktail into the boiler room).

Nancy and Quentin leave to find the Nursery School, and discover that the molestation story was true! By this point, Nancy has discovered she might be able to pull Freddy out of the dream, so she falls asleep on Freddy’s old mattress (Quentin too falls asleep, although he was supposed to stay awake and wake her up – just like Glen in the middle of Nightmare 1). Nancy can’t be woken, because her brain has completely shut down from lack of sleep. And he find out that Nancy was Freddy’s favorite child to molest! Quentin, wounded from a fight with Freddy, takes the steroids he stole the hospital and jabs it into Nancy’s sternum. She wakes up and pulls Freddy into the real world with her. Quentin and Nancy fight Freddy and they defeat him. Nancy burns the place around his dead body. And they are both taken to the hospital.

Back at home, Nancy and her mother discuss the events in the hall and just as Nancy thanks her mom for trying to protect her, and Nancy’s mom is about to say that it is all over. Freddy pulls the mother through the mirror, almost instantly killing her (much like Nightmare 1 where in the supposed happy ending. Nancy leaves to meet her friends in the car, when suddenly Freddy pulls the mother through the front door window).

What worked?
  • I loved that the music from the original series was used. It really added to the fact that this was a Nightmare movie.
  • Properly explaining the molestation, by having the teens that are haunted be the children Freddy molested!
  • The creepy Freddy (as much as I love the “campyness” of the later films, Wes was right in Nightmare 7, when he talked about how silly Freddy had become). This also made Freddy more realistic and easier to hate.
  • Not introducing Hypnocile as a drug to stop you from dreaming, but just using ADD meds to keep Quentin awake.
  • Nancy and a bad ass artist. I like that she wasn't as innocent in this movie (but I wish she had gained a gray streak in her hair like in Nightmare 1).
What didn’t work?
  • The internal time line. The class picture clearly says that the kids were in Pre-K in the ’94-’95 school year. Which would make them at least 20 in the year 2010! Not in high school! (This discrepancy was made more apparent by the fact that the actors are much older than high school aged students: Dean is 25, Kristina is 24, Jesse is 22, Quentin is 23 and Nancy is 25)
  • Internal plot point: Kris sets the alarm in her house on the night she is killed, but then opens the window to let Jesse in. And then later, when he runs out of the front door, the alarm is activated.
  • Internal plot point: Based on Nightmare 5, we know that animals are also part of the “if it happens in a dream, it happens in real life,” but does this include when Kris dreams that the dog is killed, was the dog dreaming at the time too? Was he killed in real life?
  • Fanboy gripe: The dog was called Ruffus. I think he should have been called Jason, as a throwback to Knicade’s dog in Nightmare 5 (who looked a lot like the dog playing Ruffus).
I can’t wait to watch this movie hundreds of more times. Now the only dilemma facing me, is should I buy the movie in DVD or BlueRay?