Osage Reviews...A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010; Blu-ray; New Line Cinema) - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com
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Old 10-15-10, 03:24 AM   #1
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Osage Reviews...A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010; Blu-ray; New Line Cinema)




Studio Name: New Line Cinema (Platinum Dunes)
MPAA Rating: R
Disc/Transfer Information: 1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.40:1; Region 1 (U.S.) Release
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Director: Samuel Bayer
Starring Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy


NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.



I wanted to see this theatrically, as I was always a Nightmare on Elm Street fan growing up, but alas, my work schedule has just been way too daunting; we don’t really get around to seeing much theatrically anymore because of this, but luckily I get good titles shipped to me to be reviewed from time to time. At any rate, I own New Line Cinema’s box set DVD collection of the original Wes Craven-inspired franchise, and I always felt that New Line simply flushed the concept of Krueger and the mystique behind the initial terrifying film down the proverbial toilet as the series went on, what with Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead – I mean, come on…3D glasses to see the “dream demons” possessing Freddy fly out at us to complete this series? Freddy using a video game to control some freaky kids in their nightmares, so that they bounce up and down a staircase and hit the ceiling? No, my friends…this wasn’t what the first few films in the franchise – notably the original – were all about. The sheer terror was gone, and then when New Line made an even dumber move to buy the “Jason” name from Paramount and introduce the Friday the 13th stigma into the series – things went downhill even further. First of all, New Line simply didn’t get any of Jason’s features or elements right, and with the studio’s decision to incorporate these two horror icons into one film (the infamous Freddy Vs. Jason), I knew it was over.

The right thing, amidst all of this hoopla and nonsense, that New Line did was to keep Robert Englund as Krueger prior to this remake – let me tell you, people: Nobody will play this role like Englund. Nobody. Case in point: The not surprising decision for Platinum Dunes to continue their remake machine going and releasing this “re-imagined” version of Wes Craven’s classic, using Jackie Earle Haley in the role of the burned-up-weenie gloved maniac. No, this is not the Fred Krueger you and I remember from the original franchise collection. No, his one-liners that creeped you out throughout the entire series are simply not here, nor are how Haley mumbles his lines in this remotely effective. Furthermore, the makeup job on this reimagined Krueger is just downright horrible and wrong – instead of the cankerous, burned-crater work from the original series, we have a Freddy here who comes off looking like the abducting aliens from Fire in the Sky. It’s ridiculous.

But I digress – I mean, did we really need Elm Street to be remade? I know this can be said of almost all original pictures, but there were some I just feel should never have been touched…John Carpenter’s Halloween is one, and although Rob Zombie’s retake on that wasn’t completely disrespectful to the original masterpiece of raw suspense, there are just so many that have been completely and utterly unnecessary and horrible. I bring this up with every review I do of a remake, but I must because it bothers me as I knew members of the DeFeo family…a good example of a remake gone horribly askew was The Amityville Horror, what with the changing of the events completely out of whack and inaccurately.

I’ve come to accept that we’re in the day and era of (mainly horror) remakes – I have been complaining about this trend in almost all the reviews I cover of such remakes, but over the past few reviews, I’ve simply learned to curb this because it is seemingly unavoidable. I just don’t think remaking Craven’s classic was remotely necessary. Now, I realize the same could be said about many other remakes over time, and some of them I actually tolerated and own on DVD or Blu-ray such as The Fog, House on Haunted Hill, Dawn of the Dead and more recently Platinum Dunes’ Friday the 13th…but the way I see it, a film like Elm Street from the 1980s is simply not “ancient” or “irrelevant” enough to want to remake. I can understand, perhaps, redoing for a modern audience something like the Vincent Price campfest House on Haunted Hill, but not this.

Regardless, I was curious to see what ye ole reliable Platinum Dunes came up with for reimagining the nightmare killer for a generation raised with no brains and iPods glued to their palms. As I said, I missed this in theaters, but it didn’t seem to last long theatrically in my neck of the woods (which seems to be happening with all motion picture releases as of late). Samuel Bayer’s retelling of Wes Craven’s masterpiece gets the basics correct enough – kids in Springfield, Illinois all living on Elm Street and having the same dreams about a red and green sweatered freak looking to slice them into chorizo, a girl named Nancy and one named Tina, yadda yadda yadda. The biggest problem with this remake was, as I said, the lead performance from Jackie Earle Haley, who was simply wrong for this role as Krueger. He just wasn’t fitting. I was actually hoping for more of a true backstory to the Krueger/boiler room/parent burning legend, but instead Bayer’s version here begins with the kids’ dreams and Freddy appearing in them much like the original which kicks off with Tina’s nightmare. The backstory angle does manifest later on, as one of the parents of the Elm Street group tells the story of how Krueger worked as a gardener at the elementary school these kids once attended when they were very young and ended up molesting them in some way, which lead to the parents tracking him down and burning him alive in the boiler room – but I don’t this was executed that successfully, compounded by the problem that it’s never explained how Fred ended up being able to haunt the children’s dreams.

A Nightmare on Elm Street also takes various elements of the different films in New Line’s original franchise run and splices them together, and any fan with a keen eye will pick up on these. Aside from the Nancy/Alice/Tina thing, you’ll see a diner sequence that will remind you of when Freddy stuck his finger blade into Rick’s screaming face on the pizza in one of the later films, plus characters bellowing “Welcome to My World!” at Krueger (reminiscent of Freddy Vs. Jason) and other Krueger-isms that you’ll recognize. The remake opens with the aforementioned diner sequence in which one of the Elm Street teens is seemingly alone in a booth of the restaurant, eerily reminiscent of the classic Elm Street nightmare sets, who calls out to a waitress that ends up leading to a meeting with Krueger. When the kid wakes out of the nightmare, his waitress tells him he can’t keep falling asleep at these tables all the time – apparently something he’s always doing, evidenced by his puffy and red eyes from a desperate attempt at staying awake. Eventually, this kid is sliced up by Freddy right there in his booth as he falls into yet another nightmare, but this is something that’s always bothered me about the Elm Street dream sequences – why is it that all these kids fall asleep and enter dreams in which they’re wearing the exact same clothes and in the same rooms and conditions as they were in when they fell asleep? This never happened to me…

At any rate, you know the story – eventually all the Elm Street kids get picked off one at a time in their dreams, until a desperate two are left to dig up the story about Freddy and what happened to them as kids and what their parents did to him in revenge; there’s the premise here also borrowed from a few films in the original franchise that the last two teens left manage to “drag” Krueger from their dreams into reality, where they can proceed to kick his crispy behind…do they succeed? Does it go without saying that every horror remake has set up a sequel to continue the “new franchise” timeline, a la Friday the 13th?

The biggest problem here, as I have said, is the main villain himself – Haley was just bad in this. The filmmakers tried to create a Krueger that was snappy, witty and creepy with one-liners of his own that he spews out before he murders each teen, but it just didn’t work. He wasn’t frightening nor horrifyingly funny as Robert Englund was throughout the old series, and his attempts at re-doing some of Englund's old classic lines just flopped. The makeup work was awkward too, as I said, with the Krueger special effects looking like the work done on the aliens of Fire in the Sky.

My advice? Stay with Wes Craven and his imaginative, and ultimately chilling, original.

VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?

New Line’s 2.40:1 widescreen Blu-ray transfer in a 1080p encode was difficult to judge, due to the simple fact that so much of the film takes place in cloudy, murky and downright dark dream sequence settings. The close-ups of Haley and his Krueger makeup looked detailed enough, and I did not detect any problematic grain, noise or shimmering/twitching in the image. Some sequences didn’t exhibit all that much pop to them, coming off looking a bit DVD-like in final appearance, but I did take notice to the fact that there was solid shadow detail during some crucial shadowy dark scenes in which you could clearly make out objects and movement in background black levels.

But this certainly wasn’t demo quality.

AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?

Look out, Iron Man 2 – I think we may have stumbled across a DTS-HD Master Audio mix that leapfrogs that disc’s audio track in terms of sheer sonic bombardment, and that was not easy to do. My Lord…from the very beginning, the walloping LFE on this track forced me to continuously lower my master volume due to the fact that the bass waves were rattling things on the other side of my room that never really rattled before. There’s a ferocity and heft to Nightmare on Elm Street’s Master Audio track that is simply jaw-dropping – the pounding of the bass during almost every scene, the constant surround activity as we hear Krueger laugh and call out names from the back channels in a creepy manner, the overall volume output of the mix…it was absolutely stellar. This is exactly what a well-engineered, sonically aggressive audio mix on a Blu-ray – and DVD for that matter – should be.

Just for kicks, after watching this remake I threw in the original Wes Craven film from my DVD box set and the drop in audio quality between the remake’s DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and the DVD’s remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was staggering. Although I expected that, it was just…well…incredible in terms of the differences between them. Still, the original didn’t sound all that terrible for its budget and age. Of course, the original mono mix is on that DVD of the first Elm Street, but I always run the remixed 5.1 track.

EXTRAS:

The disc that I sampled had nothing – not one extra. That was simply inexcusable for a remake with the legend of a classic in its closet.

SUMMARY & RECOMMENDATIONS:

If you’re truly curious because you’re a fan of the original film or the entire original series, give this a cheap rental. Don’t expect much, though, because it simply doesn’t live up to Craven’s fast-paced masterpiece especially in the main villain department. No one will play Fred Krueger like Robert Englund. With Halloween coming, this may make for a good entry for your “Horror Film Marathon” for other curious quasi-fans, but beyond that, I can’t see a purchase.

Let me know what you thought of Platinum Dunes’ reimagining of Nightmare on Elm Street.


Last edited by Osage_Winter; 10-15-10 at 03:31 AM..

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Old 10-16-10, 02:48 AM   #2
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Re: Osage Reviews...A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010; Blu-ray; New Line Cinema)


There's something I wanted to add about the Blu-ray video transfer which I neglected to mention in the initial review...the beginning portion of the transfer was drenched in a thick, syrupy olive/yellowish push that could have been stylistically preferred, but it continued for a good deal of the feature's run before turning over to the more stable reds and greens of Freddy's sweater. These beginning sequences were definitely bathed in this color pallate, however, which to me leaned towards yellow/olive and made skin tones appear off -- but again, this could have been for dream sequence effect.


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