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10 years later: Exploring the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

This is not so much a revival as a fascinating spectacle, even though several cult torches have reappeared recently. Michael Myers returned from the shadows in 2018 with director David Gordon Green for Halloween (and returns this year for another Halloween murder). Chucky has a remake and has a TV show planned in his work. Even Face with Skin came back in 2017 in the film with his name in the title. And while we’re here, who knows when we’ll see Jason back from Camp Crystal Lake.

This is Freddy. Bloody Disgusting’s The Boo Crew recently spoke with actor Elijah Wood, and during their conversation he mentioned his interest in working on a possible new nightmare on Elm Street – in a funny way director Dr. Sleep Mike Flanagan also showed an interest in spinning his own thread on fabric. But during this conversation with Wood, I was thinking of an existing remake of Nightmare on Elm Street (director: Samuel Bayer, script: Wesley Strick and Eric Heisser).

Today, the 30th. April 2020, the remake of Elm Street celebrates its 10th anniversary. My common memory of the 2010 nightmare was that everything was fine – nothing super memorable. But if you look again, it’s interesting to see the changes that have taken place in Freddy’s personality, as well as the new approach to his story with the children of Elm Street.

While Nightmare films for this remake focused on Freddy as a child killer, Nightmare 2010 tends to be a paedophile. Despite all the cruelty and fantastic footage in the 2010 film, it is Freddy’s past involvement with children that makes the horror of the film. Compared to previous versions of the Nightmare franchise, Nightmare 2010 has a lot to do with nervous emotions; Freddy’s memory of the characters in his childhood caused a lot of unease as he revealed more of his story.

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Just like the first film in the series, the 2010 remake spends a lot of time alternating the interaction with Freddy and the main characters who examined him. But what makes the 2010 film interesting is that it seems to tend a bit towards the conspiracy about the parents and Freddy. On the one hand, there is a decent level of conversation between the central staff of the young people and their parents. Nancy and Quentin (played by Rooney Mara and Kyle Gallner respectively) meet Nancy’s mother (Connie Britton) when they come across old children’s pictures; this worries them because they can’t remember meeting her at such a young age. After being forced to explain, Nancy’s mother said the parents wanted to hide what Freddy had done to them so they wouldn’t have to go through the trauma. To put it simply: Terms such as ‘application’ are never explicitly mentioned, but their pictorial character is quite simple and implies such concepts.

Although this remake does not go into detail, it does make a thematic attempt to convey the fear of trauma – the resistance to the confrontation with the past. Even as a fantastic creature, Freddy is confronted with a much more realistic horror in his remake. In a dream sequence in which Quentin learns how his parents murdered Freddy, there is a short dialogue line between different people in which they talk about the attempts to get Freddy out of his hiding place by fire; this line mentions, among other things, that they oppose bringing their children to justice against Freddy. So instead of ensuring that their children survive the potential trauma of the process, they end up killing Freddy themselves. And Freddy can, in a nutshell, say the film is innocent.

These changes in Freddy and his past are the only ingredients that give the film a unique voice. They let the film breathe a terrifying air and feed the nightmare of the 2010 horror. This new approach to Freddy’s story not only brings terror to his character, but is also based on a case study from the Nightmare franchise.

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Basically Nightmare 2010 is a solyanka of good and evil.

There are many elements that come directly from the original film, such as the damage to the reputation of our protagonist and other similarities in the scene (for example, a man where a friend spent the night and saw our fake protagonist die in his sleep). And although the cast doesn’t differ much, the main idea of this remake – Freddy’s personality. Although I want to say it on the surface, I think Freddy 2010 has an interesting view on him (given the attempt to give a more realistic picture of his burnt flesh).

If we have always known Freddy by the voice and manners of the great Robert Englund, then Freddy 2010 plays Jackie Earl Haley (you probably know him as Rorschach of the Zack Snyder Guardians). On the positive side, I like Hayley’s voice in the movie (it’s scary enough to intimidate you). But I really can’t go any further in my praise; and to be clear, I don’t think the blame lies entirely with Hayley.

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When we think of Freddy in all his previous films, his dark humour immediately springs to mind. Anglund’s stupid humour not only gave the character a pleasant attraction, it also increased his sense of curvature. However, Freddie Hayley makes little effort to follow the rod path because he can’t imitate his style. Freddie Hailey is indeed much scarier at birth and has lost most of the icy playfulness for which Freddie Anglund is known. Here his dialogue is more directly aimed at hurting than at playing with the victims, so that he feels at ease when he tries to say that stupid sentence. I support artists who promote their own character, but Freddy is a bad loser all over the world. Even with his ability to immerse himself in the dreams of his victims, he is confronted with a rather ordinary villager because of his boring personality.

Given this image of Freddy, the film is a much less terrible pleasure than the original shot. Although his dark injury from the past gives him a unique identity among the franchises, the main attraction must be Freddy – and this Freddy – a nightmare that allows the viewer to fall asleep easily.

Given that ten years have passed since the release of this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Elm Street nightmare returns one day in the near future. The more interesting the questions, the more 1) Who will take on the role of creator in the new film? And 2) What will their rotation look like? It goes without saying that Freddy has a special place in our hearts for many of us horror fans. And I want the character to come back with a fresh new approach to classic material (Mike and Elijah, I’m looking at you and your incredible creativity).

If you’ve never seen a 2010 remake, I only recommend it if you’re unhealthy curious. Many of the franchise entries are on a higher podium than the 2010 title. However, I would have to give up his film for a more passionate approach to overcoming past traumas. If this part had been researched on a larger scale, I think the Elm Street nightmare in 2010 would have been something special.

Unfortunately…

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