Friday, April 30, 2010

Nightmare vs. Nightmare

Here we go, another remake of a classic horror series so for this review I thought I'd do an original vs remake. Now I have no deep connection with the original so I hold no bias in this review at all. I watched both movies in the same night, starting with the remake followed by the original. I'll be judging them both in different categories, so here we go.

The Teens
First we look at the cast of teens for each film, starting with the remake. For the 2010 cast we have your typical group of twenty-somethings posing as teenagers. Not a single one leaves much of an impression and I have a difficult time even remember their names. Most fall under set cliches while others die before they can even become stereotypes. The only one to really stand out for me was Kyle Gallner as Quetin, but for all the wrong reasons. Gallner's expression appears as though he is constantly smelling a fart.

The '84 cast doesn't exactly break any molds, but it does a better job of developing its characters. The only actor most remember from the film is Johnny Depp as the boyfriend, Glen. However for me it was Heather Langenkamp as Nancy that leaves the biggest impression, and as the main character has the most development. As the movie progresses and the fear of falling asleep has pushed her to the edge, instead of crumbling under the pressure she finds the strength to fight back.

I have to give this round to the original, with the stronger lead claiming the win.

Next up is who is the better Freddy Krueger, and I won't linger on this for to long since the winner should be obvious. While I didn't love Watchmen I will admit Jackie Earle Haley was perfect as Rorschach, and that is exactly what we get from his Freddy. It is like pulling Rorschach's mask off to reveal Freddy Krueger underneath, but not the same Freddy we've known for years. The 2010 Freddy has a different take on the look of burnt flesh, which gives this Freddy eyes that resemble a cat's that just did not do it for me.

Of course the original Freddy was Robert Englund, who portrayed the character in every installment of the series except this one. The original Freddy is a horror icon, but unlike Jason or Michael Myers you can't simply put a mask on anyone and make them Freddy. Robert Englund's performance is a big part of what made Freddy as a character.

The bottom line is the original Freddy is the one that will be remembered for years to come, while the 2010 version will likely be forgotten. Robert Englund is the winner by a landslide.

Which version has the better nightmare sequences? Well to start off the remake attempts to replicate a few of the moments from the original, but they feel forced most of the time. A majority of the scenes in both films involve the teens finding themselves in a dimly lit factory or boiler room. In these instances neither one really excels over the other.

The biggest difference is Freddy himself. In the original it is Freddy's world and he could do whatever he wanted in it, and was delighted to show you any chance he could. Freddy would slice his own fingers off, cut open his chest to reveal green puss and maggots, or replace the receiver of a phone with his tongue to gross you out.

2010's Freddy does not attempt any such things, and in fact other than a few jump out moments he hardly even tries to scare anyone. No, this Freddy seems intent on murdering these teens as quickly as possible. Part of what made Freddy great and set him apart from the slasher icons was the pleasure he found in screwing with the minds of his victims before killing them, and sadly this is lost in the remake.So once again the win goes to the original, and that about says it all.

The Winner
The clear winner in this battle is the original 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street, except no substitutes.

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