Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

A Nightmare On Elm Street (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger
Kyle Gallner as Quentin Smith
Rooney Mara as Nancy Holbrook
Katie Cassidy as Kris Fowles
Thomas Dekker as Jesse Braun
Kellan Lutz as Dean Russell
Clancy Brown as Alan Smith
Connie Britton as Dr. Gwen Holbrook

Directed by Samuel Bayer

Special Features:
Freddy Krueger Reborn: Find Out How The Filmmakers Dreamt Up This New terrifying Take On Horror's Scariest Franchise And Follow The Reinvention Of Freddy Krueger
Cutting Alternative Opening, Alternate Ending And Additional Scene

Includes DVD Copy Of A Nightmare On Elm Street

Includes Digital Copy Of A Nightmare On Elm Street For Portable Media Players

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Languages
Running Time: 95 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Five teenage friends living on one street all dream of a sinister man with a disfigured face, a frightening voice and a gardener's glove with knives for fingers. One by one, he terrorizes them within their dreams - where the rules are his and the only way out is to wake up. But when one among them dies, they soon realize that what happens in their dreams happens for real and the only way to stay alive is to stay awake. Buried in their past is a debut that has just come due. To save themselves, they must plunge into the mind of the most twisted nightmare of all: Freddy Krueger. Jackie Earle Haley plays the legendary evildoer in this contemporary reimagining of the seminal horror classic."

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language.

Mini-Review:
I guess you could call this "Freddy Begins." It takes a page from "Batman Begins" by making the story more realistic, covering more of the origin story, and giving a somewhat darker feel to everything. The comedy is also toned down significantly from the previous Freddy films. The end result is a film that will drive some fans insane and please others.

As you know Jackie Earle Haley is the new Freddy Krueger. He's very different from Robert Englund's version. He looks more like a burn victim than the original Freddy. His face is enhanced by CG to add to the effect. And while he still has the fedora, hat, and knife glove, he's not the over-the-top character that Englund's was. Using the Batman analogy again, Englund's Freddy is evil and crazy like Jack Nicholson's Joker. Jackie Earle Haley is a very different take like Heath Ledger's Joker. I don't have any particular nostalgia for Robert Englund's version, so I though Haley's was a solid, different take on the character.

I also have to give the creators of this new version credit for making the teenagers look somewhat realistic. They're not all teen supermodel starlets. Kyle Gallner as Quentin Smith and Rooney Mara as Nancy Holbrook look like realistic kids next door.

The story also deals with the uncomfortable subject of child molestation. While some horror movies would have used that to generate scares and uncomfortable moments, director Samuel Bayer treats it rather delicately. He shows just enough to make Freddy a villain, but he saves the horror for the dream sequences.

I was a little disappointed with the dream sequences. Many of them just featured Freddy slowly stalking his victims in houses, in old basements, in kitchens, etc. The best scenes were where they made the most of the dream world. We see Nancy run down a hallway carpet that soon turns into a deep pool of blood. It was a great effect. In another scene we get a flashback showing the actual burning of Freddy. It was the imaginative or informative dream scenes that were the most entertaining to me.

Glancing at the comments sections of previous reviews of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," I see that reactions were sharply divided. Some loved the new take, others hated it. I personally felt it was well done, but I would have been more impressed if it was an original story rather than a remake. It's a solid, clever plot by Wes Craven but this remake doesn't bring much new to the table. I'd still recommend it to horror fans and I think any Freddy fan is at least obligated to check it out.

You'll find a solid offering of bonus features on the Blu-ray. There's an alternate opening showing Freddy actually dying in the burn ward of a hospital as "John Doe." There's also an alternate ending that shows Freddy restoring his real face in the dream world before doing battle with Nancy Holbrook. I think the final versions were the right choice to use. There are also a series of 'making of' featurettes covering the makeup, the props, the costumes, the remake strategy, and more.

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