Picture the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Now picture that film if it was produced by bombastic Michael Bay, director of Pearl Harbor and the Transformers films. Now picture all of the worst possible outcomes of that marriage.
You don’t have to. You could just plunk down your hard-earned cash – better yet, don’t – for this craptacular remake, which opens with midnight showings Thursday night.
Not that I can stop you from seeing it. No number of bad reviews (and this is one of many) would have kept me away. Curiosity alone demanded I see the new Elm Street, so when a critic buddy asked if I’d like to tag along to a screening, I did.
I mean, it couldn’t be awful, right? It’s a darker take on a character that had fallen into parody. Its screenplay was co-written by Wesley Strick, who has worked with Martin Scorsese (1991’s Cape Fear). And supernatural killer Freddy Krueger is played by Jackie Earle Haley, an Oscar-nominated actor who was so creepy as Rorschach in Watchmen. How bad could it be?
Really bad, it turns out. Astonishingly, amazingly, how-could-you-possibly-screw-this-up-any-worse bad.
Samuel Bayer, a longtime music video director making his feature-film debut, accomplished his stated goal of draining away all the cheeky fun of the Freddy films. Unfortunately, he also drained away all the scares. What’s left is a dreary, poorly-lit slog with uninteresting characters, wooden acting and a complete lack of tension, suspense or energy.