Well, look what we have here, a Platinum Dunes remake that isn’t the pits. After several sub-par sequels some of the Elm Street series former glory has been restored thanks to the latest instalment that doesn’t derail itself with unworthy humour. While it isn’t as good as the original it is a step up from the other remakes that came before it.
The film opens in the Springwood Diner as one of the characters is killed in his sleep, much to the distress of his friends. Following his death the main characters are haunted by the terrifying Freddy Krueger. The story is for the most part true to the source material, but where the original made you question what was dream and what was real the remake never adequately hides when the characters are dreaming. Everything comes to a climax which strays away from the Last House on the Left territory and goes with a straight forward dream sequence followed by a final fight with the main villain. On the whole the story is okay and a bit more satisfying than the plot thrown around in the sequels.
The visual effects in the film are of decent quality just not brilliant. Is it really surprising at this point that there is way more blood than there was in the original? The CGI that is used in quite a few scenes is credible enough and maybe a bit better than the stuff you would see in Platinum Dunes other remakes. One scene involves Freddy coming out of the wall and I think it is up for debate whether or not the CGI is better than the spandex material they used in the first film. I give the filmmakers credit for going to the trouble of making Freddy look like an actual burn victim. Keep in mind, though, that if you watched the other Elm Street films there is a chance that you will prefer the old Freddy over this new look.
Even if the actors are not superior to the original cast they are fair enough when compared to the people in the sequels. Rooney Mara portrays the protagonist, Nancy Holbrook who is not the same as before. While Mara is on just about the same level she is by no means better than Heather Langenkamp who was brilliant in the original. Katie Cassidy, who appeared in the Black Christmas remake, is perfectly okay in the role of Kris and is very much how she was the last time she was in a Platinum Dunes film. Kyle Gallner is really good in the role of Quentin Smith who is not nearly as useless as Glen from the first film. He is much better than some of the other cast members who unlike him fail to keep your attention. Robert Englund in a surprising move passed his role over to Jackie Earle Haley. No matter how you choose to look at him Jackie Earle Haley is the best of the entire cast by some distance.
As with the other Platinum Dunes remakes you cannot expect great things from this film. Yes, it has some good acting and an ultimately adequate story, but that does NOT mean it is in any way better than the original. Yet, A Nightmare on Elm Street is not god awful and lives up to the title as best as it can. It’s just a shame it’s best isn’t good enough in the long run.