1-2...Guess Who's Comin' For You
A Nightmare on Elm Street delves into a plot not unfamiliar to those who followed the original franchise. A dream wraith haunts the dreams and visions of teenagers too afraid to go to sleep for fear of what may happen to them. The wraith's name, Freddy Kruger and he's pissed off. The reason he's pissed, the plot thickens from there. Freddy wasn't a child killer that an angry mob of parents got together and decided to torch unleashing hell in a furious ghost. This time he's a supposed child molester that hosted as gardener/mentor to little children at a preschool facility. The children told, and the parents got mad. Mad enough to seek justice their way. There en-lies a back story not explored in previous installments providing Freddy with more depth than just a giggly, self-mutilating psychopath fumbling around in the dreams of dense teenagers.
No...This nightmare is a little deeper. It begins with Dean, who obviously has been fighting sleep for days now, seated in a booth at the Springwood Diner. He's hopped up on coffee, but the caffeine isn't enough to keep him from drifting. Before he realizes it, he's sleep, trapped inside the diner with the man of his nightmares, the horribly burned ghost of Freddy Kruger. He stalks him in the kitchen during a dark yet colorful sequence featuring green and red lights in the background, an obvious sign of Kruger's presence. With a slice to Dean's hand he awakens in the booth with a gash in his palm and Nancy hovering over him with a pot of coffee warning that if he dozes off again he'd be asked to leave. Soon after his friend, Kris, arrives and seats with him concerned about his health. He explains that his dreams are real and that he fears for his life. After spilling a drink in her lap, she gets up to clean herself and he's alone to zone out again. This time, there is no escape. But he's not willing to go out without a fight. He grabs the steak knife that was on his table and stands to defend against the razor gloved psycho. But he doesn't have the strength to withstand. He tries to convince himself,
"You're not real! You're not real!"
But it isn't convincing enough as Freddy grabs hold and grasps him from behind forcing the knife to Dean's throat, "I am now." he says in a graveled voice followed by a sadistic cackle.
Kris stands there, helpless and confused as she watches dean struggle against himself. She sees the horror in his face before he finally slices into his own throat. Suicide right?
Wrong...And the rest of the Elm Street kids find out soon as they are visited by the same man, horribly burned with a melted face, a tattered red and green sweater and a dirty brown snap brim hat...Not to mention he wears a glove on his right hand that substitutes razors for fingers. They are picked off one by one. Kris soon follows Dean. Then Jesse who had affection for Kris and witnessed her die by the invisible hand of Freddy. It leaves Nancy and Quentin to put the pieces together. They learn that they've known each other in their childhood and worse, they knew the man that now stalks their dreams. Nancy's mother provides some insight as to what happened when they were all five sharing the same swing sets in preschool. From there, we see Freddy the gardener. He loved the children, playing games, reading stories, doing arts and crafts. He particularly liked Nancy taking a special interest in her. But after a while, the parents suspected he was doing a little more than just tucking their children in for nap time.
Nancy decides to research the rest of the children at the daycare, finding that they've all died in their sleep. Repressed memories begin to surface and the rest of the story is shared with Quentin as he nearly drowns during swim practice. He sees Freddy, chased through the streets to the boiler room he takes them to in their dreams. He locks himself inside pleading with the angry mob of parents demanding he gives himself up. One of them throws a gas can inside and sets the boiler room ablaze. It's then that Quentin believes their parents killed a man unjustly, purely out of speculation and now understands why they are being haunted. Nothing was ever brought forth to prove the guilt of Freddy Kruger, and now the two teens must find a way to stop him before they join the rest of their friends in the boiler room.
I enjoyed this take of Freddy Kruger and his Nightmare on Elm Street. Better yet, I enjoyed watching Jackie Earle Haley portray the the dream stalker that Robert Englund made popular in his portrayal of Wes Craven's story. There are similar elements in this movie that were seen in the original. Some of them are done well, others deviate from the classic that made it creepy to begin with. But that is made up for with the new elements and twists put on the story. Freddy is more serious, but not without his wise cracks. It isn't worth comparing this movie with the original franchise, it isn't the same. It isn't meant to be the same. And as long as the viewer accepts this fact, then the experience may be pleasant. This is A Nightmare on Elm Street for a new generation. Don't look for Academy Award winning performances in here, it isn't that kind of movie. Don't seek any more depth than is already provided. Just go in with an open mind and accept it for the entertainment that it is. All I have is one more question,
"Why are you screamin'? I haven't even cut you yet." lol!