Featuring: Rooney “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” Mara , Kyle “Red State” Gallner , Katie “Black Christmas” Cassidy , and Jakie Earl “Watchmen” Haley as Freddy
Director: Samuel “Yet another fucking music video director who some a-hole thought would be perfect to make a horror movie…” Bayer
Writers: Wesley “Cape Fear” Strick , Eric “Final Destination 5” Heisserer
I originally considered making this entire review nothing but 5 paragraphs of “FART FART FART FART”. Then I thought of just posting a 10 hour YouTube video of flatulence sounds (which you can still see here if you feel so inclined). But in the end, I decided that either option would’ve been a disservice to you, my few and faithful fans who come here looking for a few laughs born from my diseased sense of humor. Those other ideas would’ve come off as too much like some sort of Warholian “Family Guy” gag, and as someone who hasn’t laughed at an “FG” episode since 2009 (and who would rather curb stomp Andy Warhol after stuffing a soup can into his mouth), that’s not the kind of comparison I’m interested in having drawn about my stupid little movie reviews. So here we go, on with the show. Hitting new lows in remakes that blow. Blart!
I did NO research on A Nightmare on Elm Street before it came time to watch it. Sometimes I like to keep my first time with a movie pure, free of expectation and void of bias. I boot up the movie, my attention at a laser focus…then I see the Platinum Dunes logo. Fuck. Violating my eyes with that is tantamount to sitting down to an internet video that your friends insist that you need to see but refuse to tell you anything about, only to recoil in horror when you open your eyes to see Two Girls, One Cup 2: Regurgitation Poopaloo or an undercover investigative vid taken inside of a factory that skins live puppies to make cock socks for those “Duck Dynasty” guys. Yep, Michael Bay’s festering figurative molestation fingers have dipped their filthy feelers into the orifice of another unwilling member of the “Big Four” slasher franchises, and all we can do is stand by and watch it happen. It’s the Indiana Jones episode of “South Park” all over again…
Unlike Friday the 13th the year before it, Nightmare doesn’t attempt to be so ambitious as to shoehorn four movies’ worth of material into a single remake. No, Freddy Krueger’s “Behind the Music” tale is complicated enough to stand as a feature on its own. Speaking of, if you’ve seen the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, you’ve already seen all you need to see here, because this reboot is nothing if not loyal to its source. So much so, you’d swear that the writers were just lazy pricks getting paid to sit around and practice throwing Funyuns into each others’ open mouths while watching reruns of “Card Sharks” and taking hits off of their Freddy Krueger bong.
The funny thing about that? I made the joke before I knew the bong itself was something that existed. Not really that impressive though, since you could go a search for pretty much anything and tack “bong” onto the end of it and find pics of just such an item. Ah, the magic of stoners on the internet.
For those who don’t know the story (why the fuck are you on this website again?), Freddy Krueger was this skeezy guy who had a thing for children whose parents should have told them at a young age to NEVER BE ALONE WITH CREEPS LIKE THIS GUY. In the original, Krueger was a school janitor in the sleepy (har har) little town of Springwood who was accused of butchering 20 children, but went free thanks to one of those legal technicalities so common in the cinematic justice system. Enraged by this massive judicial botch, the Springwood PTA (Parent-Tormenter Association) gathered to enact mob justice upon the monster by capturing him, burning him alive, then swearing to secrecy for their dark and vengeful deed. For movie reasons (that would attempt to be explained in the sequels), Freddy would return a decade later as a supernatural nightmare-dwelling murder phantom whose violent assaults on the his executioners’ children in their dreams somehow translated to their own gory mutilations in the real world. The same principals basically hold true here, with some exceptions. For starters, New Freddy (Jackie Earl Haley) was never a serial killing janitor. Instead, he was a mildly retarded gardener who lived in the basement of the local pre-school. What the fuck!? Why in the name of John Wayne Gacy would an elementary school in the late-’90s allow a mentally disturbed man to live in the basement of a childrens’ school!? It’s not an apartment building, where you expect a ghoulish, gin-soaked super to inhabit the tiny basement apartment next to the laundry room, it’s a PRE-SCHOOL! Rorschach on a fucking Rascal, what childcare institute throws all fear of rampant negligence lawsuits straight into an industrial furnace to go through with something like that!? It wasn’t the blissfully ignorant ’50s! This was the “everybody’s out to get your kids” ’90s! Oy. Platinum Dunes might wanna get a hold of their own janitor, cuz their toilet’s backed up so bad the turd water is getting on everything.
As previously mentioned, New Freddy isn’t a murderer. In the original series, it was only vaguely hinted at that Krueger may have done more to those kids than simply kill them. Dark things better left to After School Specials and those “very important” episodes of ’80s sitcoms that the networks recommended parents watch with their children to better explain why they should never go to the bicycle shop without an adult. Said vague hinting becomes the basis for the horrors New Freddy’s accused of, when the children Freddy played with so frequently WITHOUT any kind of administrative supervision start showing signs of abuse. Rather than go to the police, the parents went lynch mob (led by Clancy Brown, who was both The Kurgan AND Mister Krabs) and chased the simpering mental defectoid to an abandoned generic industrial building, where Neo Krueg followed in his predecessor’s loafers and was burned alive. From then on, everybody swore to the story that Freddy simply “left town”, and no one would mention anything about the flambeed retard or his hideous presumed atrocities to each other or the children ever again.
Then next 10 years are a bit sketchy (remember, Funyuns, “Card Sharks”, and bong hits – oh my!), but the important things to point out are that Freddy’s Kids (there’s a charity we can only hope never gains any traction) are now all in high school, most of them still live in Springwood, not ONE of them remembers anything about being accosted by Krueger green thumbs (because the writers think that repressed memories happen to EVERY victim of childhood trauma), and they’ve all started having horrible nightmares of being pursued by a certain shadowy figure wearing a striped sweater, a fedora (fucking hipster), and a glove that looks like it came straight out of Gen-An Shiranui‘s garage sale. Now, when dreamscape Krueger actually starts killing off these pesky teens, I will admit that the first death gave me hope for what the rest of the movie could have had in store. Dean (Kellan Lutz), the victim in question, meets with his girlfriend Kris (Katie Cassidy) in a diner to explain the horrific night terrors he’s been experiencing, only to fall asleep and, you guessed it, “get got”.
BUT, to make things interesting, Dean doesn’t just become suspiciously mutilated in front of the late shift crowd. Freddy manipulates the guy’s physical form to look as if he cuts his own throat while in the throes of a complete mental breakdown. Later on, just as Freddy Classic did in the original, he kills Kris while asleep in her bed (by throwing her around the room in a fashion I’ll piss acid all over later) as her ex-boyfriend/refugee from a Fallout Boy slash fic forum Jesse (Thomas Dekker… no relation to tToA.com’s “Harbinger of Pure Awesome” from 1986-1987 Fred Dekker) watches helplessly and subsequently ends up in jail accused of her murder. Quick side note, the incompetent Deputy Dogs of the local constabulary fail to read Jesse his Miranda Rights when they apprehend him. Guess that explains that whole “legal technicality” that freed Freddy the First from that child mass murdering wrap! Way to go Springwood PD, where the “PD” stands for “Pathetic Dipshits”.
Anyway, New Freddy setting up all his victims’ deaths to look like suicides and murders? Interesting. I mean, Freddy’s a phantasmal entity who exists solely on the astral plane – two things that mean the American justice system can’t do shit to stop him, so it’s not like he’s framing everyone to cover his ass. Besides, what happens to Jesse while in lockup breaks the laws of physics, so trying to pass it off as just another death ain’t happening…unless he or his cellmate figured out a way to make his chest explode without the help of a few ounces of C4. No, Fredrick’s motivation is to torment his prey so that their waking hours are almost as agonizing as their sleeping ones. You know, like Michael Bay’s doing right now with Transformers: Age of ExSTINKtion. If North Korea’s willing to declare war on the US for that Rogen-Franco movie, we’re gonna be a nuclear holocaust from sea to glowing sea once AoE is let out into the global market. Ragnarok? You’re part of the problem. Stop it. There are plenty of ways to indulge your masochistic tendencies that don’t include giving Michael Bay your money to add into his Platinum Dunes “ruin every piece of ’80s nostalgia in history” world domination plot, because when they inevitably profane Labyrinth, our wives are gonna kill us – yours for your direct contribution and mine for not lobotomizing you when I had the chance.
Though I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning her yet, the heroine of the movie is art class waitress (copyrighting that bad name after I type this) Nancy (Rooney Mara) with her admirer/Jesse’s co-worker from Hot Topic, Quentin (Kyle Gallner), tagging along so she has someone to do the Stay Awake Buddy System with. As always, the adults refuse to believe their twenty-something teens, there’s an uncomfortable amount of teen boys in little Speedos (seriously, teenage boys in tiny swimsuits haven’t gotten this much screen time since Swimfan!), accusations fly and mysteries are mysteried (was Freddy molesting the kids, or is he back to avenge his unwarranted murder?), skeletons line dance out of their closets (presumably to join the Pride parade), and Fred gets dragged into the material world (which makes as little sense now as it did 25 years earlier) where our protagonists try to kill him “for reals” before the lack of sleep puts them both into comas. Which is one of the few ideas this movie comes up with that I can actually take away as a positive. And yes, I just spoiled a LOT of the movie without warning, but given how much it apes the original (which comes WELL within my five year moratorium decree), there’s not a lot to actually spoil. Besides, the whole thing sucks baseballs through a garden hose, so who the hell cares? Answer: no one.
So much suck. Oh the sucks that are sucked here. If it isn’t the shitty “music video” direction, it’s the twists that “shock” the audience about as much as the Michelin Man is a lightning storm…which is to say not at all. If it’s not Freddy’s face looking like he’s Mortal Kombat‘s Reptile after a particularly harsh shedding, it’s how the striped sweater was just something he happened to be wearing when he was killed…and the fedora’s no more significant than our antagonist going for that “post-life hipster” look. What a douche. If it isn’t the nameless music video schlub they’ve got helming the damn thing (the fucking opening credits look like somebody turned the cover to Korn’s “Follow the Leader” into a live-action short), it’s the patience pureeing confusion of how a mentally handicapped gardener somehow turned into a non-handicapped, sadistic psychopath with magic dream spook powers after his Human Torch cosplay went awry. If it’s not the writers’/director’s lazy-ass lack of creativity when it comes to doing something mind-blowing (or even attention grabbing) with the virtual godhood that comes with having a dream world and a Hollywood digital effects budget to back it up, it’s the huge letdown we get when they DO do something! Example: the “dragged around the bedroom” death of Kris where these “creative minds” opt for simply throwing the actress around the set with their computers rather than mustering an ounce of either inspiration or perspiration like the original’s classic “rotating room” shoot! Pop quiz time – when they do recreate the original movie’s “Freddy’s ghostly face and claws press through a wall like it was made of latex” sequence, does it look like:
[A] computer graphics artists at the top of their craft, proving that their years in college were not the massive financial waste that their parents warned them it would be!
[B] a timeless moment that forever put to rest the question of whether glossy modern remakes of older movies can be better than the originals, with a resounding and irrefutable “YES!”.
[C] the glorious stuff that the stars themselves are made of!
[D] pure horse shit.
If you guessed anything other than “D”, I sentence you to summer school. And no, NOT the good one taught by the old guy from “NCIS” where they hang out at the beach and watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an educational film on power tool safety.
Even the poster is generic! Look at the bottom of this page. Look at that lazy image. The original’s poster art is ICONIC! Even if you’re like me and not the biggest of Freddy fanboys, you still own or want to own a copy of that poster! That Matthew Joseph Peak masterwork is to this new lazy Photoshopped junk as a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label is to a Pepsi bottle full of stagnant drunkard piss left behind a radiator all winter.
The biggest disappointment though (don’t get me wrong, the aforementioned are ALL big, inflamed, swollen-with-spider-eggs disappointments too) was how Jackie Earle Haley, who was one of the only reasons to watch Watchmen (ironic), just doesn’t make a good Freddy! I know, I know, the whole “This isn’t Robert Englund Freddy, because only Robert Englund can be Robert Englund Freddy, so this had to be a new, darker, more sadistic feeling, more monstrous Jackie Earle Haley Freddy” argument has merit, but if you’re not gonna “Do the Kru”, then don’t make an Elm Street remake! If he’s not going to have sadistic supervillain-y fun torturing his victims with perverse incarnations of their worse fears given form, if he’s not going to treat the suffering of others with cackling delight, if he’s not going to pull some twisted shit out of his bag of tricks to keep the special effects guys on their toes and give them night terrors of their own for years to come, he’s not Freddy Krueger! What’s the fucking point of having a monster who can bend reality to his will (and giving him the cgi ability to back it up) if all he’s going to do is stab people?! You might as well give a Green Lantern ring to a friggin’ Mennonite!
Now, if I hate EVERYTHING so damn much (as I do with all of life itself), why not kick this dissenter against my personal preferences down into the pit of eternal torment and leave it with the dreaded bowel movement rating it seems to deserve? Feel free to wade back through the effluvial grime of the prior paragraphs, stick your hands into the muck, feel around a bit and see if you can recover the brief moments of interest otherwise swept away in the rip current of revulsion. While you’re doing that, I’m gonna order a meatball sub and kill a few hours on State of Decay before I decide whether or not I’m doing anything special for you folks for the 4th of July. Will He? Won’t He? Tune in Friday and find out, salad shooters!
Moral of the Story: If you want to cure the mentally retarded, just burn them alive! They’ll come back as perfectly non-retarded ghosts! They’ll probably also be pretty pissed off about the whole being murdered thing though, so try and plan accordingly in case of a homicidal thirst for revenge.
Bonus Moral: If you ask someone if they’ve been lying to you, and their reply is “I don’t think so…”, the last thing AND next thing they tell you are both LIES. Additionally, even if you lie to someone “for their own good”, YOU’RE STILL LYING TO THEM!
At least it’s better than his birth name, Heywood Jablowmi.
This week, on a very special episode of “Kitchen Nightmares“… or is it “Hell’s Kitchen“? Meh. Either or.
“You have a part in your next family movie that would be perfect for me? It’s about a strong, independent, free thinking female lead? Sounds good so far! And she… suffers a horribly traumatic rape… and was sexually assaulted by her school bus driver as a child… and this is a family movie?! Jeez… alright, fine. I’ll do it. *sigh*”
Her agent just informed her that her contract with Platinum Dunes calls for a three picture deal.
Wow, they have some vicious moths in their attic!
You probably expect me to make a menstruation joke for this screen, but you know what? I’m not going to. Can’t keep fishing that pond. Gonna let it restock.
This scene shot in “Peeper Cam”. Also known as “Exhibit A”.
He dropped the soap in the shower and not one inmate tried to violate him. It’s really hurting his self-esteem. Poor guy.
I can’t look at this without hearing Spongebob singing, “The best time to wear a striped sweater, is aaaaaaaall the tiiiiiiiime”.
I’ve heard plenty of women accuse their ovaries of trying to jump out of their bodies and kill them, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen it!
I wish I could like this moment, but all it does is remind that I could be watching Crank: High Voltage right now instead.
Leaked footage from the cancelled instructional DVD, Coaching Champions the Sandusky Way. My skin just crawled off of my body and jumped into a tub of scalding hot water while typing that. Uggh.
“Need help buttering your toast? Maybe a whole loaf?! I’m your man!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Dog Will Hunt(ing)”
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