First rule of horror remakes: if you piss off the fanboys, expect vitriol. On Platinum Dunes’ website the scorn keeps pouring.
“Michael Bay can shove a Megatron-shaped dick up his ass...” says one poster. These people are not the kind of guys you want to annoy. Neither is Wes Craven.
The director of the original 1984 A Nightmare On Elm Street says he was “hurt” over Platinum Dunes’ failure to consult him about bringing pizza-faced Freddy Krueger back from the dead.
Oops – that’s another strike against Bay’s production company, which has been flooding multiplexes with mechanical but profitable retreads of horror classics since 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…
This year’s Elm Street revamp ticks all the boxes of another unneeded cash-in: CGI FX, endless backstory and lack of originality. How do they do it?
Retooling Krueger into a child molester (something kept creepily implicit in the original) is supposedly bold, yet it’s done so toothlessly that it adds zilch.
What’s missing is much worse than what’s been added, the fractured dream logic of Craven’s original watered down into tedious plot exposition about “micro-naps”.
Bed and bored
Though the ’84 flick is often cheesy (see Freddy’s Mr Tickle arms or the climactic Home Alone booby traps), it’s also underpinned by real malice. Craven knows which big, red Freudian buttons to push, turning Freddy into a true monster from the Id.
The remake’s scares don’t get much beyond boo-jumps and the professionally creepy Jackie Earle Haley rasping out menace from under six inches of make-up.
In their favour, at least Platinum Dunes know how to put together a Blu-ray. There’s behind-the-scenes material, deleted scenes and a Freddy Reborn featurette, but, tellingly, no commentary (who cares what pop promo director Samuel Bayer has to say?).
Compare the Blu-ray for the original, which comes with two aging but entertaining yak-tracks, a 50-minute Making Of (Never Sleep Again) and documentary The House That Freddy Built, which takes its title from the franchise’s impact on New Line Studios’ fortunes in the ’80s.
You pay your money and make your choice: landmark original… or cheap knock-off?