Despite watching it on a computer, the trailer has me very excited for this latest Nightmare, even though it is the 9th film of the franchise and a remake of the first, or a “re-imagining” as the official site will have you believe. Gus Van Sant’s Psycho was a “re-imagining” too yet a movie can’t be any more a remake than that one was. Ideally this remake/origin story will pave the way for a whole slew of original sequels.
Since the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is getting rebooted into a new series, it kind of closes the door to the original series, which is a shame, since I think it still had room for another film or two. Maybe a few more Freddy Versus films or even a prequel to showcase more of Robert Englund’s talent as a pre-burned Krueger. Come to think of it, there definitely could’ve been a “Springwood Killer” prequel alas it’s too late; the franchise just got the reboot.
The trailer starts out with a pre-burned Freddy, this time played by Jackie Earle Haley, being chased through an industrial landscape by a vigilante mob led by Clancy Brown. Freddy’s portrayed sympathetically as a victim of vigilante force who may actually be innocent of the crimes he’s being pursued for. Once he gets cornered in a warehouse, he cries out “what do you think I did? I didn’t do anything” and you may notice a bit of his red sweater sticking out of his right coat sleeve. We already know who he is as he gets name checked “Krueger” but it’s a subtle little piece of color correction, as that part of the trailer is cast in dark blue tones and this may be the only red we get to see, until the mob leader tosses a gas can with a flaming rag into the building.
As the warehouse Freddy’s trapped in is set ablaze, he desperately and in slow motion rips off his coat to reveal Freddy’s iconic red and green striped sweater. Maybe it got to hot for him so he started shedding layers? It would’ve made more sense if the coat was on fire, otherwise Krueger tearing his coat open in slow motion plays like the sweater reveal that it is. Fortunately it’s not as cliche as ripping a shirt open to reveal a bullet-proof vest in a cop movie but it’s still pretty transparent. Let’s hope that moment plays better within the context of the film.
We then get a montage of a few scenes from the film, dream sequences featuring those little girls dressed in white jumping rope, boiler room scenes, the Elm St. street sign, an establishing shot of the new house, some cool glove action including a recreated shot of Nancy in the bathtub as Freddy’s glove surfaces from the water and various shots of the new cast, all to the tune of the infamous Freddy nursery rhyme. We also get a glimpse from the scene where Jesse, now played by Thomas Dekker, desperately tries to wake his girlfriend before she begins to hover over the bed. Think this film’s version of that scene will top the amazing gimbal effects of the first?
The title card confirms that they’re sticking with the title “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and not just “Nightmare on Elm Street” like the title page to the leaked script indicates. Then we finally get to hear and see the Haley as the burned Krueger. Face it, Robert Englund was so iconic in such an iconic role, Haley will take some time getting used to despite his excellent acting oeuvre. Englund’s characterization of Freddy Krueger, again, was so iconic he screwed every potential actor wishing to seriously take on the role. Not that it shouldn’t be done, it should but it’s a daunting challenge that feels experimental at this point in the franchise. Think how screwed the next actor is to fill Heath Ledger’s shoes as The Joker but then Ledger did top Nicholson’s Joker performance which at the time seemed impossible to do.
A few obstacles that may interfere with Haley’s performance is his iconic wardrobe and prop. It’s the same glove, the same hat, the same sweater. They’re the the exact same while the actor, make-up and voice isn’t. The similarities to the original Freddy might be a jarring reminder of the differences. Same iconic sweater, hat and gloves, but different actor? This’ll take some getting used to, especially Freddy’s speech and voice, which comes across as “marble-mouthed” as described in an Arrow In The Head tweet. Probably a very intentional decision, it sounds as though Freddy’s burned scar tissue may be impeding his speech, which is cool, but will it enhance or detract from our acceptance of the new Freddy? Hopefully the later but either way, there’s another 6 months to fine tune it and if necessary, ADR Haley’s voice performance.
If we get sold on the new Freddy, it will be during the film and not in the pre-release advertising blitz. If anything, showcasing the new Freddy before the film looks like it’ll only build up resistance towards accepting him, which can only happen in the film if at all. Haley’s Krueger should at least be comparable to Englund’s and hopefully won’t come across like a real life burn victim donning a Freddy Halloween costume, as he does in the trailer.
The trailer’s running time is 2 minutes and 7 seconds. The finished film is supposed to come out April 30th and will most likely be rated R. And of course, this remake is based on the real Nightmare On Elm Street by Wes Craven.