It's become clear to me that I am in small group of people who responded relatively positively to Platinum Dunes' remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, the thing I respected most about Samuel Bayer's remake of Wes Craven's classic is also the film's death blow as a potential franchise hopeful: Freddy Krueger is too scary. Craven's original intentionally brushed over branding Krueger a pedophile, knowing full well that there is a sharp distinction between 'child killer' and 'child molester'. Both are horrible, obviously, but by not showing us Krueger's crimes, Craven created a character that was a killer without necessarily being a revolting villain. I know that's a strange distinction to make given how horrible both acts are, but I find that's the only thing that explains a global willingness to accept the killer version.

With this new Freddy, however, Platinum Dunes is faced with their first actual villain; someone who got what he wanted in real life and who now gets to taste it at his leisure in the afterlife. It's the first time that the character of Krueger, not just his actions, has been legitimately disturbing and that's mainly because of what Bayer and company show us of pre-burn Freddy. You're not quite sure if he's just a soft-spoken, simpleton gardener with innocent intentions or whether that southern twang, sweet tea approach is Freddy Krueger's actual mask. That's not just creepy, that's bothersome. Those are real-world issues.

People don't want real-world issues in their horror franchises, though, regardless if they register with subtlety or with the force of a sledgehammer (I was hit by the former which made the final scenes between Freddy and Nancy difficult to watch). That's embodiment of evil territory and it's what will kill this new Nightmare on Elm Street as a franchise.
categories Cinematical