This isn’t real! – Nancy
Remakes have been the big thing in horror for the past 10 years. In that time we have seen remakes of just about every classic. (Thank Satan the Hellraiser remake is still in development Hell). For those of you who read my blog and were too young to watch horror movies 10 years ago (I have a lot of teenage girls following me?) Back in the early 2000s Platinum Dunes remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Horror nerds generally grumbled and clutched our collective pearls. But it turned out to actually be pretty great. Then they remade The Amittyville Horror and in addition to shirtless and BEARDED Ryan Reynolds! it was actually another good remake. Don’t get me wrong it was not on par with John Carpenter’s The Thing but it was pretty damn good! This pretty much solidified in the mind of Hollywood execs that there was no need for original thought only to make new “gritty” remakes of all the movies we already knew and loved. This gave us some really great movies ie The Hills Have Eyes, Let Me In, Dawn Of The Dead. Some really awful movies ie When A Stranger Calls, The Omen, Black X-Mas and a few that left people divided ie Halloween, The Crazies, Friday The 13th.
Arguably the worst of these remakes is A Nightmare On Elm Street. I don’t just think it is terrible because my first horror film experience was with Freddy Krueger. The reason this film is truly terrible also isn’t because they chose to not feature Robert Englund as the titular child killer who he played for 8 films and a television show. The reason the remake is truly the worst of the worst is the characterization of final girl Nancy.
In the original film Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy was everything a horror fan could want in a heroine and final girl. Nancy was strong, independent self sufficient and most importantly she was a survivor who didn’t need anyone else to save her. In the “re-imagining” Nancy has gone from the no bull shit daughter of divorced drunks to a sad sullen Kristen Stewart facsimile who draws in charcoal and doesn’t seem to of eaten since preschool. What is worst then a K-Stew knockoff? A K-Stew knockoff who spends the majority of the film pining over a sunken eyed emo boy. Gone is any semblance of strong and powerful womanhood.
Add to this that it is revealed part way through the film that the parents killed Freddy after they began to suspect Freddy of molesting their children (rather then being a nearly convicted child killer who got off on a technicality). Even worse it turns out that he actually DID molest Nancy and we are then treated to a uncomfortable but not particularly frightening scene in which Nancy is dressed in in a 4 year old’s dress while Freddy pretty much molests her all over again.
And then to pretty much seal the deal on this terrible mess they chose to CGI what is pretty much one of the most iconic scenes in the original. Where Freddy pushes through the wall over a sleeping Nancy. His burned visage pushing against the wall. The original effect was done with a stretched out piece of spandex from the fabric store. It left me crapping my pants when I was a baby gay. The CGI version is pretty much the worst effect I can recall in a movie in ages. See the side by side here.
In the end the remake cost almost 20 times more to film then the original and it goes to show that 35 million dollars won’t make for a good film. On the bright side Jackie Earle Haley (Freddy) has an Oscar nom for that other time he played a pedophile and Rooney Mara has one for that other time she played a anorexic victim of sexual assault.