A Nightmare on Elm Street

Rated 2.0

In the new, rebooted A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger is not the Groucho Marx of slasher killers that he had become over the years, dispensing one-liners before and after goofy killings. There’s an awful casting choice in Platinum Dunes’ latest horror remake, but it’s not Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy. Haley proves a decent enough replacement for Robert Englund, who was essentially fired from the series. (Englund’s last cinematic appearance as Freddy was in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason.) Haley is kind of creepy, even before you put on the burn makeup. It’s the casting of Nancy—the role played by Heather Langenkamp in Wes Craven’s original—that ultimately kills the movie. Rooney Mara lacks anything even resembling charisma as Nancy, which was a pivotal role in Craven’s film. On the plus side, Samuel Bayer directs the nightmare scenes competently in his feature debut. Especially good are the sequences involving Kris (Katie Cassidy), one of Freddy’s first victims. I liked when she thrashed around in mid-air before being dispatched. I liked Haley as Freddy, but highly recommend jettisoning Nancy for future installments.