2010’s Nightmare On Elm Street remake may have gotten away with its story changes if the slasher re-do gave Freddy’s CGI-assisted kills more panache.
While the story changes made by the Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 remake were bad decisions, they weren’t what ultimately doomed the attempted Nightmare On Elm Street franchise revival. It is not easy to bring a horror franchise back to life. Ironically, given the fact that slasher villains are infamously difficult to kill, reviving a horror series can be almost impossible regardless of the approach that filmmakers take.
Many remakes, like director Rob Zombie’s Halloween re-imagining or 2009’s Friday the 13th, over-rely on origin stories and strip their villains of their mystique. Everything that was once mysterious about the scarcely seen monsters of the original movie is spelled out and becomes bland and unambiguous as a result. However, when horror remakes take the opposite approach and simply recreate the original movie beat-for-beat, like Nightmare On Elm Street‘s 2010 re-do, they are criticized for not changing enough of the source material to justify a re-imagining.
The 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street remake was derided by critics as a forgettable and unimaginative retread of the original 1984 slasher movie, but that was not the movie’s biggest issue. Instead, Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 was a rare case of a horror movie that would have benefitted from more CGI. While this may sound like sacrilege to some genre purists (and isn’t helped by the atrocious CGI that the remake does feature), the fact that dream demon Freddy Krueger can change reality in dreamworld would have been a rare instance where plentiful CGI would have has been a welcome addition to this horror movie. Instead, the remake opted to recreate the original movie faithfully and add no memorably ambitious new kill sequences, thus squandering the technological advancements that filmmakers had made since the original series.
Why The Nightmare On Elm Street Remake Was Hated
The 2010 re-imagining of Nightmare On Elm Street made Freddy’s backstory creepier, sapped the movie of any humor, and failed to substantially alter the original movie’s plot. The changes that were made were disliked, from confirming Freddy’s pedophilia to misleadingly implying that he might have been innocent. While this last detail could have saved the remake, since the earliest script for Nightmare On Elm Street‘s remake revealed Freddy was innocent and completely rewrote the franchise as a result, the decision to cut this twist meant that the movie offered nothing new for viewers familiar with the original series. This led many reviewers to cite the unoriginal story as the biggest flaw with Nightmare On Elm Street‘s remake. However, a remake that followed the original movie’s plot but staged more ambitious death scenes could have worked well, since these were famously the most important part of the slasher franchise’s appeal.
The Nightmare On Elm Street Remake’s Biggest Mistake
It is rare for a horror movie made in the 2010s to need more CGI, but that is exactly what would have saved the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Its best scene was a rare kill that both diverged from the original movie and pulled off an effect that could not be achieved without CGI, as Freddy burst through a mirror and planted his clawed glove straight through the skull of Nancy’s mother. The moment was shocking, gruesome, and original, but it was also too little too late and was only added because the original movie’s equivalent scene (Freddy pulling Nancy’s mother through the window) was too comically dated for the remake to recreate the moment verbatim. Outside of this final scene, Nightmare On Elm Street‘s remake recreated the original movie’s kills instead of creating all-new deaths. Thus, all of Freddy’s CGI-assisted kills were dull retreads of earlier death scenes when they could have been much more ambitious, inventive sequences.
Why Nightmare On Elm Street’s 2010 Remake Needed More CGI
The franchise did a lot with practical effects in the 80s, as proven by Nightmare On Elm Street 5‘s horrifying motorcycle-meld death scene. The few forays into CGI were as embarrassingly dated as any computer graphics from that era, and these occasional ill-fated moments prove that CGI was not yet capable of realizing the villain’s ambitions at the time that the sequels were released. However, Freddy’s powers – which allow him to warp reality itself when inside dreams – were perfectly suited to CGI once the technology did become available, and a Nightmare On Elm Street remake that wasn’t slavishly devoted to revisiting the original could have taken advantage of this. The sequels included gruesome scenes like Freddy puppeteering an unfortunate character to their doom by using their veins as marionette strings and the villain transforming another poor soul into a cockroach, proving that the series was clearly ambitious enough to benefit from CGI-assisted death scenes.
The gruesome demises featured in Stranger Things 4 show a Nightmare On Elm Street remake could have used CGI to make even the existing death scenes more memorable, updating the original to be nastier and more viscerally impactful. However, the 2010 remake was so steadfast in its devotion to the original movie that the movie instead managed to make existing sequences look worse via CGI. Most famously, Jackie Earle Haley’s new Freddy Krueger almost emerging from the wall behind Nancy as she slept looked far less scary and much more comical in the 2010 remake than it did in the original movie, despite the newer Nightmare On Elm Street splurging on CGI where practical effects proved more than sufficient to pull off the earlier scene.
How Later Horrors Fixed Nightmare On Elm Street’s Remake Mistake
Plenty of later horrors used CGI to imagine more immersive dream worlds, from the same year sleeper hit Insidious to the slasher-inspired Stranger Things 4 and its Freddy Krueger-inspired villain Vecna. However, the Nightmare On Elm Street remake’s failure to imagine a story outside of the original movie resulted in 2010’s remake under-utilizing the potential of a CGI-assisted Freddy. As a result of this, the remake was critically lambasted and largely disowned by audiences, meaning the series never got another chance to let Freddy play around with his victims via the medium of computer-generated imagery. In an ideal world, the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise could have used CGI as effectively and ambitiously as the original movies utilized practical effects but, unfortunately, the 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street remake’s failure to envision this resulted in the dream dying with that critical dud.
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