Sometimes I get the nagging feeling that the reason that I like so few new horror movies is because I am determined to do so.  It’s disturbing because it makes me doubt my own tastes.  And it would be easy to see why a self-fulfilling prophesy could be at work in my brain – after all, I have trouble remembering the last newer horror film that I truly liked, and I am adamantly, or even ferociously against almost all of them, especially remakes of classic films.  But today I can breathe easy, assured finally that I am not just a hater, that my tastes are simply uncompromising.

Not surprisingly I went into watching the Nightmare on Elm Street remake expecting to hate it.  Mostly I just wanted to be able to rip on it educatedly and that’s why I watched it (also I was pretty bored).  But about 20 minutes into the movie I realized with some shock that I wasn’t exasperated, or nauseated, or having to restrain myself from turning it off.  This is because the new Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t half bad.  It definitely resembles the original, however it does manage to be its own film.  The balance here between paying homage to the first one, and adding to the story and making it fresh is admirable.

Among the major differences is the tone – this movie is a lot less “fun”, more serious than the original.  This is especially apparent when it comes to the star of the show, Mr. Freddy Kruger.  In the original series he was a deadly jokester – just as likely to throw a quip at you than a hand full of knives – and I’ll admit that even as a kid this kind of took the edge off his scariness.  The newly imagined Freddy Kruger is, like the whole movie, darker, more serious, and at least a bit more scary.  He is also taken to task for his original trespasses (those that resulted in his becoming the dreamland murderer that we all know) – child molestation.  The original left it pretty much alone, focusing instead on Freddy’s proclivity for murder, but it is given a more focused role in this film, which adds to Kruger’s new, more disturbing and ultimately less likeable persona.

The level of violence and gore are also amped up, though not to any ridiculous degree.  I expected the sex and language to also be  increased upon, though I was happily surprised to be wrong on this count as well.   Much of the pandering and gratuitousness of modern horror movies is missing from this one, and I have to say it makes me very happy.

Was this a great film?  No, it was nothing mind-blowing, just a remake of an 80’s horror film.  But it was good; hell, I would watch this movie again.  And while this may strike some a prosaic designation, if one takes into consideration how few new horror movies get anywhere near to being described so positively by me, it would become clear that this is high praise indeed.

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