Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street, released in 1984, changed the rules of slasher movies by adding two things, dreams and a killer with personality. This added much need flavor to a genre that was already running out of steam. Now we get the remake, a movie that really doesn't start until the second half.
Jackie Earle Haley plays Freddy Krueger this time around and his performance is good. In the scenes showing Freddy's past he comes off as a nice, quiet guy. But as progress, it becomes clear that Freddy did do the things that the parents of Springwood accused him of. Even though the flashbacks are quick, these were some of my favorite scenes because we get to see Freddy before he started haunting people's dreams.
I stated earlier that this movie really gets going in the second half. The first 45 minutes or so have no structure. Its just one killing after another. While this is fine, it gets to the movie off to a confusing start. Once everything falls into place, however, the movie is very good.
Another complaint that I have, and I have noticed this from other fans, is that this movie doesn't really live up to its potential. The filmmakers had a chance to really do something with this story, but seem more concerned with giving us cool visuals instead of a coherent storyline. This causes some confusion, as some characters are introduced, only to be killed off in the next scene.
Don't get me wrong. I liked the movie. It's just that I wished that more was done with the movie. The movie plays, for a good amount of the running time, as a series of punchlines without any setup. If the filmmakers had worked on the setups, then the kills would have been that much cooler. As it stands, A Nightmare on Elm Street isn't as bad as Friday the 13th, but isn't nearly as good as Halloween.