Directed by Samuel Bayer
The new A Nightmare on Elm Street remake is a “by-the-numbers bad dream that plays a little too much like a corporately ordered rerun,” said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. A quarter-century after New Line released Wes Craven’s horror classic, the studio has chosen to punish audiences with this “lackluster knockoff.” Little Children’s Jackie Earle Haley here plays Freddy Krueger, the horribly disfigured, knife-fingered madman who haunts the dreams of suburban teens in a striped sweater and fedora. Yet Freddy’s not as scary as he used to be, said Wesley Morris in The Boston Globe. Craven played things scarily straight in the 1984 original, but Haley and director Samuel Bayer turn Freddy into a camp boogeyman who’s “part Michael Jackson, part Wolverine, part commercial for Proactiv Solution.” There’s not a single good fright in the film, and that’s an “unforgivable sin for a supposedly scary movie,” said Rene Rodriguez in The Miami Herald. Craven’s low-budget surrealism—the quicksand staircase, the claw emerging from the bathwater—temporarily revitalized the slasher genre. Bayer’s slick redo lacks Craven’s creepy vision.