Despite the movie’s lukewarm reputation, there is one scene that sees the 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street remake outdo the original movie.
The Nightmare On Elm Street remake was poorly received upon release, but it pulled off one sequence much better than the original. When writer/director Wes Craven introduced audiences to dream demon Freddy Krueger in 1984’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, little did he know the low-budget shocker would go on to define the sub-genre for the coming decade. By the early ‘80s, a plethora of Halloween clones had left cinema-goers jaded of slashers, with countless identikit masked madmen tiring out John Carpenter’s undeniably effective formula.
But much like how Craven’s meta-slashers New Nightmare and Scream would revitalize the genre again years later, A Nightmare On Elm Street saw him add a new twist to the formula by making Krueger a more talkative, supernatural brand of monster who could bend reality to his will. A Nightmare On Elm Street’s 2010 remake, in comparison, was widely disliked and was considered an unnecessary re-do by critics and fans alike. However, there is one moment the remake handles better than its otherwise superior original.
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The death of Nancy’s mother is a post-climax jump scare in both versions of Nightmare On Elm Street, but it’s the only one the remake pulls off with more impact than the original. In Craven’s version, Nancy is driving off as her mother Marge (Ronee Blakley) waves goodbye – and then Freddy’s arm bursts through a window to drag an unconvincing rubber doll through the door. The remake outdoes this last-second shock admirably, with Nancy’s mother – renamed Gwen and played by Connie Britton – being skewered by Freddy’s claws shooting through her head in one of the film’s most memorable scenes.
There is a lot wrong with the remake’s take on Freddy Krueger, from Jackie Earle Haley’s glowering performance to the finale’s tasteless plot reveal. Most of the major scares lifted from the original are poorly recreated for the 2010 movie, with the sight of a CGI Freddy poking through the wall above Nancy’s bed being a pale imitation of the 1984 version. However, as effective as the ‘80s original is, there are a few moments where Robert Englund’s terrifying turn as Freddy isn’t enough to cover up the limited budget.
The death of Nancy’s mother is a perfect example. In the original’s closing moments, everything from the tiny window slot that Freddy’s arm emerges from to the goofy doll that can’t pass for a human is unintentionally funny. Surprisingly, after falling short throughout its runtime, the 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street remake pulls this shocking death off. The CGI is better than most of the movie’s other deaths, but what makes it work is that it isn’t telegraphed the way the original ending was. Nancy and her mother barely arrive home when Gwen gets brutally offed, and this effective jolt at least manages to outdo the legendary original in one respect. Unfortunately, one good kill in the last few seconds does not a good remake make, and 2010’s A Nightmare On Elm Street still has little reason to exist compared to the likes of Carpenter’s The Thing.
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