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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

Studio: New Line Cinema

Rated: R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy and Lia D. Mortensen

Directed by: Samuel Bayer

What it’s about: Way back in the last century, Freddy Krueger was killed by a pack of enraged parents who thought he was a little too affectionate to their kids. More than a decade after Krueger was burned to death, the kids now in high school are being haunted by him in their dreams. Armed with a wicked-cool hat, a Bill Cosby sweater and a glove with claws on it, Freddy Krueger kills his victims in their dreams, which kills them in real life.

What I liked: I am a child of the 80s, so I remember when the original A Nightmare on Elm Street came out. Hell, Freddy Krueger and his slasher brethren were an integral part of my teenage years. In fact, Freddy was always my favorite for his creativity and overall creepiness. Plus, being able to kill people in their dreams was almost like a superpower compared to Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.

This new Nightmare goes back to the original tone of the first film. Freddy isn’t a wise cracker. He’s just creepy as hell, and Jackie Earle Haley does a fantastic job being menacing, even if he is short of stature. Easily the best parts of this film involve Freddy and his grisly dream sequences. They may not be terrifying for me now that I’m old enough to have kids of my own, but I appreciate the attempt.

A Nightmare on Elm Street has a similar feel to the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes from Platinum Dunes, and in terms of quality, it falls somewhere in between them. It’s not as good as Jason’s rebirth last year, but it beats the chain off the TCM abortion from 2003.

What I didn’t: This is going to sound stupid, but the worst part of this film was the insipid victims. I know that no one expects deep character development from teenagers in a slasher film, but the writing is missing a critical empathy element that we got from Wes Craven’s 1984 original. No matter how dorky Heather Langenkamp was, there was something about her that made you root for her to live.

Sadly, I wasn’t rooting for anyone in this movie, not even Freddy. As good as Haley is, he just doesn’t have the charm that Robert Englund had.

And speaking of Freddy, one of the worst changes made to this film was the decision to make Krueger a child molester instead of a child killer, as he was in the original. Not to say that child molestation is okay, but it’s a totally different behavior than that of a murderer. I get the revenge aspect of the film, but I just didn’t buy the leap from someone wanting to touch kids to wanting to slice them up in their dreams a decade and a half later.

Who is gonna like this movie: Slasher movie junkies and the younger audience who never saw the original in the 80s.

Grade: B-

FURRY VENGEANCE

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Rated: PG for some rude humor, mild language and brief smoking

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, Ken Jeong, Angela Kinsey and Matt Prokop

Directed by: Roger Kumble

What it’s about: Brendan Fraser plays a guy who works for a real estate developer spearheading the building of a community of homes in the middle of a lush forest. When the critters in the woods learn that their homes are in danger, they take action against Fraser, throwing stick and stones and farting skunks his way. And let the hilarity ensue… or not.

What I liked: There’s this really cute opening title sequence with animated forest creatures. Then it’s all downhill from there.

What I didn’t: Honestly, this film feels like it should have gone straight to DVD as one of the many Doctor Dolittle sequels. Apparently the filmmakers and studio just didn’t get that memo and accidentally released it in theaters.

There is so much wrong with this film – from the poorly written characters to the cheap gags to the bad acting to the eye-searingly bad CGI shots – that Furry Vengeance is monumental in its failure. Throw in a pot-bellied Brendan Fraser in the film’s version of tight “juicy” sweatpants, and you have an eye-gouging bad film. Even very funny comedians like Ken Jeong fail to save the film.

Seriously, if you’re over the age of ten, you’re not just going to hate this movie. You’re going to want to claw your eyes out. After the third or fourth skunk fart, it got old even for a sophomoric guy like me. But hey, my kids loved it. They’re all about farting skunks and shots to the nads.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids under 10 years old… maybe.

Grade: D

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…


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