A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – Film Review

This modern remake of the classic Wes Craven horror flick: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ unfortunately lacks any of the charm or creativity of the original, as Samuel Bayer’s bland direction and Jackie Earle Haley’s eerie but not incredibly memorable portrayal of the beloved character leaves much to be desired.

Plot Summary: A group of suburban teenagers all share one common bond, they are all being stalked by ‘Freddy Krueger,’ a horribly disfigured killer who hunts them in their dreams. As long as they stay awake, they stay alive…

Whilst the film definitely isn’t the worst remake I’ve seen in recent years, it most certainly is one of the most forgettable. As the film never really does anything super interesting of note to give a reason for its existence (other the production company wanting to make a large profit of course). As everything from the cinematography, to the acting, to even some of the CG effects, all really just come off as something from your standard low-budget slasher.

As mentioned earlier Jackie Earle Haley’s version of the ‘Freddy Kruger’ character is most certainly one of the better elements of the film, as although it definitely isn’t as memorable as the original (as Robert Englund will always be the true nightmare in my opinion). Jackie does a decent job at giving his own take on the iconic character, making him more menacing and extremely creepy when on-screen, he still does have the occasional quip every so often however. The rest of the cast aren’t fantastic, as due to their limited direction and weak characterisation as well as the poor writing. Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner and Katie Cassidy have very little to work with.

The cinematography throughout the film by Jeff Cutter is decent overall, as while not as impressive as his work on ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ for example, is it most certainly not terrible to look at through most of the runtime. One aspect of the film that is awful however, is the horrific colour palette the film goes for. As the film uses an over-saturated blue and orange colour palette very similar to a Michael Bay film, which not only doesn’t fit with the style of the film at all, but also simply gives the film a general ugly visual appeal.

Even the original score composed for the film by Steve Jablonsky, is a very bland horror soundtrack with nothing really interesting about it, even with the classic: ‘Elm Street Jingle’ in the background, the score really doesn’t add anything to the already boring atmosphere. The only element truly fresh to this remake, is the enormous amount of jump-scares throughout the narrative, which is pretty much to be expected from any modern horror nowadays.

As technology and filmmaking techniques have greatly evolved since the release of the original: ‘Elm Street’ film in 1984, I was really expecting the film to get extremely creative with the ways ‘Freddy Kruger’ can invade people’s dreams and kill them. Similar to the way they did within the sequels to the original film over the years, but sadly the film pretty much recreates many of the iconic scenes from the original film almost exactly, without much thought or creative effort put into it. I did personally enjoy the new look for: ‘Freddy’ though if I had to focus on a positive element of the film.

To conclude, I was very disappointed with this remake, even with going into it initially with very little expectations. As aside from a few interesting CG effects here and there, the film simply isn’t memorable in the slightest. Using the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ name without understanding what actually made it such a popular and iconic franchise in the first place, leaving the film feeling like nothing more than a cash-grab. Final Rating: high 2/10.

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-2010

Godzilla (2014) – Film Review

‘Godzilla’ has always been an interesting franchise to me, with the Japanese film series spanning over sixty-years and introducing new directors, new production teams and new foes for the giant lizard to face time after time, with the franchise even devolving into more of a self-parody nearing the end of it’s run. ‘The King of Monsters’ was still (and probably always will be) very popular, so of course, it was only a matter of time until America decided to try their hand at the iconic monster franchise.

Plot Summary: When scientists discover a giant ancient spore underneath the Philippines, they decide to preserve it for research for fifteen years… until it eventually hatches. Now with malevolent creatures from inside threatening the existence of all of mankind, another ancient creature known only as ‘Godzilla,’ rises from the depths of the ocean to restore balance to nature once again…

America initially attempted a ‘Godzilla’ film back in 1998, with many feeling the film differed far too much from the original source material. Featuring an awful redesign for the classic monster and no actual antagonist for him to face. Now returning back to the classic formula but with a more grounded tone and some fresh creature designs, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) does a mostly solid job with this remake. Even if the film can sometimes focus far too much on the other creatures within the story then ‘Godzilla’ himself.

Although much of the narrative focuses on the ‘Ford’ family, portrayed by Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Carson Bolde, Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche. With all the cast doing a decent job (Bryan Cranston being the obvious stand-out with a few amazing scenes showcasing his true talent) their characters are given very little development. As although I do believe the human characters are an important element to break-up the constant chaos from the giant monsters, the entire family of characters could’ve definitely used more characterisation when it comes to the film’s story.

However, in addition to the fantastic use of CGI throughout the film, the cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is actually pretty great. As while there are a few bland shots throughout the film, the majority of the shots involving the giant creatures are used to great effect, with an enormous amount of wide shots showcasing the creature’s true scale. Whilst the original score by Alexandre Desplat is also pretty effective, as although it’s nothing incredibly memorable by itself, it’s still very effective. Backing-up both the film’s exciting action, as well as some of it’s more unnerving, eerie and emotional scenes.

My main issues are in relation to the film’s general-pacing and overall amount of action set-pieces throughout the story, as although I usually have no issue with story or character moments over action when it comes to your average blockbuster. The film does build-up a large amount of excitement towards the final battle between the monsters for a large portion of the runtime. Even cutting away from some action scenes to tease the audience early on in the film, and although the final confrontation is entertaining. I wouldn’t say it makes up for the amount of time it makes its audience wait.

Despite all that, I actually quite enjoy ‘Godzilla,’ as although it’s by no means perfect and I do hope the inevitable sequel improves upon many of its flaws. The film is still engaging enough throughout to keep it’s viewer engaged, as despite it’s lack of action and weak characterisation. The film’s brilliant visuals and surprising grasp on realism during many scenes are probably enough to elevate this monster flick for most. Final Rating: 7/10.

Godzilla 2014 movie poster large malaysia release