Modern horror remakes typically run the gamut from passable to downright awful. Sadly, A Nightmare on Elm Street represents the latter. The 2010 horror remake explored some truly fascinating concepts, but it ultimately fell incredibly short of expectations. According to one of the film's stars, much of that had to do with incessant studio interference. Thomas Dekker explained:
It's a tricky one to talk about. I would say it was an honor to be a part of it. I think the cast, as we know, we had two, now one-time Oscar nominee and another two-time Oscar nominee who's still a very good friend of mine, Rooney Mara, and I think the issue at hand with that movie can't really be thrown at the director because the director was basically a gun for hire to make it look good. And he did that. It looked great. But it's basically like most good films tell a story, that film was to sell a tuxedo. It's a sales movie. 'It's okay, we got this idea we're going to take and we're going to make money off it, so let's just do that.' Even though the intentions of the artistic forces behind it were, 'Okay, we're going to open up the mythology of Freddy Krueger, we're going to make him darker and actually explore the idea of child sexual abuse' and those are all the things that interested me. Of course at the end of the day when you have to put it in 1,000 theaters or more, you have to shy away from those things and just make it a sell-able entity. So I think, you can't really start judging the leaves of a tree if the seed is fucked.
During a recent interview with Screen Geek, Thomas Dekker opened up regarding why A Nightmare on Elm Street fell so flat. Although he widely praised the work done by director Samuel Bayer, and the rest of the film's prestigious cast, he lamented the fact that Platinum Dunes didn't want to really delve into the dark, disturbing elements that the story clearly called for. While the filmmakers and actors wanted to really tackle serious ideas like sex abuse and trauma, Platinum Dunes ultimately scaled everything back and rehashed many of the traditional Elm Street slasher tropes that had been played out by 2010. They relied on typical Freddy Krueger scares, rather than going deeper into the mythology of the franchise. It was a genuine waste of Jackie Earle Haley.
That being said, we don't necessarily blame Platinum Dunes for reigning in the content of A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's ultimately a studio's job to manage risk, and a horror film that takes a cold hard look at child sex abuse is undeniably a hard sell on audiences. Our only hope is that studios will learn from the failure of Nightmare and be more willing to embrace that sort of dark, gritty content for a future installment -- something Robert Englund is already reportedly working on. If anyone can get this series back on track, it's the original Freddy.
CinemaBlend will keep you up to date regarding the future of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as more details become available to us. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the next installment is far better than the last one.