A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) Reviews and overview


‘Never sleep again’

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 2010 American supernatural slasher horror feature film directed by Samuel Bayer from a screenplay by Wesley Strick (Cape Fear) and Eric Heisserer. The movie stars Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, and Kellan Lutz.

A remake of Wes Craven’s 1984 film of the same name; produced by Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, it was conceived as a reboot of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

A Nightmare on Elm Street was originally going to follow the same design as Platinum Dunes’ other remake, Friday the 13th (2009), with the writers taking the best elements from each of the films and creating a single storyline with them. Eventually, they decided to use Craven’s original storyline, and try to create a scarier film. They reduced Freddy’s quips, bringing him back to a darker nature; which included making the character not just a child killer but a molester too.

The decision was also made to bring Freddy’s physical appearance closer to that of an actual burn victim, and the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) was used in certain sections of Haley’s face to further assist in that vision.

Craven has expressed his displeasure with the remaking of his film, primarily because he was not consulted on the project as has been done on previous films of his that have been remade. Robert Englund, who portrayed Freddy in the previous eight films, voiced his support of the remake and the casting of Haley in the role of Freddy.

Kris Fowles (Katie Cassidy) goes to the Springwood Diner to meet with her boyfriend, Dean Russell (Kellan Lutz), who falls asleep at the table and meets a man covered in burn scars. The burned man cuts Dean’s throat in the dream, but in reality it appears that Dean is cutting his own throat.

At Dean’s funeral, Kris sees a photograph of her and Dean as children, but cannot recall ever knowing Dean before high school. Kris begins to dream about the burned man herself and refuses to go to sleep for fear that she will die in her dreams.

Jesse Braun (Thomas Dekker), Kris’s ex-boyfriend, shows up to keep her company while she sleeps, but Kris meets the burned man in her dreams and is murdered. Covered in her blood, Jesse runs to Nancy’s house and learns that Nancy has been having dreams about the same man: Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley)…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The complaint I heard most was that it’s too dark to be a Freddy movie but if you watch the original, it’s just as dark. None of the kills or dream sequences are memorable. They homage the Tina kill, but if you’re gonna do that why not try and make it better? It’s not that awful but it’s nothing special.” John Moser, Awful Horror Movies

“Despite the darker turn and some better visuals, the movie just doesn’t seem as scary as the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. The jumps are just not shocking, and if you saw the first movie many of the deaths echo the first deaths. The end of the film gets kind of sloppy with and uncovering that Krueger did molest them (there was some doubt for a bit) doesn’t really add much.” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

” …a barely-cohesive narrative supported by poor acting, terribly dull characters, sluggish pacing, generic atmosphere and music, and a Freddy Krueger who looks more like a deformed space alien than, well, Freddy Krueger.” Martin Liebman, Blu-ray.com

“Here even Freddy is just Jason with clunky dialogue who has no imagination or charisma that boils down to zingers like “Remember me?” and “I am now.” Who knew demons spoke in short hand? His kills are conventional and boring and the rest of his new mold is based around how many times he can pop up and shock the audience for an instant…” Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed

” …while director Samuel Bayer didn’t take full advantage of his opportunity and improve on the original, he has managed to direct the best film in the franchise since Part 3. Although the premise has become tiresome, this film has managed to add something new to the saga… Digital Retribution

“I did jump a few times, and I liked Haley’s dour malevolence, but overall, the new Nightmare on Elm Street is a by-the-numbers bad dream that plays a little too much like a corporately ordered rerun.” Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“The pace never quickens nor slows to a dread-inducing creep […] Although there’s admittedly something truly unsavory about Haley’s portrayal of the relentless dream stalker, even with his electronically deepened voice and a pointless amount of backstory, there’s just no replacing Englund.” Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

“Bayer plays with shape and color interestingly in a scene where Quentin (Kyle Gallner) nearly drowns and dreams Freddy’s backstory, but beyond that, he settles for delivering the cheapest, lamest, and most unoriginal of thrills, and in so doing accomplishes something unlikely: making one hanker for the ‘80s and the beauty of analog-age special effects.” Ed Gonzalez, Slant magazine

Main cast and characters:

  • Jackie Earle Haley … Freddy Krueger
  • Kyle Gallner … Quentin Smith
  • Rooney Mara … Nancy Holbrook
  • Katie Cassidy … Kris Fowles
  • Thomas Dekker … Jesse Braun
  • Kellan Lutz … Dean Russell
  • Clancy Brown … Alan Smith
  • Connie Britton … Doctor Gwen Holbrook
  • Lia Mortensen … Nora Fowles


Principal photography began on May 5, 2009, and wrapped on July 10, 2009.


A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in the USA on April 30, 2010 to 3,332 movie houses and approximately 4,700 screens.