In Wes Craven’s 1984 original, Nancy warned her boyfriend Glen, a young Johnny Depp: "Whatever happens, don’t fall asleep." Heed this warning if you see this tedious ‘reimagining’ of Craven’s seminal slasher movie, because you’ll be struggling to stay awake. Inheriting Freddy Krueger’s iconic fedora and striped sweater from Robert Englund, former child star Jackie Earle Haley makes what he can of a hand-me-down role, slicing his way into the dreams of suburban teenagers. That said, Haley’s CGI-enhanced make-up makes more of an impression than his weak presence, ‘scary’ voice or lame one-liners.
After their friend is killed by an invisible attacker, emo girl Nancy (Rooney Mara) and misfit Quentin (Kyle Gallner) are convinced that her death is connected to a nightmare they’ve all been having and a dark Freddy Krueger-related secret their parents have kept from them – a secret the kids have all, in a convenient act of collective amnesia, repressed since nursery school. Now Freddy is back, invading their dreams and threatening to kill them in their sleep.
The makers clearly couldn’t decide between a prequel or remake, so they and first-time director Samuel Bayer have jammed both together. Heather Langenkamp’s wimpy portrayal of Nancy was the original’s weak point, and here Mara’s Nancy slips between the somnambulant and the catatonic. This is the worst yet from Michael Bay’s horror production company Platinum Dunes, which also brought you rubbish re-makes of Halloween and Friday the 13th. Nigel Floyd