Director Wes Craven’s remake of “The Virgin Spring” often gets a lot of credit, not just for jump starting the grindhouse boom, but for being influential as a veritable violent film. Sadly, “Last House” is another of Wes Craven’s films that gets too much credit. While many will argue that “Last House” has to be considered for its time period, even in context, “Last House” is a piss poor horror film with terrible production qualities.
“New Nightmare” is the final installment of the series and something of a meta-movie that pre-dates Craven’s wildly overrated “Scream” series. Rather than deconstruct the slasher film, Craven deconstructs the “Nightmare” series once and for all studying the over saturation of Krueger on the masses of pop culture fanatics and dares to ponder on the notion that the “Nightmare” movies may have actually done more harm than good. Basing most of the film on reality (including the stalker sub-plot), “New Nightmare” breaks down and disavows the series opting instead to depict them as fiction that have taken on a life of their own in the midst of the pop culture overload.
While scouring reviews for “Nightmare,” I read a comment online that suggested the reason why Samuel Bayer’s absolutely lethargic lazy remake of the horror classic is so bad is because he wasn’t recruited by Platinum Dunes to re-imagine this world, but to simply lens it for them. And that’s an apt observation when you’ve managed to sit down and actually watch Platinum Dunes latest cinematic slap to the face of movie goers and horror lovers everywhere. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” 2010 is possibly one of the worst remakes of all time, it’s a lazy, unimaginative, nonsensical, and absolutely tedious piece of hogwash that doesn’t try to do anything new with the material before it, nor does it re- invent much, but instead merely goes through the motions as a routine horror affair focused on squeezing in as much shocks as possible and moving on to the next scene.
At this time horror fans are so beaten down to a messy shit stain that they really don’t have the strength to complain about remakes of their beloved horror classics anymore. Because whether we like it or not, Platinum Dunes and other horrific money grubbing companies will rehash our favorite titles and nothing is off limits. That preface aside, Neo-Nightmare sets down on basically the same premise except with ten times less the flavor and creativity of Wes Craven’s admittedly dated original. I never liked Platinum Dunes to begin with but “A Nightmare on Elm Street” ends as such a blatant spit in the face of horror fans everywhere it practically begins with a disclaimer reading, “We don’t give a shit about quality, but hey at least we have your money, suckers!” And they fell for it hook line and sinker.
When news broke out Craven was producing a remake (yes, another fucking remake) to his classic “The Hills Have Eyes” I groaned. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the original film that’s still branded a classic. I saw it twice and it just didn’t resonate with me. The cannibals looked like cavemen/WWE wrestlers, the acting was horrible, the plot dragged, and I just wasn’t satisfied. While I can and do appreciate its importance in horror (hence the collective groan after the remake news) I just didn’t care for it. I was weary of this remake since about 95 percent of modern horror remakes are terrible (i.e. House of Wax, TCM), but two words instantly turned me in to someone really anxious to watch this. Alexandre Aja.
This is “Scream” werewolf style, with red herrings, a hip cast, endless pop culture references, jump scares and a leading lady who can actually act being forced in to a situation. She even has a spazoid sidekick. Plus there’s that “Scream” style ending with everyone running back and forth and the “Maybe it’s him, maybe it’s her, but no it’s this person!” gimmick. But more characteristically, “Cursed” is a jumbled mess filled with moments that will surely have you repeatedly declaring “That would have been a great sequence”, and I was doing the same thing. Werewolves in the mirror room? Would have been great. Changing in to a werewolf in a public bathroom? Would have been great. Silencing barking neighborhood dogs with a howl? Could have been great. But alas, none of it really is.