the original through Freddy vs Jason.
We accept different actors playing James Bond. We accept different actors as Batman. But for some roles, it's really difficult to accept anyone else when one particular actor becomes so associated with the part, and anyone else, no matter how talented, will be scrutinized and possibly rejected. For example, a number of actors essayed Inspector Clouseau, including Alan Arkin and Steve Martin, but for most people, the only Clouseau is Peter Sellers.
This brings me to the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I have to ask myself: can I accept anyone else besides Robert England playing Freddy Krueger? To the remake's credit, it found the best person possible to don the fedora and claw: Jackie Earl Haley, a wonderful actor who, like Englund, might not be the most physically intimidating person but is more than capable of playing creepy, dark, and menacing.
Well, Haley does an admirable job, but he can't overcome a weak makeup job and a poor script that rehashes too much of the original. The movie is slickly produced and works overtime to avoid being campy. It tries to be scary and eschews the silliness of the later sequels, but overall, it's a generic teen slasher pic, lacking anything particularly memorable or iconic. The remake also overcomplicates Freddy's character and has little of the thematic depth Wes Craven's original.
Initially, Nancy (Rooney Mara) and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) are convinced they must have lied about the accusations and that their parents (including Clancy Brown in essentially the John Saxon role as school principal) murdered an innocent man. This would explain why Freddy doesn't kill them right away when he has the chance. He prods them toward discovering the truth, but then it turns out, nope, they didn't lie. He really did molest the kids.
Some of the scares and imagery of the original are repeated like the claw in the bath tub, the face in the wall, and Freddy's boiler room lair. The characters are lifeless, and the film has little of the surreal dream weirdness you'd expect it to have (though I did like the hallway floor that becomes a pool of blood that Nancy sinks into as she tries running away). Kids end up in the dream world, and Freddy comes after them. Where is the wonky dream logic and imaginative set pieces? Nothing compares to Johnny Depp getting sucked down into his bed or Freddy elongating his arms the length of an alleyway.