A Nightmare on Elm Street relies on predictable scare tactics

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Jackie Earle Haley stalks the dreams of high school students as razor-gloved killer Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Haley takes on the role made famous by Robert Englund in the 1984 low-budget horror film of the same name and its many sequels, and his performance here is excellent, bringing back a real sense of menace and sadism to a character that had grown increasingly silly over time. That’s about it for the positives, though. Everything else about this new Nightmare is just mediocre. In terms of plot, there’s very little difference/ The film offers the usual tendencies to sacrifice character development in favor of action. Aside from Freddy, none of the characters are even remotely interesting. Rooney Mara’s Nancy mumbles and stumbles her way through the movie, never once rising to the level of an engaging heroine, and the rest of the cast is just as forgettable. Director Samuel Bayer is competent enough as a visual stylist, but he’s got no feel for the rhythm of this kind of film, throwing one loud scare after another at the audience to the point that it just becomes annoying. As for the stuff real nightmares are made of, you won’t find it here. **

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