A Nightmare on Elm Street, dir. Samuel Bayer, scr. Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer, st. Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy
Loosely true to its predecessor, a group of vigilante parents murder their children's molester (changed from a child killer in the 1984 original) Fred Krueger, and now he haunts the teens' dreams from beyond the grave, manifesting whenever they fall asleep. Wes Craven's stylish and bloody film has been laboriously and needlessly updated here with flashier visuals, deepened backstories, and spunkier heroines. There's interesting allegorical detailing in there somewhere about the sins of our forebears being healed by our young, but this is all but passed over in order to serve the next popcorn-raining jolt. Jackie Earle Haley, Rorschach in Zach Snyder's Watchmen, aims for greater solemnity than Robert Englund but still falls back into Gleeful Twisted Villain mode. Mara's Nancy Holbrook shows the kind of tiresome resolve we've come to expect from the last girl standing, but squint and you can just make out the faint traces of icy Lisbeth stoicism to come.