Greatest Movie Series
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"A Nightmare on Elm Street" Films

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Nightmare on Elm Street Films
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) | A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) | A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) | Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
(Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994) | Freddy vs. Jason (2003) | A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" Films - Part 9
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
d. Samuel Bayer, 95 minutes

Film Plot Summary

Under the credits, children from Badham PreSchool in Springwood, Ohio (1994-1996) played together, with games of hopscotch and skip-rope.

At the 24-hour Springwood Diner on a rainy night at about 4:30 am, high school student Dean Russell (Kellan Lutz) entreated an elusive waitress to bring him coffee (it was soon revealed that he was experiencing a nightmare):

  • He saw pigs heads and feet boiling in pots on a flaming stove in the kitchen.
  • A razor-clawed, gloved hand from a striped red/dark green sweatered stalker slashed at his hand and bloodied it.

He was startingly awakened from the disturbing and frightening nightmare, finding himself at a diner table booth at 11:15 pm, where he was served by:

  • fellow student/waitress Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara)

Dean was met by:

  • blonde girlfriend Kris Fowles (Katie Cassidy)

She was worried that he hadn't slept for many days because he was fearful of recurring dreams. Other students were at a nearby booth:

  • Nancy's boyfriend Quentin Smith (Kyle Gallner)
  • Jesse Braun (Thomas Dekker), Kris' ex-boyfriend

Dean believed that his nightmares stemmed from his childhood past, but was assured by Kris that "they're just dreams. Okay? They're not real." While Kris went to the restroom, Dean dozed off for a second:

  • face-burned and scarred Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley) attacked him at the table with a knife.

Kris returned and witnessed Dean slitting his own throat (# 1 death).

At Dean's funeral, during a minister's prayer, Kris momentarily sank into a dream:

  • Kris watched her young blonde self (Julianna Damm) (the front of her blue dress had four bloody slash marks) toss red flowers into the gravesite, as her foot was grabbed from the hole by the left hand of Krueger.

That night, as she shut her eyes while listening to music, Nancy went into a momentary dream-state:

  • the wallpaper behind Nancy began to pulsate as the sinister Freddy briefly emerged

It dawned on Kris also that evening, after looking at old photos of Dean and herself as children, that she had been linked with Dean all the way back to their childhood - but she told her mother Nora (Lia Mortensen): "I don't remember knowing Dean before high school."

In a dream sequence, Kris dozed off on her bed (although she feared falling asleep):

  • She went looking for old childhood photos in her garage attic. In a storage box labeled 1995, she found a photo of herself, an old doll, and her slashed blue dress.
  • When a light blew out, Freddy assaulted her, asking: "Remember me?" - after which she woke up screaming in her bed.

The next day in her history class, Kris sleepily listened to a lecture, and dozed off:

  • As she flipped through her textbook, she came across a page illustrating Freddy's clawed hand, and found Freddy lecturing her in a darkened, burned and flooded classroom, taunting: "You look just as beautiful as ever." He snipped off part of her hair.

She was startled awake and screamed amidst her classmates. She drove to her Elm Street home, where she unexpectedly found her dog Rufus outside. Kris was destined to spend the night alone after her flight attendant mother departed for a red-eye flight to London. Struggling to stay awake, she discovered Jesse at her window, there to console her and ask about her disturbing dreams (Kris: "But now, every time I dream, I always see this man and he's... He's burned and melted. And he's always trying to attack me with these knives.."). Jesse revealed that he had the same dreams. When she expressed how scared she was of falling asleep and being killed like Dean, he promised to stay with her overnight.

Kris entered into another dream-state when she went to sleep:

  • She wandered into her backyard where she discovered that Freddy had slashed her dog to death.
  • In her pre-school corridor, Freddy stalked her during a game of hide-and-seek - and she woke up in a sweat - but she was still in her dream. After she found Freddy lying next to her in bed, she was levitated to the ceiling, and crashed into the walls before having her chest slashed open (# 2 death), as she had feared.

Covered in her blood, Jesse frantically ran from the house to Nancy's residence, where he found the goth-styled Nancy drawing dark pencil sketches in the middle of the night. He told her about Kris' murder: "Someone killed her in her sleep...He's the one who's trying to kill us in our dreams." Nancy admitted she kept hearing the sing-song rhyme: "One, two, Freddy's coming for you..." Jesse realized that they all shared common dreams of serial killer Freddy ("He's in all of our heads"). He cautioned Nancy: "Just don't fall asleep. If you die in your dreams, you die for real."

As he fled, Jesse was apprehended by police and handcuffed as the suspected homicidal killer, although he claimed: "I didn't kill her." When he fell asleep in his jail cell but believed he was being released after bond was posted, he found himself haunted by Freddy:

  • Jesse was in Freddy's steamy furnace room basement, where he was pursued along gangplanks and confronted by the razor-clawed killer. The chuckling, sadistic Freddy asked: "You think you can turn back time?...Do you think you can bring the dead back to life?...I didn't f--king think so." Freddy's clawed hand burst through Jesse's chest from behind, instantly removing his heart (# 3 death).

At Powell's Book Store in Springwood, Quentin fell asleep as he was searching his laptop (using GigaBlast) for the effects of exhaustion and sleep deprivation on sanity - his computer screen went into sleep mode:

  • He saw Freddy in his daydream, but was brought back to reality when Nancy arrived.

Since the age of 15, Quentin had been prescribed Zoneral ("speed for kids with ADD"). When they talked about common items in their dreams, Quentin described how insomniacs, after the 70 hour mark, would begin dreaming even if they were awake. Then, their brain would shut down and an individual would enter a comatose state ("permanent sleep").

That night, Nancy's mother Gwen (Connie Britton) feared that Nancy was beginning to remember her past, when she asked about her connection to the other teenagers, and a man named Freddy. Nancy suspected that her mother was lying - and hiding a guilty secret. As Nancy stepped into a hot bath, she set her cellphone's alarm clock and then dozed off:

  • Freddy's gloved hand momentarily appeared in-between Nancy's outstretched legs [a scene paying clear homage to a similar scene in the original 1984 Nightmare film].
  • Outside her bathroom, she saw that her bedroom was in the midst of a snowstorm, and then she was transported to the snowy exterior of Badham PreSchool. Freddy approached: "All grown up," although she resisted: "You're just a nightmare." He reminded her that she was his favorite child: "You're my number one. You're my little Nancy." He licked her cheek and ear, and stroked her with the tips of his razor claws.

Fortunately, she was awakened by a phone call from Quentin. She told him: "I fell asleep, I saw Freddy." Together, they suspected that all of them - as children, had attended Badham PreSchool on the other side of town, although now closed. This was confirmed when they found a hidden envelope in her kitchen drawer with a class picture identifying them ("We're all here, Kris, Jesse, Dean...").

Nancy's mother Gwen was forced to reluctantly admit that she had wanted Nancy to "forget" a terrible memory from her past. They were told that Nancy's pre-school gardener named Fred, who lived in the school's basement, had "hurt" and sexually-abused 5 year-old Nancy ("his favorite of all") and other innocent children. Although Fred played hide-and-seek with the children, he also took them to a "secret cave." But sensing he would be arrested, child-molester Fred left town before he could be confronted. Gwen reassured her grown-up daughter: "He's gone. He can't hurt you anymore." She thought the dreams were only "repressed memories from a terrible, terrible time."

Nancy sought to track down the other kids in the picture, and discovered that all of them had died - usually in their sleep.

  • One boy named Marcus Yeon (Aaron Yoo) had posted a web video, describing similar nightmares of a threatening, burned man with a striped sweater. He remarked before committing suicide, on-camera: "If I sleep, I dream. If I dream, I'm dead." (# 4 death).

Although Quentin believed Gwen's account that the dreams were just "f--ked up memories," Nancy disagreed: "Memories don't kill you."

While swimming laps during practice at school, Quentin nearly drowned - and was unconscious:

  • Quentin was transported to the past to witness the pursuit and murder of fugitive Krueger by vengeful, vigilante parents, including his own father. Krueger was cornered in a building and burned alive (# 5 death).

Afterwards, Quentin and Nancy questioned Quentin's father Alan Smith (Clancy Brown) about their parents' method of seeking justice without any proof of a crime ("How do you know he was guilty?...You killed an innocent man!"). Smith admitted that since that incident, the murder had been hushed up: "Fred Krueger never existed." The two feared that Krueger was seeking retribution on the grown-up children - in their dreams - for lying to their parents about their physical and sexual abuse as pre-schoolers ("We got him killed. Our stories, our lies").

Quentin and Nancy decided to visit the pre-school to "find something" - as sleep-deprived Nancy was already experiencing micro-naps and disturbing images, even though she was awake:

  • On the way to the pre-school, Nancy was attacked by Krueger at a pharmacy (store music was playing The Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do is Dream") and slashed across her left upper arm, but was able to rip off a piece of Freddy's tattered sweater - and return it to the real-world, when Quentin found her.

At the hospital where Nancy was treated, Quentin stole a syringe of adrenaline to keep them awake. After being haunted by Freddy on the way to the pre-school, the two broke into the fenced-off school, and discovered Krueger's living quarters in the basement's maintenance area. Behind a sliding door, they found the hidden 'secret cave' (or 'special place') that children had reported, where Krueger had taken children. In a shoebox, Quentin found a stack of incriminating Polaroid photos - all of Nancy - clear evidence of sexual abuse. Quentin realized: "He's not after us because we lied. He's after us because we told the truth." Nancy added: "He brought us here so we would remember what he did to us."

Nancy determined that there was only one way to end Krueger's persecution of them forever - she would go to sleep and bring Krueger out of her dream, and kill him in the real-world. Quentin feared that Nancy might never wake up and die, but promised that he would pull her out of her dream ("We're gonna make it"). As he sat by her side, he accidentally fell asleep:

  • Quentin was attacked by Krueger, who shouted at him: "You can't save her."
  • The killer was distracted when Nancy entered the same dreamscape, and he spoke to his favorite Little Nancy, claiming: "I'm real."
  • After a chase through her house, he trapped her on her bed - and sexually threatened her as he had done when she was younger. He explained: "Your memories are what fuels me...Your mouth says no, but your body says yes. Don't turn away. Look at me. Look what you did to me. Now it's time to play. Are you having fun?"
  • After she stabbed him in the eye with a pair of scissors, he retorted: "Naughty girl. You can't hurt me. You're in my world. And you can't ever leave." He then described his motivation to leave her for last - permanently: "I had to keep you awake long enough so when you finally slept, you'd never wake up again....We're gonna be in here a long time...I'm your boyfriend now."

Quentin stirred awake and stabbed Nancy in the chest with the adrenaline syringe to bring her back - as she pulled Krueger with her into the real world. During a fierce struggle against the maniacal killer, Nancy sliced off Krueger's gloved right hand and slit his throat with a broken paper-cutter blade (she screamed: "You're in my world now, you bitch!"). They fled the room, with Freddy's body inside - Nancy torched the pre-school with a lantern flame to burn the remains of his body (# 6 death).

The two were taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment, as firefighters doused the flames consuming the pre-school. She reassured Quentin: "Nightmare's over."

When Nancy and her mother Gwen returned home that evening, Freddy suddenly appeared in a mirror reflection behind Gwen. As Nancy screamed at the sight, Freddy broke through the mirror with his clawed hand as he reached out and stabbed Gwen in the face, from behind (# 7 death). He then reached for Gwen and dragged her back into the mirror, which reformed itself. The film ended with Nancy's blood-curtling scream.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

This franchise relaunch was made by first-time feature director Samuel Bayer, who was known for making glossy music videos, such as Nirvana’s 1991 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day’s "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

With a production budget of $35 million, and box-office gross receipts of $63 million (domestic). The film grossed more in its opening weekend ($32.9 million) than the entire theatrical (domestic) gross of four other earlier Nightmare on Elm Street films: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), and (Wes Craven's) New Nightmare (1994).

The film was a remake of Wes Craven's original film from 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street, although considered a 'reboot' with a collection of copied yet memorable film deaths, lines of dialogue (without Freddy's joking humor), and duplicated dream sequences from previous films (i.e., Freddy's appearance in the bathtub and behind wallpaper, a bloody body-bag dragged down a school hallway, the ceiling levitation, a modified geyser of blood, Krueger's line: "I'm your boyfriend now," etc.).

Jackie Earle Haley replaced long-time horror icon Robert Englund as the fearsome fire-scarred child molester Freddy Krueger, who had portrayed the character in the previous seven films. The film credits mentioned that the screenplay was "based on characters created by Wes Craven" although Craven was uninvolved in the film's making.

This redo was made courtesy of Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes (which had already remade Friday the 13th (2009), The Hitcher (2007), The Amityville Horror (2005), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)).

Body Count: 7 (5 of the murders were committed by Freddy Krueger himself). Krueger 'died' twice in the film: (1) in the backstory when he was burned alive by angry parents, and (2) in the concluding pre-school fire.

Dean Russell
(Kellan Lutz)

Kris Fowles
(Katie Cassidy)

Jesse Braun
(Thomas Dekker)

Quentin Smith
(Kyle Gallner)

Nancy Holbrook
(Rooney Mara)

Gwen Holbrook
(Connie Britton)

Alan Smith
(Clancy Brown)

Freddy Krueger
(Jackie Earle Haley)

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