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Film / A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

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He knows where you sleep.

This 2010 film serves as both a remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and a reboot of the actual Elm Street franchise; Rooney Mara stars as Nancy and Jackie Earle Haley plays the nightmare himself, Freddy Krueger. The film generally remains close to the origin of Freddy and the overall events of the original film, though it does make some superficial changes to both.

One, two, Freddy's coming for you...three, four, here's the tropes you're looking for...

  • Aborted Arc: After reading the story of the Pied Piper, it's suggested it might have a connection to Freddy. This is never brought up again.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Just about all of the main characters’ names from the original (excluding Freddy) are changed in some way or outright completely:
    • Nancy’s first name is still the same, but her last name is changed from “Thompson” to “Holbrook”.
    • Her mother Marge’s name is changed to “Gwen”.
    • Tina Gray is changed to “Kris Fowles“ (although, arguably, her first name is still the same, as “Tina” was short for “Christina”).
    • Rod Lane is changed to “Jesse Braun”.
    • Glen Lantz is changed to “Quentin Smith”.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A minor case with the parents, who in this version murdered Freddy without attempting to bring him to justice by legal means, which they rationalize based on not wanting their children to have to publicly testify about being abused. In the original, they did try to have him legally convicted for his crimes first, only resorting to murder after the charges were dropped due to someone else's paperwork error. While not making Freddy himself any less monstrous, this renders his becoming even more of a monster attributable to the fault of his killers' deliberate decisions, and makes the whole situation more tragic overall.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. The parents aren't able to do too much to protect their kids from Freddy in the present, but we see in flashbacks that they were so determined to protect their children from his molesting them that they burned him alive.
  • And I Must Scream: Freddy intends to trap Nancy in this scenario, by keeping her awake for so long that, when she finally did fall asleep, she wouldn't wake up.
  • Answers to the Name of God:
    Jesse: Oh, God!
    Freddy: No. Just me.
  • Blatant Lies: Freddy to a hapless victim:
    Freddy: *brandishing claws* You don't have nothing to worry about. This won't hurt one...little...bit.
  • Character Tic: Freddy has a unique habit of rubbing his middle finger and index finger together, which produces a unique sound as the metal of his claws brushes against each other.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    Freddy: "Did you know that after the heart stops beating, the brain keeps functioning for well over seven minutes? We got six more minutes to play..."
  • Composite Character: Nancy Holbrook appears to be a combination of Nancy Thompson and Alice Johnson.
  • Darker and Edgier: This version of Freddy is a lot darker than his original counterpart, being completely humorless and considerably more vicious. Not to mention, he's a pedophile in this version, which somehow manages to be creepier than being a child murderer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The remake Freddy enters this territory; he is much more physically subdued than the original, but his love for wordplays and puns remain more-or-less-unchanged.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first third of the film follows Kris as she attempts to unravel the mystery of the nightmares, but after she is killed by Freddy, the perspective shifts to Nancy. Fans of the series, of course, might have already guessed that the character named Nancy would turn out to be the real lead.
  • Discretion Shot: After entering Freddy's lair, Nancy and Quentin discover Polaroid photos of a young Nancy which are strongly implied (from their horrified reactions) to be sexual in nature, but they are not shown to the audience. Justified, since it would obviously be illegal for the filmmakers to produce child porn even if it was only for a movie.
  • Dull Surprise: Rooney Mara's usual reaction to things has little feelings. This was intentional as she didn't like making the film and claimed she didn't even try to give a good performance.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Played straight when you find out all the victims went to the same preschool that Freddy worked at in life. It is also justified. Freddy only went after those particular kids because they went to school together.
  • Eye Scream: Happens twice: first when Nancy stabs Freddy in the eye with scissors, and again at the end, when Freddy impales Nancy's mother through the head from behind and a blade comes out of her eye.
  • Fanservice: One of the main characters spends an entire scene that is pretty pivotal to the plot dressed in a speedo.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: The main characters all went to preschool together, but it was so long ago for them that they've forgotten that they knew each other before their teenage years. Their parents all wanted it that way.
  • Gainax Ending: Freddy jumps out of a mirror and kills Nancy's mom right in front of her, sucking her into the mirror and leaving Nancy screaming before a cut to credits. Most likely a Shout-Out to the Cliffhanger endings of the original films.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jesse suffers this fate quite gruesomely, and is still alive long enough, as Freddy puts it, "to play..."
  • Insult Backfire: During the final showdown with Freddy:
    Freddy: Hello little Nancy. Now that you've got me, what game do you want to play next?
    Nancy: Fuck you!
    Freddy: Oooh! Sounds like fun! But a little fast for me.
  • Ironic Echo: Freddy comments that there's nothing Nancy can do to stop him because they're in his world. When she pulls him out of the dream, she chops off his claw-gloved hand, stating "Hurts, doesn't it? Cause, you're in my world now bitch!".
  • Motive Misidentification: Upon learning that the parents had burned him alive due to their children telling them he apparently abused them, Quentin comes to the belief that Freddy wants revenge on the kids for telling stories that got him killed. Upon finding the lair he had in life and discovering that he actually was a pedophile, Quentin realizes that Freddy was after them because they told the truth.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This version of Freddy is a child molester, which is what his character was originally supposed to be in the 1984 version.
    • The tagline "Welcome to your new nightmare" may be a nod to Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As covered under Motive Misidentification, Quentin and Nancy get it into their heads that Freddy was innocent, and assume he's leading them back to the preschool so he can be put to rest. When they arrive at Bedham Preschool and discovering his hidden pedophile cave, Quentin puts together that Freddy has been reminding them of him to make himself stronger, and they've fed right into it.
  • Never Say "Die": Although it's obvious that Freddy molested the kids, they never directly use the word 'molest'.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer had several scenes that were noticeably absent from the film itself, which include additional scares from Freddy due to micronaps.
  • Oh, Crap!: Quentin has one of these when he falls asleep whilst he should be guarding Nancy.
  • Pædo Hunt: This version of Freddy sexually abused the children of Elm Street, which causes the parents to murder him when they find out what happened.
  • Police Are Useless: Aside from arresting Jesse for the apparent murder of Kris, the police in the film barely do anything at all in looking into the recent string of murders. When the parents kill Freddy in the past, there isn't a rogue policeman even there to show there is an actual presence in the town.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Freddy: (to Quentin) Why don't you just fucking die?
  • Psychotic Smirk: The remade Freddy pulled this one along with him Finger-Tenting on the film poster.
  • Rape and Revenge: The kid's parents killed Freddy where he hid after they found out that he'd molested their children.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Freddy plays this quite straight with Nancy. While he abused the children sexually at school, he menaces Nancy nonstop with a perverted Yandere attitude that makes his antics in life seem tame. And when Quentin and Nancy develop feelings for each other, Freddy gets pretty jealous.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Used as while Jesse's technically flatlined after being killed by Freddy, Freddy informs him in his continuing dream that the brain can survive up to seven minutes after heart failure, and they've still got six minutes to play. The scene cuts back to reality, with only his offscreen screams implying what's happening next.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The writers bring up quite a few biological tidbits in order to make Freddy more disturbing:
    • Micronaps — a sleep-starved brain's attempt to "recharge" with tiny bursts of forced rest — means that staying awake will eventually become meaningless against Freddy.
    • There is a difference between "Normal" death and brain death. Freddy knows this, and uses the amount of time between the two to do a couple of Serial Killer victory laps on people he has murdered.
    • Staying awake for too long will cause the brain to forcibly enter a coma. Freddy not only knows this, but he was counting on it.
  • Slashed Throat:
    • Dean's death, shown in the real world as him cutting his own throat with a knife.
    • Freddy's supposed death in the real world near the end of the film, where Nancy cuts his throat with a blade.
  • Slasher Smile: Whenever Jackie Earl Haley smiles (no matter innocently) while in full Freddy make-up in the making-of featurettes, it's this.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Of the "can't fall asleep, or bad things happen" variety. This remake includes the concept of "micronaps" where a sleep-deprived brain will temporarily switch into a kind of sleep-mode to try and recover. So the kids aren't even safe from Freddy before the point where they simply can't stay awake any longer. The film also mentions that if you push wakefulness for too long, you can fall into a permanent coma.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The end credits roll over "All I Have to Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Combined with an Ironic Echo at the climax.
    Nancy: Hurts, doesn't it? 'Cause you're in my world now, bitch!
  • Tragic Monster: Subverted. At first, it looks like that this version of Freddy is the spirit of an innocent man who was wrongly murdered for supposedly sexually abusing children. Then towards the end, it's revealed that he actually did abuse them.
  • Vigilante Injustice: The parents murdered Freddy after they found out that he had been sexually abusing their children. While Nancy and Quentin call them out for murdering Freddy because they didn't remember what had happened and initially believed Freddy was vengeful over his unjust murder because the parents chose to murder him first rather than take him to court. Nancy and Quentin do eventually find out that Freddy did in fact molest them and Freddy has no sympathetic motivations for attacking them.
  • Villain Has a Point: Even though it turns out Freddy actually did molest the children, it's pointed out that the parents were in the wrong for lynching and killing him instead of having him face justice for his actions in court, which does give him an understandable, though myopic, reason to want revenge. Not that this justifies going after the kids instead of the parents though, and any tiny drop of pity one might have had for him is lost with the sadistic ways he kills, not to mention what he plans to do to Nancy.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Freddy's not usually prone to losing his cool, but he briefly snaps into an almost childish tantrum. Clearly jealous over Quentin and Nancy's growing affection, he attacks Quentin by banging his head against the boiler room pipes over and over again while furiously screaming "You! Can't! Save! Her!" He regains his composure after thinking he's gotten the upper hand again, and quickly reverts back to his calm hide-and-seek taunts, which turns out to be a bad idea - Quentin survives the attack and does save her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The parents of Springwood have two major fears here. Their children were molested by an employee at their preschool and the parents decided to take care of him themselves. Years later, their children are being stalked and murdered by the same man in their dreams.
  • Yandere: Played straight by Freddy himself towards Nancy. While he intends to kill all the children for telling their parents he molested them, he saves Nancy for something worse because — as Nancy's mother admitted — she's his favorite one of all.

...nine, ten, never sleep again...