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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...

  • Adult Fear: 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Darker and Edgier: This version of Freddy is a lot more darker than his original counterpart, being completely humorless and considerably more vicious. Not to mention, he's a pedophile in his 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: Kris (to those who haven't seen the original, anyway).
  • Dull Surprise: Rooney Mara's usual reaction to things.
  • 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.
    • 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: This happened to Nancy.
  • Gainax Ending: Freddy appears in the end, despite the fact that nobody is asleep. Or are they?
  • 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!".
  • Meganekko: Nancy's mother. She's pretty cute with those glasses on.
  • Mythology Gag: This version of Freddy is a child molester, which is what his character was originally supposed to be in the 1984 version.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Freddy's motivation seems to stem from this, as evidenced by this quote.
    Quentin: He's not after us because we lied. He's after us because we told the truth.
  • 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: Never touch the children of Springwood or you'll end up like Freddy.
  • 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 and a Gendo Pose on the film poster.
  • 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 do push wakefulness far 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: Averted. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...

Example of: