A Nightmare on Elm Street

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
A Nightmare on Elm Street Movie Poster Image
Teens sliced and slayed in grisly slasher remake.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 90 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The primary themes here are vengeance, denial, and fear. In flashbacks, it is suggested that Freddie Krueger is a child molester. Rather than alerting the authorities, the parents of his victims hunt him down and kill him. Returning through dreams and nightmares, Freddie then takes his revenge by hunting and killing the children, now teenagers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the teens are problem solvers, constantly searching for ways to save their lives and the lives of their friends, their parents are basically vigilantes -- and clearly Freddy's no role model.

Violence

The movie contains tons of horror violence, including throat-slashing, body-slashing, body-slamming, cigarette lighter-burning, face-slashing, burning bodies, car crashes, eye-stabbing, and severed hands. Additionally, we see plenty of terrifying nightmare imagery, such as a girl sinking into a lake of blood. This movie also hints that, in his past life, Freddie Krueger was a child molester, although nothing is actually shown or overtly mentioned.

Sex

No nudity or sex, but two teens are seen lying in bed together, and two other teens share a kiss. Teen girls are shown wearing tight, sexy clothing from time to time. Freddie occasionally makes some sexual remarks aimed at the teen girls.

Language

At least nine uses of "f--k" (in various forms), and at least four uses of "s--t" (in various forms). Additionally, we hear "bitch," "pissed," "hell," "asshole," "Jesus," and "God" as exclamations.

Consumerism

Characters use the "Gigablast" Internet search engine more than once. A character quickly drinks a Red Bull in one shot.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink coffee to stay awake. One teen takes a prescription drug, which he describes as "basically speed for kids with ADD." Later, he steals epinephrine (adrenaline) from a hospital cart and injects both himself and another teen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Nightmare on Elm Street -- a "reboot" of the classic 1984 slasher film, and the ninth film about "Freddie Krueger," a serial killer who attacks teens in their dreams --  contains all the expected gore (throat-slashing, burning bodies, car crashes, eye-stabbing) and nightmare imagery (like a girl sinking into a pool of blood), with a slightly darker tone than the original. In this version, Oscar-nominated actor Jackie Earle Haley plays Freddie as a more twisted, tragic figure -- a suggested child molester (though nothing is seen or even overtly discussed) -- who is taking his revenge against the people who destroyed him. The movie contains strong language (including "f--k" and "bitch") and some mild hints of teen sexuality, as well as some references to drugs (for staying awake).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byclarence August 6, 2015
Parent of an infant, 2, 4, 7, and 11 year old Written bylindsey678 February 5, 2011

BAD PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IF YOU LET A KID 14 AND UNDER WATCH THIS MOVIE THEN YOU ARE A BAD PARENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kid, 12 years old May 29, 2015

Another disappointing remake

Changed story. Go with the original. Just another slasher film. Too much CGI and special effects to be scary. If you're ok with blood, it shouldn't b... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byschuym1 December 26, 2010

Average horror movie

Good movie, but not as good as the original series. I hate Freddy's new look, but I like how his past is explored more. Now, about your comments at the en... Continue reading

What's the story?

On Elm Street, a teen tries to stay awake, apparently afraid of a scary man with knives for fingers who threatens to kill him in his dreams. He eventually succumbs and dies, leading the rest of his friends to fear for their lives. After more grisly deaths, Nancy (Rooney Mara) and Quentin (Kyle Gallner), try to stay awake long enough to find out who Freddie (Jackie Earle Haley) is and what he wants. Their search leads to a terrifying truth, and a mysterious past incident involving all their parents. But even armed with this knowledge, can they still defeat Freddie before their exhaustion catches up with them?

Is it any good?

The idea behind this horror series is still extremely effective. It brings terror to the one place where we should be safe: sleep. This new reboot follows the same structure and uses some of the same scary imagery from Wes Craven's 1984 classic original. It's competently made, and the characters and dialogue feel authentic enough. The digital special effects are more modern, in a way that will appeal to today's teen viewers.

The new movie differs mainly in the character of Freddie. As portrayed by Oscar-nominated Haley, he's less funny and more twisted and tormented, especially in his flashback "origin" sequences. But the suggestion of child molestation brings the movie right out of the "fun" realm; it's far more disturbing than entertaining. Though one saving grace is that the teens in this movie are generally good kids -- not the sex-obsessed or mean teens that often find their way into horror films.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's extreme gore and violence. Was it scary? How else did it affect you? What makes horror movies so popular (and profitable)?

  • What is the impact of seeing so many gruesome images in horror movies like these? Teens: Do you think you'd feel less empathy for someone getting hurt if you saw too many movies like this one?

  • Why is Freddie scary? What makes him different from other "slashers" like Jason or Michael Myers? Do you think movies like these condone real violence?

Movie details

For kids who love to be scared

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