Who's In It: Jackie Earle Haley, Thomas Dekker, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Kyle Gallner, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton, Aaron Yoo
The Basics: The razor-clawed boogeyman is back to haunt a new pack of pretty teens in this remake of the 1984 classic. When teenager Nancy Holbrook (Rooney Mara) and four of her classmates start having terrible nightmares about a disfigured killer named Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), they slowly figure out the hard way that if he kills you in your dreams, you die in real life. Over-caffeinated and exhausted from days of sleeplessness, the Elm Street kids race against the clock to save themselves by uncovering the truth about their childhood link to Freddy before sleep overtakes them and leaves them at his mercy.
What's The Deal: It's still up for debate whether or not we really needed a reboot of the Freddy Krueger franchise, but all that aside, music video director Samuel Bayer has given the original Nightmare on Elm Street a handsome if rather familiar-feeling facelift. Updating Heather Langenkamp's role from the original, relative newcomer Rooney Mara gives her Nancy a moody artistic streak and an appropriately withdrawn persona, while Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place) and Thomas Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) play variations on Tina and Rod, respectively. But while Bayer's gorgeous and inventive dream sequences are visual highlights of this new Nightmare, it's Freddy himself who poses one of the biggest problems; thanks to the film's re-imagining of Freddy as accused child molester, an uncomfortable veneer of ickiness looms overhead that makes it hard to truly enjoy the horrors on-screen -- and worse, may prevent audiences from clamoring for any further installments of the rebooted series.
Meet the New Face of Freddy: Jackie Earle Haley may not give purists the tingle of joy that series veteran Robert Englund did, but his new burned-up visage is the stuff of nightmares -- an oozing, melty, lipless face, the product of a lynch mob attack in an abandoned warehouse that we get to watch unfold in a dreamlike flashback. To his credit, Haley actually makes the young Fred Krueger sympathetic as he's accused of committing terrible, unproven acts against children -- and then, in a complete 180 degree turn, he takes up Freddy's signature razor fingers and demented penchant for playing with his victims with truly frightening results. That said, you wonder whether Haley minds that Hollywood keeps casting him as the child molesting type…
Oh Yes, The Kills: Nightmare on Elm Street fans will recognize nods to some of the memorable kills in the original, like the wall-bashing invisible clawing in the bedroom and the story of Fred Krueger's grisly death. Sadly, however, there's no equivalent of Johnny Depp being eaten by a bed, which to this day remains one of the more amusing horror movie deaths of all time.
Notes for Twilight Fans Going To Nightmare on Elm Street Just to See Kellan Lutz: The good news is that the erstwhile Emmett Cullen gets to open the film with his very own scene as Dean, sharing the spotlight with Freddy and one very sharp steak knife. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't end very well for him.)
The Word You'll Be Most Tired of Hearing By the Time It's Over: Micro-naps. As in, "Freddy can get us if we accidentally take a micro-nap while we're awake!" Or "Silly Nancy, you were just micro-napping!" Or "Wake up from your micro-nap, you're missing all the scenes in Freddy's pedophile dungeon!"