Dekker: Why The “Elm Street” Reboot Failed

In the past decade we’ve seen numerous remakes of 1980s horror classics. Some haven’t been that bad, such as 2009’s “Friday the 13th” reboot. Most though have been pretty terrible, from Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” to the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” remake.

2010’s ‘Elm Street’ reboot in particular was a critical flop following up the original seven film franchise which broke boundaries and delivered at least three classics of the genre (1, 3 & 7). Jackie Earle Haley took over the role of Freddy Krueger in the film, terrorising a bunch of kids played by the likes of Rooney Mara, Kellan Lutz, Kyle Gallner and Thomas Dekker.

Recently, Dekker was asked by Screen Geek for his thoughts on why the film didn’t work out and he suggests studio interference and timidness are the main reason the film was neutered right out of the gate:

It’s a tricky one to talk about. I would say it was an honor to be a part of it. I think the cast as we know, we had two, now one-time Oscar nominee and another two-time Oscar nominee who’s still a very good friend of mine, Rooney Mara, and I think the issue at hand with that movie can’t really be thrown at the director because the director was basically a gun for hire to make it look good, and he did that.

It looked great, but it’s basically like most good films tell a story, that film was to sell a tuxedo. It’s a sales movie. ‘It’s okay, we got this idea we’re going to take and we’re going to make money off it, so let’s just do that’. Even though the intentions of the artistic forces behind it were “Okay, we’re going to open up the mythology of Freddy Krueger, we’re going to make him darker and actually explore the idea of child sexual abuse” and those are all the things that interested me.

Of course at the end of the day when you have to put it in 1,000 theaters or more, you have to shy away from those things and just make it a sell-able entity. So I think you can’t really start judging the leaves of a tree if the seed is f–ked.

And that’s that situation. The unfortunate part is if it had been an independent film, sort of inspired by Nightmare on Elm Street, I think it could have been something really special, but in order to afford that brand, then you have to cater to the lowest common denominator, and that’s what happens with these remakes. You’re not allowed the privilege of originality if you’re not coming up with an original idea.

Six years since its release, there’s no plans for further films in the franchise be it sequels or another reboot.