There's something horrible happening in Springwood. (Again.) The town's teenagers are starting to have nightmares. (Again.) Really bad nightmares. The kind you don't wake up from … in one piece, anyway.
The torment usually begins slowly. A troubled high schooler, for instance, goes to a psychiatrist and starts remembering some disturbing moments from his childhood. But just remembering those past evils is enough to give a certain boogeyman—a sweater-clad specter with razor-sharp knives for fingers—the power to repeatedly materialize in the teen's dreams. And any terrible thing that eventually happens in that murky terrorland, like, say, a knife being plunged into one's throat and savagely ripped sideways, always happens in the waking world, too.
As Springwood's youth start falling one by one to these gory night-slayings, a pattern starts to emerge. Could all these kids have something in common? Nightmare-plagued friends Nancy and Quentin force themselves to stay awake while they piece together the clues. And they soon realize that they and all their friends are dreaming about the same heavily scarred tormentor. Not only that, but it seems they were all part of the same … preschool class.
What happened back then? Why are their parents so tight-lipped about it? Who is this man named Freddy Krueger? And what can be done to stop these grisly murders? The sleep-deprived pair are determined to find the answers … if they can just keep each other from nodding off. (Again.)
A pastor presides over a teen's funeral and prays, "Lord, you can turn the shadow of death into a new day." Quentin wears a cross-like medallion. When Nancy spots it she says, "I didn't take you for the religious type." Quentin retorts, "You gotta believe in something." He repeats this axiom later when he gives his necklace to Nancy for her protection.
It's revealed through flashback scenes that the human version of Freddy Krueger was a pedophile who took children from their preschool classroom to a secret back room. We see Krueger touching a child (who's painting) on the back and shoulder. Another is seen with scratches on her back. A third has claw-like tears across the front of her dress.
As teens, Quentin and Nancy find a hidden shoebox full of Polaroids of naked children in Krueger's room. (None of the images are shown.) In his dream world, Krueger coos things such as, "Your mouth says no, but your body says yes," as he runs his claws down Nancy's chest and stomach. (She's dressed in a little girl's outfit.) As Nancy wallows in a pool of blood he chortles, "How's this for a wet dream?" He runs his tongue up her face.
A boyfriend and girlfriend sleep in each other's embrace on her bed. (Both are dressed in T-shirts and underwear.)
Several of the girls wear formfitting tops. We see one in tight, low-cut T-shirts and a dress that reveals quite a lot of cleavage. Nancy drops her robe and steps into the bathtub. (We see her bare back and a bit of her breast.) While she's in the tub, the camera drops down to water level and looks up at her from between her legs. (Soap bubbles cover everything but her face and knees.)
As Nancy starts to drift off to sleep in the warm water, a clawed hand rises out of it from between her legs. And that's about the tamest scare we get. Ongoing stabbing, burning, slicing and dicing includes a guy slamming a steak knife into his own throat and sawing away at it. A girl levitates, is viciously tossed like a rag doll from wall to ceiling, then raked from stem to stern by invisible blades that rip open her chest, stomach and groin.
Krueger repeatedly impales a teen with his bladed hand—and in the real world we see the boy fall forward in a pool of blood. In the dream world Krueger reports to the unfortunate youth that after death his brain will stay alive for seven minutes. "We've got six more minutes to play," Krueger growls.
A dead girl drenched in her own gore and wrapped in a clear plastic body bag shows up in Nancy's dreams. Dead bodies of teens hang upside down, bleeding out in Krueger's boiler room. Krueger comes up behind Nancy's mom and plunges his blades through the back of her head, punching them out through her eyes.
Desperately trying to end the carnage, Nancy buries a long blade into Krueger's eye. Quentin stabs him in the back and neck. One of Krueger's hands is lopped off. A broken blade from a paper cutter is used to gash open the fiend's throat. In the flashbacks, parents form what amounts to a lynch mob and eventually burn a screaming (human) Krueger to death. We endure a close-up view of his flesh searing and crisping in the midst of a roaring fire.
Nancy purposely burns her arm with a car's cigarette lighter to keep herself awake. A schoolbook shows a picture of a man who has been hanged.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Quentin repeatedly pops prescription meds to keep himself awake. He also steals some adrenaline from the hospital—giving himself a shot in the leg and later plunging a needle full of the drug into Nancy's heart.
It's almost silly to try to offer any sort of profound critique on yet another Nightmare on Elm Street flick. Since Freddy Krueger first scraped together and waggled his metallic claw-fingers back in 1984, there has never been any mystery about what an audience will get from this seemingly never-ending franchise.
Each time he's ingloriously shoved back onto center stage, we see the same grisly charred killer in his murky, ever-burning boiler room. The same tormented, sleep-deprived teens being stabbed, pummeled, slashed and then left to dribble, gush or vomit buckets of gore. The same over-amplified crashes, screams and orchestral shrieks designed to not only make moviegoers jump but leave them suffering from a premature case of tinnitus.
There's no significant political or social subtext to ponder. (Though some critics tried as the years have flown by.) No scintillating dialogue to relish. (The script comes off sounding like something crafted with cigarette burn marks on the back of a cocktail napkin.)
The only real difference this time around is that the pre-charbroiled Freddy has escalated from twisted child killer to lurid pedophile.
So if there's anything deserving serious critique, I guess it would have to be the filmmakers who decided to remake this mess. (Again.) And the millions of souls who sit and watch it. (Again.)