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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

A Nightmare on Elm Street

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

What the world needs now, to paraphrase an old song, is a reboot of the 1980s slasher franchise "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (Warner Bros.). Well, no, not really.

Ex-janitor-turned-crazed-killer Freddy Krueger (formerly Robert Englund, now Jackie Earle Haley) and his famously fatal fingers return to prey on the dreams—and, darn it, the real lives—of a new generation of small-town teens, including diner waitress and would-be artist Nancy (Rooney Mara), jittery emo boy Quentin (Kyle Gallner), cheerleader-type Kris (Katie Cassidy) and her brooding boyfriend Dean (Kellan Lutz).

The sexual content of this latest entry in a relentlessly objectionable series of horror outings—dating from Wes Craven's 1984 original—is relatively restrained, though when Kris asks Dean to spend the night with her to allay her fears of encountering Freddy, it's pretty obvious that this is not the first time the pair have shared a bed. And Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer's script also deals indirectly, yet cheaply, with the disturbing subject of child molestation.

But the gore quotient—one character is seen literally swimming in blood—remains excessive, as veteran music video director Samuel Bayer, in his feature debut, relies on the tried and trite recipe of sending interchangeable insomniacs to a gory doom. Thus we not only witness Freddy's victims being battered, impaled and more or less ripped to shreds, but also hung up as perverse trophies in plasma-soaked, see-through body bags.

In short, it's more than high time for this dehumanizing saga to bid us all—in the words of another classic number—"so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye."

The film contains intense bloody violence; gruesome imagery; a pedophilia theme; an implied nonmarital relationship; a couple uses of profanity; at least a dozen instances of the F-word; and some crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Martha: Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death. 
<p>No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner. </p><p>Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an “unrecollected activist.” The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: “...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); “One does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4b); “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a). </p><p>Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).</p> American Catholic Blog One of the difficulties we may have when our lives become unmanageable is that we find dealing with other people to be difficult and we may even struggle to maintain a relationship with God. Caring people especially can find themselves carrying unnecessary crosses as they become lost in the maze of trying to meet everyone’s crazy expectations—including their own!

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