WARNING: BEFORE PROCEEDING, KNOW THAT I'M GOING TO BE USING PICTURES OF A PARTICULARLY NASTY DISFIGURED BAD GUY. CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
It was good. Better than the original, too. It might have been scary in its own time, but the old one is kinda ridiculous nowadays.
So why is it good?
Let's compare these two. You know what's the first thing that pops into my mind when I see old freddy? Pizzaface. I don't know why. But that, and his maniacal grin, which was just... too over the top, too b-movie, for me to ever find him scary.
Many people don't like the new one, because it's not as extreme, but I like it. His voice is lower (oh, come on, it's Rorschach. The difference is, now he's got a prosthetic over his lip :p), and his entire behavior is... cooler, calmer. More with the time. That might be it. Maybe it's the fact that, though I was hardly frightened (I had, like, one scare that got to me), my heart was in my throat for most of the movie. That's where this movie shines. Atmosphere. Sound editing is absolutely BRILLIANT. Let me say that again: godlessn... Brilliant (yeah, yeah, no-one got the reference, but I did it anyway. ya-hoo. Google it if you have to :) )
What annoyed me, though, is exactly the same thing that I found so... enticing. The atmosphere had a subtle quality about it (not especially common in horror movies), and a subtle change could indicate a change from real world, to dream world. But that's also it's problem. At any point in the movie, ask yourself: "could this be the dream world?" The answer is often yes. And then, you get the Shattered Memories-Syndrome:
You're not scared, except when you have to be. Shattered memories has this tendency to go into the other world (it's a silent hill game, just to be clear), and, contrary to the rest of the series, it's the only moment in the game when you can be actually attacked by monsters. This makes running around silent hill so much less scary.
Same problem with this movie. Whenever there's no dream (and you can easily identify dreams within the first half of the movie) there's no reason to panic, and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the plot-exposition. If they were to introduce scares in scenes where you DIDN'T expect them, then this movie would be rated a lot higher up. As is, the scares often feel cheap.
The second half of the movie, when the main characters start having micro-naps, is more interesting in that respect, because the scene-where-they're-obviously-awake-and-oh-my-god-freddy's-there-no-he's-not actually occurs there. But, this is hollywood. You can't have an alternative shot without something creepy happening in it now. Either that, or, you guessed it, plot exposition. When there's no plot exposition (during the second half) there's a scare. Every unnecessary shot is a hint towards an upcoming "Freddy"-scare. Plot exposition is kind of unnecessary, too, because we've all seen the first one, or at least know what it's about (just like the friday the 13th and halloween-movies)/
There's exceptions, like the implication that Freddy was innocent. SPOILER WARNING: the freak that cuts people up didn't become a freak at death. He liked poking widdwe children with knives BEFORE his death. That bastard. :D
But it's a good movie. Atmosphere, grisly death scenes, fun death scenes, more death scenes and almost-but-not-quite death scenes are very well executed, and the acting is done well. It doesn't do anything new, but it's more than adept at what it does.
Once again, I'll rate with a picture.
People, and I'm going to pretend to be one of those for the moment, expected the spirit to be crap, and live off the fame that sin city got the whole black-and-white-extereme-film-noir genre, but I ended up really liking it.
So it gets THE SPIRIT AWARD.