Tuesday, October 30, 2012

THE GIRL WHO MADE ME WANT TO SET MY EYES ON FIRE

Rooney Mara, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET


In light of Mara's recent success, I feel almost cruel in posting this, but her work in the awful 2010 remake really had my capillaries flowing. I really don't know how to describe it. I'd like to say you'll have to see it for yourself, but that would  involve taking two hours out of your life to actually watch it.

Broadly speaking, Mara takes on the role of the heroine played by Heather Langenkamp in Wes Craven's 1984 original. Unlike Langenkamp, who played a vague approximation of a normal teenager, Mara is stuck playing some kind of damaged emo chick with a mysterious past. The most frightening part of uncovering her character's past is the chilling number of times the script ticks off various cliches: emo hair, emo music, crappy job, creepy emo male friends, pretentious emo sketching. 

And then, on top of this Necronomicon of bad signs is the performance itself. Or more specifically, the voice. The only way I can describe it is if Lee Marvin's monotone had met Sylvestor Stallone's patented mumblemumble, and had a casual booze-soaked fling that resulted in this sad troglodyte creation. It's horrible, it's nigh-on unintelligable and it is frickin' hilarious.

It felt almost like Mara did an impression of Kristen Stewart in TWILIGHT for the gag reel, and the director didn't tell her to stop. When I wasn't laughing my head off, her mumbling  had me reaching for the rewind just to figure out what the hell she was saying. I gave up because the movie was so crap I could not bear to watch it again.

While even the hounds of hell cannot convince me to re-watch the movie again, her performance was so flaccid it dips over from merely stiff to some kind of weirdly memorable anti-performance that I can't help but want to re-visit. Thankfully I've been able to resist the urge... so far. 

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