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New on DVD: 'A Nightmare on Elm Street,' 'The Karate Kid and 'Splice'

Posted 10:47am on Wednesday, Oct. 06, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Directed by Samuel Bayer, a music-video specialist making his feature debut, this new nightmare takes us through the paces of a very familiar retread. Once again, a beautiful teenager named Nancy (Rooney Mara) is plagued by terrifying nightmares, in which a gruesome figure with a scarred face and metallic razors in place of fingers stalks her. But Bayer, with his cheesy jump cuts and buckets of gushing blood, never establishes what he's trying to do with this remake. And as played by Jackie Earle Haley, über-villain Freddy Krueger displays not a hint of sinister charm.

The Karate Kid remake adheres closely to the original script, down to a sweep-the-leg moment in the finale. But star Jaden Smith, in the Ralph Macchio part, looks too young: Neither the fighting nor the romance with a girl who's out of his league -- two key components of The Karate Kid -- makes sense. With Jackie Chan, nicely filling the shoes of Pat Morita.

Splice, an engrossing techno thriller, follows two rebellious young biochemical engineers (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) trying to hybridize the DNA of various animals to come up with never-before-seen creatures who will be a fountain of new proteins. Instead of just being a retread of the Alien, monster-on-the-loose scenario, the story offers something more complicated.

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