Moviegoers should be petrified. They should purchase their tickets with trepidation. Their bodies should shake uncontrollably with anxiety, as their fingernails leave rips in the faux velvet that lines their movie seat. Nothing says “scary” like poorly written villains killing people no one will care about losing, in a movie viewers will only care about finishing. Producer Michael Bay has brought Freddy back, and the result is horrifying.

After breathing new financial life into fright franchises like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, and Friday the 13th, Bay continues his launch of critical horror failures with the reincarnation of Nightmare on Elm Street. One can expect almost any film with a Bay endorsement to come lacking in character definition and believable storyline. If audiences bought the romance in Pearl Harbor, rooted for the escape from The Island, or cried when Bruce Willis gave his life for planet Earth in Armageddon, perhaps the absurdity in Elm Street’s fear factor won’t make a difference.

Bay’s recipe for success with 2010’s version of Elm Street? Open the movie killing an actor from Twilight (Kellan Lutz), keep the movie current with references to using ADD medicine as speed, and embellish a seedy, pornographic plotline to further define a child murderer as “bad.”

2010’s moviegoers are savvy, and today’s successful slasher film formula requires more than busty bimbos running down empty streets and pounding on a neighbor’s door for help they won’t get. The supposed fear-inducing moments in Elm Street are so contrived and expected, so crudely acted and manipulative – intelligent audiences will feel cheated.

Freddy Kruger (played by Oscar nominated Jackie Earle Haley) is Elm Street’s notorious villain. The original 1984 film explains that Kruger was a child murderer acquitted of his crimes and later killed by a group of parents whose children were victimized. Kruger seeks revenge on these kids and their families, stalking them in their dreams. Nightmares become reality; characters force themselves to stay awake and fail, waking up to bed sheets slashed by Kruger’s knife-clad fingernails. Campy, gory and suspenseful, the original movie kept audiences on the edge of their seats.

The new spin with 2010’s Elm Street? There isn’t one. Teenagers of sub-par intelligence stalked by Kruger in their dreams: check. Emotionally battered heroines backed by their emotionally retarded male suitors: check. Beyond inept characters and inane story, what is so disturbing about Elm Street is its obsession with Kruger’s pedophilia. Elm Streets’ characters spend precious screen time doubting the validity of their parents’ (and their own) accusations against Freddy. But every time the movie gets a heartbeat, director Samuel Bayer (this week’s music video director du jour) interjects moronic flashbacks and bizarre dialogue that ruins the tempo of the film.

It’s never attractive to watch a film attempt to be something it’s not. This is a slasher flick devoid of gore, lacking in body count and tension. It’s a scary movie that bores other dull scary movies. This is a disappointing teen horror flick trying to take its place among more mature, intellectual films in its genre like 2002’s The Ring. This is a film with characters so confusing and melodramatic (some stay awake by drinking coffee – some, by burning themselves with car cigarette lighters and injecting themselves with stolen adrenaline), it is more than difficult to care whether they survive their plight.

Welcome to Michael Bay’s first cinematic lie of 2010 - masquerading as a real film, it is poorly concocted, bloody teen camp at its worst.