Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

logoDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Wes Craven (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, Lin Shaye, Jsu Garcia, Ronee Blakely

 

Plot: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Defining Slasher Film

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street starts Tina (Wyss) running through a school and basement, but what she is running from even I don’t think she knows, until Freddy Krueger (Englund) the knife glove welding man appears to wake her from this apparent nightmare. Tina has three friends Nancy (Langenkamp), Rod (Garcia) and Glen (Depp) who agree to stay with her in case she has another nightmare only to discover they all had the same dream about the same man.

It is at this point Nightmare on Elm Street takes a turn for us when we see Tina the woman we thought would be the main character due to the opening scene slip into another nightmare being called for by Freddy. Freddy butchers Tina in here sleep leaving her boyfriend Rod on the run and number one suspect. It becomes clear that Nancy is going to be our leading lady and with her Sheriff father (Saxon) who decides to try and keep her safe by having his men follow her.

Nancy continues to get haunted in her nightmares by the disfigured Freddy Krueger as she discovers the rest of her friends continue to be haunted too. When another one of her friends get killed Nancy starts to learn that her parents may in fact know who the mystery man haunting her dreams really is and sets out to discover the truth about Freddy Krueger.

A Nightmare on Elm Street will always go down as a classic but I do feel people will always remember this one for all the wrong reasons. Now hear me out here, people have always seem Freddy as a wise cracking killer which doesn’t happen until the later films and in fact this film he is serious serial killer. I did like another which I did mention in the description but that was the idea of introducing us to a leading lady only to kill them off early which Craven would do again more famously in Scream. I do think this will always get put into the discussion with horror fans in the same league as Halloween and Friday the 13th but as a solo film it would be hard to take out of the serious leagues of horror, before being taken as a lighter horror because of the wise cracking Freddy. The core elements of the story work very well because what would be scarier than being haunted in your dreams where you are meant to be in the safest place? (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Englund: Freddy Krueger is the mystery man haunting the children of Elm Streets dreams, he wears knife gloves and has a tendency to stalk his victims before taunting them, but who is he? We do learn the truth about who Freddy is but the truth brings his motives to life. Robert has less than ten minutes screen time but he still manages to create a horror icon we still consider one of the best today. (8/10)

 freddy

Heather Langenkamp: Nancy Thompson becomes the leading lady as the high school student being haunted by Freddy Krueger, she is the Sheriff daughter and it is her friends that become the victims. Nancy tries to learn how to stop Freddy before he ends up taking her life. Heather does give a good performance has the heroine here making her one of the genuine scream queens of the 80’s. (8/10)

nancy

Johnny Depp: Glen Lantz is Nancy’s boyfriend who never seems to believe in the Freddy Krueger character as he seems to be the only one who doesn’t admit having a dream about him. He constantly lets Nancy down while she tries to find out the truth. Johnny first acting role showed that even in a supporting role he had something special about him and to be part of one of the most iconic death scenes in film history isn’t a bad way to start your career. (7/10)

 glen

John Saxon: LT Donald Thompson is trying to figure out who killed Tina but he is only looking into the world of reality even when his own daughter’s life could be at risk. John does give us a typical detective trying to protect his daughter performance but he doesn’t get enough screen time for what he is trying to cover up. (6/10)

 

Ronee Blakely: Marge Thompson is Nancy’s mother who is hiding the secret about who Freddy really is but we have to wait until she spills the beans once and for all about who and why he is after her daughter. Ronee does a solid job as the overprotective mother with a drinking problem. (6/10)

 

Amanda Wyss: Tina is the girl stalked through the opening sequence before going down in history as Freddy’s first on screen victim with one of the most memorable death scenes in Elm Street history. Amanda does give a good performance even if she is only around for the opening quarter of the film. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street has a small supporting cast that includes another victim but mostly the neighbourhood getting on with their lives while covering up the secret.

 

Director Review: Wes Craven – Wes has to go down as one of the greatest horror directors of all time and this is just one of his franchises he started with the icon of Freddy Krueger. (9/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street creates a serial killer that haunts dreams making him nearly impossible to escape when he becomes powerful enough. (10/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the settings feeling like an everyday street making the horror seem like it could happen to anyone. (8/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street has great specials that have hardly aged at all. (9/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street is one that has to be watched no matter whether you like horror of not. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Opening Kill not holing surprises us.

Worst Part: Last scene.

Kill Of The Film: Tina

Scariest Scene: School scene.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Start of a franchise.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26.5 Million

Budget: $1.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline:  A scream that wakes you up, might be your own.

Trivia: New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by the success of the film, and was jokingly nicknamed “the house that Freddy built”.

 

Overall: A true classic in the horror genre that will always be popular with the horror fans.

Rating 90

3 comments

  1. Sequels be damned, the original is where it’s at. You’re right, Freddy isn’t a real joker until Part 2 as a party crasher (?) Wes Craven absolutely nailed the 1st one. A perfect example of a horror movie, if not the pinnacle.

    • This is why i think the remake got hated so much, if it was just a remake of this one film people wouldn’t have moaned about the serious side because of what happens to the Freddy character

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