Classic Review – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Title – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Director – Wes Craven (Scream)

Cast – Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakley, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia

Plot – Returning from the grave and haunting the dreams of a group of high-schoolers, child murderer Freddy Kruger (Englund) creates an horrific world where sleep means potential death.

“I’m your boyfriend now Nancy”

Review by Eddie on 02/07/2020

While age has wearied the scares found within, there’s no doubt that A Nightmare on Elm Street is an indisputable horror classic, a creative and unnerving world created by legendary genre filmmaker Wes Craven.

Causing much fan-fare and becoming a box office sensation off a meager budget upon release in 1984, Street holds up incredibly well thanks to Craven’s imaginative direction and world building, that takes us on a bizarre journey into the universe of deranged child-killer turned deformed dream stalking murderer Freddy Kruger.

Played by cult figure Robert Englund, Kruger almost instantaneously becomes an icon of horror figures as we are introduced to him as the film opens, Charles Bernstein’s moody score accompanying him on his way as he haunts the dreams of Amanda Wyss’s unfortunate teenager Tina.

It’s an unforgettable entrance, Kruger’s now often imitated razor claws burning their way into the viewers memory and Craven never lets up the tension and suspense as Tina and her friends, including Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy (who becomes the film central focus) and Johnny Depp’s dimwitted and very sleepy Glen Lantz, find out that sleep is not the answer as they become more aware of the fact Mr. Kruger is targeting them when they are at their most vulnerable.

It’s a fantastic set-up, everyone can relate to the feeling of being at their most open to terrors when they lay peacefully in their bed (I’m sure many viewers at the time thought twice about their cosy beds) and Craven perfectly plays this out as the victims of Kruger’s campaign of terrors face off against rotting flesh, terrifying chases through abandoned factories or quiet side alleys or even in now mainstream imagery, pulled into their beds to a world far below or hunted in the confines of their own bubble bath.

There’s much kudos that needs to be paid to Craven and his team, particularly those responsible for the ghastly burnt visage of Kruger’s raw and tortured appearance, its incredible how off-putting and vile a single look from the creature can be, as they managed to against all the odds develop what could’ve been nothing more than a college like production into something that spawned countless rip-offs and follow-ups that never quite managed to make the most of the creation handed to them.

Throughout the fast-moving reign of terror and battle against evil at its most uncompromising is a collection of committed and well-tuned performances that became a staple of Craven ensembles throughout his career.

All giving it their all, the cast of up-starts all dive headfirst into the material provided to them and sell the horror’s of their plights as a group of school students in well over their heads try their best to find a way to stop Kruger from enacting out any more bloody acts of revenge, rounding out a solid package that is deserving of its reputation.

Final Say – 

There are elements to A Nightmare on Elm Street that haven’t aged as kindly as others but Craven’s crowning achievement remains a deserving horror icon, anchored by its masterful and detestable evil incarnate.

4 tongue phones out of 5 

4 responses to “Classic Review – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  1. Ah yes! I love this movie. Yeah, there are aspects that didn’t age too well, but still a lot to enjoy here. I’ve been itching to revisit these again (in all their mixed glory), might just get to it! Great review!

    • It’s a great time to go back and check out classics like this! I can’t believe it took me this long to watch it!

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