Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984) Review

Continuing on with the nightmares (first there was a nightmare before Christmas, now there's a nightmare on Elm Street!) is our first proper HORROR film with blood and all the good stuff. Now I am aware that this film did spawn a big franchise consisting of many films but we're just dealing with the first one for now. I may review them at a later date but I've got to watch them first. Let's just take a look at A Nightmare on Elm Street.

On Elm Street, a group of teenagers are being tormented in their dreams by a clawed assailant known as Fred Krueger (Robert Englund). When Krueger kills one of them in their dream, they die in real life meaning that one teen, Nancy Thompson  (Heather Langenkamp), is left to battle Kruger in the dreamworld and bring him to the real world. There is also a mystery surrounding Krueger's origins and what Nancy's mother (Ronee Blakley) knows about him. 

I couldn't really continue without pointing out that, yes, this is Johnny Depp's first ever acting role. With that out of the way, one thing that I love about this film, and considering that it's a horror film it definitely benefits from this, is that I had absolutely no idea what direction this film was going. There are a lot of fake outs and hope spots that work in the films favour but, that being said, maybe it relies a bit too heavily on that. There isn't as much suspense as their could be and I feel that showing Freddy more would've worked. I know the best horror films keep the monster off screen or a majority of the film like Alien or Jaws but that's because their silent killers. Freddy relies on black comedy which isn't shown off as often as it could be.

While on the topic of Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund basically IS Freddy. 'Nuff said. I also enjoyed Heather Lagenkamp's performance as she managed to convey Nancy's character arc and development that came with surprisingly complex story. Even more so, the ending is............interesting. It is definitely up to interpretation and it's interesting to learn that the director himself hated it...and I can see why. It definitely kills the mood and left me with an awkward feeling.

All in all, A Nightmare on Elm Street does it's job of making a good horror film. While I feel that Freddy should've been explored more and that he needed more attention, the acting is good for the most part and the effects are effective (I guess that's why their called effects...) and I had no idea where the film was going. That's always a plus with horror films. I guess the biggest flaw is that it is very very 80s...VERY 80s....

It has many flaws however it makes up for these flaws with good acting and genuinely good horror.

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