Monday, September 9, 2013

Film Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare On Elm Street (Review)
United States/1984
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a horror masterpiece"

High school student Tina has a nightmare in which she is stalked by a burned man with a bladed glove. Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her boyfriend eventually discuss the nightmare as they spend the night with Tina - and Nancy reveals she's had a similar nightmare. The teens find that they are being stalked in their dreams by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) - and these nightmares have bloody, real world consequences...

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a very creative and effective horror film. The concept of reality vs. dreams is discussed often and used effectively to create a very eerie vibe; is this scene in reality or in a dream? This kept me guessing and resulted in some surprising scenes - some featured great jump-scares and others featured tons and tons of blood; on that note, the horror consists of the eerie concept, some suspense, effective jump-scares, unbelievable amounts of blood, and surreal visuals - everything nightmares are made of. The story follows a consistent path, every scene connecting perfectly to create a very effective and immersive experience. So, every scene is relevant to the plot - whether they are based in reality or imagination - this is good because it is able to stay focused, despite focusing on two dimensions. The ending of the film is a bit predictable, but fun -- the type of fun where you say, "that was cool."

The acting is about what you'd expect from an 80's horror film. The delivery can be robotic at times, but it works well with the film. Heather Langenkamp plays the lead and she does well; she plays a normal high school student at the start, and transforms into a paranoid, anxious, and sleepless (and quickly aging) teenager. Robert Englund plays Freddy Krueger with an eerie sense of charisma; he plays the character sinisterly, but never taking it too seriously. The rest of the cast, including Johnny Depp, are great and keep the film alive.

The special effects and makeup are great. Freddy Krueger has a disturbing, memorable design - a true horror icon. The film uses its great editing and shooting to compliment the effects. So, a scene like the tongue phone or the bloody bed come as genuinely unexpected. The special effects really standout, and fans of on-screen effects will be pleased as computer effects are limited. Wes Craven writes and directs this film with exceptional skill.

Overall, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror masterpiece. It's entertaining from beginning to end, and flawlessly executes its amazingly unique concept. Don't miss this classic film, even if you're not a fan of the genre.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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