A Nightmare On Elm Street
Rating -

Horror (US); 1984; Rated R; 92 Minutes

Cast
John Saxon: Lt. Thompson
Ronee Blakley: Marge Thompson
Heather Langenkamp: Nancy Thompson
Amanda Wyss: Tina Gray
Nick Corri: Rod Lane
Johnny Depp: Glen Lantz
Robert Englund: Fred Krueger

Produced by Robert Shaye and Sara Risher; Directed and Screenwritten by Wes Craven

Review Uploaded
8/16/98

Written by DAVID KEYES

There is a dimension that lies beyond reality. People, every night, go there, where there are endless possibilities and hundreds of things that could happen. They're called dreams, and every living being has them. They take us to a place where things in real life seem impossible; where people can have whatever they want, lose whatever they don't want, and just about anything else.

Dreams are not always on the cheerful side, though. Those we call "nightmares" are dreams that people wish they would never have. Unlike normal dreams, nightmares directly correspond with evil and fearsome places and people.

The possibilities are endless, really. There could be evil objects, dark worlds, and creepy beings in them: there's really no way to tell how many or what will show up in them. But assuredly, one of the most common things in nightmares is someone who is trying to kill you. We can be in an alley, turn around, and here a mocking laughter get louder as a demonic shape comes toward us. These are the real demons of nightmares, and they are by far the most brutal and memorable.

In ever aspect, Wes Craven's masterpiece "A Nightmare On Elm Street" is a reflection of these demons and shapes we have in our nightmares. At the very beginning of the movie, we see a man creating some sort of mechanism for his hand, which, once place on, displays four large razor blades. Split seconds later, we see the figure of young Tina Gray, who seems to be wandering the corridors of an old abandoned boiler room. She sees the figure of this monster, and screams while running down more corridors. When she thinks she has been caught by the figure, she wakes up in her own bed, with her nightgown savagely slashed in four places.

The next day, Tina tells three close friends of hers about this dream, and soon, others confide that they are having the exact dreams. They involve a man in a dirty red and green sweater, with a hat that displays the name Fred Krueger. He also has those viscous "finger knives," which he uses to slice and dice his victims.

The movie then goes into several situations involving Krueger, all until one teenager is left alive, and her parents confide in her that this person she is dreaming about was once a child killer on Elm Street. Families, after learning he was release from prison, found him in an old boiler room, and burned him to death.

That is all I'm going to describe, because this is no ordinary movie. This is a film where we feel we are living inside it: where a man named Krueger is chasing us through allies and corridors with his finger knives and mocking laughter.

The performances sustained in the film are very convincing. Heather Langenkamp (Nancy), the last of the teenagers to survive, acts as the antagonist of Krueger's impulses, therefore making her valuable to people in the audience. She is our protection: our only reason for surviving the experience. Meanwhile, Krueger, played by Robert Englund, tortures his audience with the scraping of his knives across metal, and his diabolical, creepy laughter. We he shows up on screen, you can barely see him: he is shrouded in darkness, suitable for the films feeling of reality.

Do I sound crazy? Does anyone else feel the same way about "A Nightmare On Elm Street" as I do? I hope so. I hope I'm speaking for the majority of Craven's audience. Here is a film that compares to some of the greats of the genre: a film that can be no closer to reality; a film that matches us against our true fears. No, there has never been a movie like it, and there never will be.

If you feel a different way, then you really have no business seeing "A Nightmare On Elm Street."


1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
 
 
           
     
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