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DIRECTOR: Wes Craven RELEASE DATE: July 31, 2012 RATING (US): R
CAST: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund et al
// review by Meow

1, 2, Robert's coming for you.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a series of horror films from the golden age of horror: the 80s. This first one is what set the stage for numerous sequels, and shows that the right talent can make the most of a small budget.

The film opens with a bladed glove being made by an off-screen character while a blond teenage girl wanders around this maze of pipes and vents, eventually being chased by this character wearing the bladed glove. Eventually the girl runs into a dead end, and turns to find nothing. And then the man with the glove appears from behind her, scaring her into waking up from this nightmare... but with a clawed tear into her nightgown. The movie goes on to the following day when this girl and her friends are walking to school and find out that they're all having reoccurring nightmares involving this creepy man with a bladed glove, and to comfort the girl, they decide to have a sleepover together that night.

Antics ensue, and the girl and her cool-guy boyfriend decide to do what any teen in an 80s movie does and do the hanky-panky. And like any 80s film worth its salt, that means at least one of them has to die for their sins. The kids drift off, and then the girl hears stones tapping at her window. When one of the stones embeds itself in the window, she goes to investigate. Eventually, she checks the back alley behind her house and is met with the villain, Freddy Krueger.

Hug me!

The girl attempts to escape Fred, but he uses the dreamworld to his advantage to do all sorts of wacky things before he eventually pins her down. The movie cuts back to the bedroom where the cool-guy sees his girl having night terrors, and he tries to help, then she suddenly levitates as slash marks start appearing all over her body and she gets thrown around in a spectacular fashion before eventually being skinned and, thus, killed. That's right, they pulled a fast one on us; the girl we've been following so far is NOT the protagonist. Instead, it's the friend of this girl who we follow around in her adventures around town as the cool guy is blamed for the murder (until he himself is picked off) and this new girl tries to find a way to reveal this fiend to the public.

We eventually find out that the parents of the now-teens around the town actually ganged up and murdered Freddy Krueger, who was a known child murderer that got away with his crimes scot-free thanks to a poorly signed search warrant. So basically, his ghost is haunting the nightmares of the kids of these parents so that he can continue his sick pleasure in offing them. More deaths occur, and eventually our heroine manages to pull Freddy out of the dreamworld and attempts to stop him, but fails and loses her mom in the process. In the end, she realizes that her fear is what is fueling Freddy, evidently, and decides to calmly turn her back on Freddy, claiming to take back all the energy she's given him. He fades away into blue sparkles and then she steps out into the morning light with her friends all alive, and her mother too. She and her friends decide to take a ride in their convertible as mom waves them goodbye as there's spooky mist around. The convertible's hood pops open with the color scheme of Freddy's shirt, and the doors lock and the car speeds down the street erratically, Freddy's hand launches from doorway of the house and pulls mom in, and then we get a finish with some kids chanting a creepy rhyme. Yeah, I don't get it, but movies liked to have twist-endings back in the day.

The special effects of the film were top-notch, being fun to look at, but we only really get these cool things at the start with the first girl's dream, and at the very end of the film with the final confrontation. A bit of a downer, but a good start for a series. Robert Englund did a fantastic performance as Freddy Krueger, displaying menacing manic energy and almost comedic movement through the film in his exploits. If you are a fan of the classics of horror, you aught to give A Nightmare on Elm Street a try. And if you really liked it, there's about seven or more sequels for you to try, as well as a crossover movie by the name of Freddy vs. Jason.


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