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45 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

Dated and very genre but still an effective low budget horror

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
19 July 2004

When a group of friends all have similar dreams with a weird man in a dirty red and black jumper they just think it's a bit weird. However when one of them is brutally murdered by an unseen force while she sleeps, her boyfriend Rod is arrested for the murder. Meanwhile, Nancy falls asleep in class, only to find herself chased through her dream by the same disfigured man. When it becomes apparent that this is more than a dream, more of Tina's friends start to die

With seven or eight (who can keep track?) sequels under its belt, Freddy merchandising and the fact that the 'monster' has become almost a hero, it is hard to look back at this film with fresh eyes. This film is not the gory spectacle that teenagers with video recorders in their bedroom will have come familiar with over several flashy sequels; rather this is a low budget horror movie that is quite gory, quite scary and pretty effective. The plot is interesting enough and is better than the 'gore for gore's sake' that the sequels fell into – it's still not the most intelligent thing you'll ever see but it is still interesting enough. Of course it is about 20 years old now and it looks dated, an effect not helped by the way recent horrors have made fun of the things in here that have become genre cliché over the years. The downside of watching it now is that you expect it to be as 'big', 'gory' etc as the 7 or 8 sequels have progressively become – but it isn't, it's a lot more straightforward a horror than that.

Despite this though it is still a good horror movie – low budget but yet with effective effects and a monster that has grown larger than the series itself. The cast all fit into the requirements of low budget horror, that is to say they can't really act and just scream lots. Langenkamp is a good example and, accordingly, she has done little since this film of any high caliber. Wyss, Garcia and even Depp are all pretty wooden and just fit in with the genre. Saxon puts in a better performance but even then it is only comparable. Englund is actually in the film a lot less than you would expect and, as a result, makes more of an impact. He would later take his Freddy to the level of cartoon character or celebrity (as shown in the New Nightmare) but here he gets his horror character just right – a monster.

Overall this is a good low budget horror but it is one that is difficult to view now without looking back and seeing it as the start of a long horror series that producing a character that has even moved beyond the constraints of his own film. The best way to enjoy this is on its own terms – it is not a massive horror series, it is a single low budget horror movie from the mid-eighties; as such it suffers from the usual genre flaws from the period but it also delivers the goods in terms of scares and gore. It may not be as gory or as knowing as some of the later sequels but it does what it originally intended to do – scare and thrill.

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A Frightening Start

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
6 November 2006

Well, this was the beginning of "Freddy Kreuger," who certainly became famous in the horror movie genre. Of those horror films that spawned numerous sequels (this one, Halloween, etc.) this was the best of the "opening" shows. It definitely is frightening.

It has the usual crude teenagers, some gratuitous sex and wild Krueger scenes and is probably best-noted for showing Johnny Depp's film debut. Boy, does he look young! He looks about 16 years old, as does Heather Langenkamp, who went on to play in several more of these Nightmare stories. This was the only movie in which she was foul-mouthed. Nice to see Rony Blackley, too.

Wes Craven certainly started this series off with a bang.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

One of the best horror films ever.

Author: JB-48 from Michigan
10 December 1998

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a terrific, truly original horror movie.

I consider myself a fan of all the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films, but this movie is, along with part 3, the finest the series has to offer.

There is much to recommend about this movie.

First of all, this movie treated the killer (Freddy Krueger) with respect. As the series wore on, each successive film played him more and more for laughs. But, in this movie, he's a force to be reckoned with.

Besides that, the concept is truly unique - a sociopathic child killer who can enter into your dreams. If he kills you in your dreams, you're dead for real.

The movie is shot in a very eerie, dark style which adds to the suspense. The performances are all enjoyable.

Overall, I highly recommend this movie if you like horror films at all.

I rate this a 10 out of 10.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Do not Sleep on Em Street

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
29 March 2009

On Elm Street, the teenager Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) has a creepy nightmare with a burned man wearing a glove with blades called Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). She invites her friends Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), who had also a nightmare with Freddy Krueger, and Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) to spend the next night with her, but her boy-friend Rod Lane (Nick Corri) appears in the house and they spend the night together. In the middle of the night, Rod awakes and sees Tina having a nightmare and being sliced. He is accused of murder and arrested by Nancy's father Lt. Thompson (John Saxon), despite the protests of his daughter. When Rod and Glen are mysteriously murdered, Nancy realizes that the only way to defeat the evil Freddy Krueger is bringing him to the real world.

The classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is one of the best horror movies of the 80's and Freddy Krueger is my favorite villain. The story is original, very well written and directed by Wes Craven and is the debut of Johnny Depp in the cinema. As far as I know, the open conclusion was forced by the producers to give a sequel to the saga of Freddy Krueger. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Hora do Pesadelo" ("The Hour of the Nightmare")

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tina! Mother! Krueger! Scream!

Author: thesar-2 from United States
2 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I knew someone who didn't much care for horror movies, but he kept screeching "TINA!" around me and his partner attempting to either A: scare us, B: simply make fun of the dialogue or both, in A Nightmare on Elm Street. I can say that, nor the movie itself, scared me. In fact, none of the series (so far) 8 installments, including Freddy Vs. Jason, scared me. And that's okay; it wasn't the scare factor that impressed me or kept me wanting more. It was the humor and inventiveness.

Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser and A Nightmare on Elm Street series, or in other words, cheesy 1980s horror/psycho killer films. (Yeah, I know some of them started in the 1970s, but it was the 1980s that made them famous.) The one series that topped all others, even to today, was the Freddy Krueger films.

Generally speaking, the first in any series is usually the best one. I.E. Halloween, Hellraiser and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, it wasn't the best and by no means is it a perfect film. But, it set the stage. It took it's predecessors to a new level. Namely in creativity. Which is one of the reasons why I liked this series the best. Well, that and Freddy is the best of all the serial killers in the aforementioned horror franchises.

Nancy (Langenkamp) and her high school pals are having bad dreams, and slowly they discover that they're all experiencing the same horrific nightmares about a man in a "weird hat, red and green sweater and knifes for fingers." What they don't realize is that even though the dreams are really, really bad, they soon become deadly when Tina (Wyss) is murdered supposedly by her boyfriend during the night.

Boyfriend Rod (Corri) is framed and in jail, but the killing continues! The kids, namely future series heroine, Nancy, attempt to put the mystery together while trying to stay awake and find out who this man of their nightmares is.

No spoiler here, but it's Willie from the original V series! Okay, it's just Freddy Krueger, known here as Fred. (At least they didn't call him Frederick.) Nancy must rely solely on herself and her instincts to solve the mystery surrounding Fred, why he's in her dreams and stop him. And seeing the people around her, her blatantly drunk mother, her "dumb jock" disbelieving boyfriend and her angry and overprotective cop dad are all of no use. (Heck, all of the cops should be fired – I loved the hesitant one in the closing when Nancy's going berserk. Hilarious.)

I guess why I rated A Nightmare on Elm Street only 8 stars is because of the laughable dialogue, the inconsistencies and irregularities. For example, some things can come out of the dream when captured, such as the hat and (spoiler – someone else) but then the trellis she doesn't even hold onto comes back with her. A feather from her pillow is seen floating but the mirror Fred crashes through survives. Nancy requests 20 minutes to capture the killer and still has time to set half a dozen traps, have a nice mother-daughter talk and fall into deep sleep. And Fred is only supposed to appear when one's asleep; yet, Nancy receives a call from him and the ending blows any of the story's mythos out the window. Literally.

I'm not just talking about goofs, as all movies have them, but they set up a premise, a good and original one in a series of horror movies that relied on a masked killer stalking in the shadows. At least they tried here to change the trend. But, unfortunately, they kept breaking their own rules. It actually would've made more sense to have him as a ghost and then all bets are off. (Granted, he's sort of a ghost, but with rules.) As for the dialogue, though some of its iconic by now, it really doesn't hold up. A few years back, I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street in the theater for a one-night presentation. Being a huge fan, I arrived way early to get good seats, but still thought hardly anyone would show up. Well, it completely sold out. And to my surprise, everyone practically laughed all the way though it and it appeared both at and with the movie. I had to, myself. Even though I grew up on the series and loved them, the movie really was silly, namely for some of the lines, acting and characters – Oh, that drunk mother! Alcohol should be part of any nutritious breakfast! I don't think the audience was really criticizing the movie, they were just having fun.

Aside from negatives, I am still awarding the movie 8/10 due to the movie being enormously inventive, original, fun and despite Fred(dy) not being in it too much, he was extremely iconic, an instant super-villain. Also, I'm glad it started a cult following since a lot of the sequels explored a lot more and were, in a lot of ways, far superior to this original one. So, it did set the stage, introduced a whole new world and just as Jaws did for swimmers, this one did for sleepers. Only, with Jaws, you could choose to stay out of the water. Here, and in real life, you eventually have to sleep. Maybe for the last time.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The classic original is the best in the series.

Author: CalDexter from scotland
26 July 2008

I love A Nightmare On Elm Street. Every time i watch this i think it has a terrific energy and strength running through it. I like the way the film starts with Freddy Kruegar making his Finger Knife Glove in his basement cellar, then the music kicks in (what a creepy score) as the first teenager is frantically running around his maze-like Boiler Room in her dream state. Freddy is only hinted at in the shadows or ripping through cloth with his glove and i love the way you can hear animals and creepy noises emitting from all around Tina, as she becomes cornered before Freddy comes out of the shadows. A great opening.

Tina Grey is played by Amanda Wyss, who is really good in her role for the short time she is in this film. I always remember her character in this film the way i remember the Chrissie Watkins character at the start of Jaws, i think you know what i'm coming too. Tina's encounter with Freddy in her backyard is my favourite moment in this film, and it is one of the most horrifying deaths I've ever seen. Its frightening to see and if you are faint hearted at splashing blood then look away because it is a screamer.

Heather Langenkamp is excellent in this film. Shes very attractive,and gives 100% as Tina's friend Nancy Thompson who starts to have the same nightmares. My favourite moments with Nancy are mostly her scary encounters with Freddy scored to an energetic music beat by Charles Bernstein. I would say part of the movie's success is down to his creepy score. I also love the bathroom scene when Nancy falls asleep, absolutely gross and hilarious at the same time. The thing is, these 'funny' moments are actual imagines of how Freddy wants to prey on his victims before killing them, this is done in this first film with a measured discipline, then you watch The Dream Master and Freddy is basically killing kids while being 100% comic about it as well.

One of my favourite other scenes in this film is when Nancy is following Tina's corpse down her School halls (having falling asleep)and runs into a prefect women who states 'Wheres your pass?' Nancy doesn't respond in kind, and as she goes running down the hall, the girl reveals herself to be Freddy 'No running in the hallway' an eerie moment that is funny too.

Finally, special mention must go to Robert Englund as Freddy Kruegar. This actor's contribution to the character is 100% superb. I think that Freddy Kruegar IS Robert Englund and vice versa, even though a lot of his moments in this film are about injecting a scary visual presence, he also creates a mystic before the film's revelation: Who is he? Where does he come from? Why is he doing these things? After the third film of the series, Englund would become a Hollywood star and a horror icon. Rightfully so.

A Nightmare On Elm Street is a classic horror thriller and, along with Halloween, is one of the best horror movies ever made.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"One, Two, Freddy's Coming For You..."

Author: Chris Gottschalk from United States
6 June 2008

Of the time, there where three slashers that where popular with pop culture and still are today: Micheal Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Fred Kruger. A Nightmare On Elm Street is about the clever, scary Freddy. Not only is Freddy more clever than Jason Voorhees as a killer, but A Nightmare On Elm Street is done a whole lot smarter that any Friday the 13th film. However, A Nightmare On Elm Street was lacking the true suspense that Halloween gave. Nightmare DOES have quite a few good jump scenes. It is also very atmospheric, and never really stops being scary due to atmosphere. There are a few gore scenes, but none are gross. The gore content is high, though. Higher than Friday the 13th and MUCH higher than Halloween.

A Nightmare On Elm Street is about a group of kids who are starting to have nightmares. These are however, not normal nightmares. All these dreams are about is this strange, burnt man who chases after this group of teens. These nightmares seem to be too real to be mere dreams, but that's all they could be... right?

A Nightmare On Elm Street stars Robert England, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, and for the first time ever, we see Johny Depp on screen. Each actor did a good job with their performance, but I felt that there was something missing with the character chemistry. This may be due to acting problems or due to a poor script/storyline. However, the viewer wouldn't be worried about the actors performances. The viewer would more likely be terrified, so the chemistry doesn't take away from the movie for first time viewing. However, re-watching can be a bummer.

Now here we come with the other cons: Wes Craven's directing. I'm going to be honest with you guys. I have never been a fan of any of Wes Craven's films (especially Scream.) He did an above average job on A Nightmare On Elm Street, but it's still nothing phenomenal. But then again, first time viewers wouldn't care about the directing. All they would care about is the constant scares.

Another thing that disappoints me about this movie is the inability it has to impress people the 3rd or 4th time they view it. I have viewed A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 times now, and each time it louses some of its mystique. I have not watched it for several months now, and I do not intend on watching again for at least one more month. I want to forget about pieces of the movie, so I can be scared by it again. A Nightmare On Elm Street is a truly frightening movie, but once the viewer has all of the scares figured out... what's left?

One more thing I would like to mention is about how terrible the sequels are. The sequels are all either silly or poorly done. Those are however, different reviews.

So overall, I recommend giving a Nightmare On Elm Street a rent. It's a good movie, especially for a first time viewing. However, re-watching can be a true bummer.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This film is like my "Favourite Worst Nightmare"

Author: RainDogJr from Mexico City
25 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The friends Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) have a similar nightmare about a mysterious man who has "finger Knives". When Tina is mysteriously murdered, her boyfriend Rod (Nick Corri) is accused but there aren't concrete proves and Nancy begins to relate all to that man of her nightmares. Soon she will discover the truth about that man and will be in danger during her nightmares.

Here's a terrific horror classic that introduces one of the greatest and most famous villains, not only in the horror genre but also in the entire Cinema history. Fred Krueger is his name and he is back to end with those who were saved. The plot is really good with suspense every minute and a terrific atmosphere. I love how this film use the sensation of a nightmare that we feel like it was real, a sensation that all of us have experience sometime, to create a great horror atmosphere. In this case is really terrifying for Nancy to awake with proves that her nightmares are real. But she is a very brave girl; I love how she, after realizing that nobody is going to help her, becomes an expert to can elaborate a really brilliant plan. In the end we have the beginning of an endless story that, until now, has about seven films and counting.

Cast: all the young actors did a good job. Is funny to see Johnny Depp in his first film as Nancy's boyfriend. Robert Englund is the memorable Fred Krueger, definitely a terrific villain even with funny scenes. Remember the "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy".

Conclusion: It's a fact, right now we make fun of it, that my cousin doesn't want to sleep after watching this film when he was about 7 years old. Nowadays this film is not so impressive for young audiences because it doesn't have any gore but this is a perfect horror film that creates a terrific atmosphere full of suspense because of a magnificent villain that becomes more interesting and at the same time more terrifying when his past is reveal. Definitely "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a film that you should watch at midnight to see if you can sleep after. I could so I think you will too.

PS: I also recommend the parody/tribute of the Simpsons with Willie as Krueger; appears in the "Treehouse of Horror VI".

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Whacky, Creepy, Entertaining and Amusing; A Highlight In Definitive Horror Cinema

Author: Det_McNulty from London
10 March 2007

Looking back at the world of film in the '80s you will notice that overall it was a fairly disastrous and disappointing time for cinema. It was a time where focus was spent on money, fame and fortune, rather than talent and a decade that introduced the rise of the sequel. It was also a very popular decade for horror films, particularly slasher films and yet there are very few exceptional horror achievements from the '80s. I've never been too fond of horror as a genre. I find it a clichéd and unproductive genre; although it is a genre that has so much going for it and when done accurately you might be lucky enough to have the pleasure a skin-crawling masterpiece. You see, horror needs imagination and originality to work; it has to blend genre elements together to craft something genuinely unique. Horror is a genre that has so much to offer. Alas, it is a sad fact when you acknowledge just how little is accomplished due to focus on spawning money-laundering, gore-filled sequels. Yet, there is something so appealing about Wes Craven's triumphant '80s classic…

A Nightmare on Elm Street is crafted around the now infamous "bogeyman" story, which has become somewhat globalising by marketing sequels and Halloween costumes. The film follows the story of a group of suburban American teens who are being stalked in their dreams by a murdered, superficial serial-killer named Freddy Krueger. So the teens decide to fight against the creature inside their dreams. The film is centred on a heroine (a popular Wes Craven trend, e.g. Scream) and oddly reminisces specific elements of John Carpenter's masterpiece Halloween.

A Nightmare on Elm Street undoubtedly has its flaws, although these are flaws that are disguised by some of the truly brilliant factors that the film holds. Yes, it has become somewhat dated, yes, the young actors/actresses hold nothing special performance wise, yes, the film is at times cheesy and yes the script is extremely bland. But when you have the brilliance of a film where the editing manages to create a parallel universe, thereby the dimension of reality and dream-state are fused together (the viewer notes the film's dimension through subtleties in the direction) creating a horribly surreal and literal nightmare. A Nightmare on Elm Street is extremely intelligent in the way it wants to attack your sub-conscious. This is another method at creating a lasting fear for viewers unnerved by the actual viewing of the film and rather will be thinking about it when they are ready to fall asleep. Fact is, everyone can relate to A Nightmare on Elm Street due to the fact that everybody has had nightmares and this is the reason for it being considered (for some) a terrifying film.

Filmed on a low-budget and using a mixture of dizzying camera techniques A Nightmare on Elm Street does not stop at being unique. The use of a few set-pieces and masterful props are perfect at creating the atmosphere for a horror film. There is a strong use of poignant lighting and shadow techniques scattered throughout the film. These take wonderful focus on the grotesque make-up for the iconic villain Freddy Krueger. Wes Craven uses sly editing processes and music to delve inside the film's story. The narrative has been paced at a steady speed, never feeling rushed and unnecessary meaning that you are inside the tension throughout the entire running-time. There is an amusing touch of dark comedy littered throughout the film, primarily gained from Krueger's insane antics. It really is a shame that Hollywood is obsessed with making unnecessary sequels to solid films which get away with unexpected climaxes and open endings. The American film industry seems to be obsessed by the idea of having everything wrapped up in a tight package for today's audiences.

If you want a highly entertaining, influential, iconic and productive horror film then look no further than A Nightmare on Elm Street. It remains fantasy horror at the top of its game and a respectful ode to '80s cinema.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Horror's favorite neighborhood!

Author: AngryChair from Brentwood, USA
21 January 2006

The 80's biggest horror landmark was this smash-hit that brought director Craven into mainstream film and gave birth to an unstoppable horror icon!

Young lady discovers that she and her friends are having the same terrifying dreams about a scar-faced maniac, who's about to transcend into murderous life!

Wes Craven's biggest claim to fame, A Nightmare on Elm Street was a far more imaginative slasher film than the numerous others that flooded the 80's cinema scene. Craven's clever premise and inventively shocking story added a kind of dark fantasy element that made this film so much more engrossing (and frightening) than the average slasher flick. It also turned villain Freddy Kruger into the biggest horror icon since the monsters of 50's horror cinema. Craven's direction is truly great, giving this film plenty of feverish atmosphere, tight suspense, and a share of good scares! Adding even more to the movie is the occasional touch of dark humor, who could ever forget that 'tounge phone' bit. The movie also has lots of gruesome special FX as well. The Elm Street theme by Charles Bernstein is a nicely chilling touch too.

The cast is quite good. Heather Langenkamp makes for a terrific and likable heroine. John Saxon and Ronee Blakley are both great as Langenkamp's disbelieving parents. Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, and Johnny Depp (in his debut role) are also great as some troubled Elm Street youths. Robert Englund is a power-house villain as Freddy Kruger.

A modern horror classic all the way, A Nightmare on Elm Street is still making folks afraid to sleep all these years later!

Followed by numerous sequels.

**** out of ****

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