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Overall Rating
4.22

Awesome61.24%
Worth A Look: 20.93%
Average: 3.1%
Pretty Bad: 7.75%
Total Crap: 6.98%

2 reviews, 117 user ratings


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Nightmare on Elm Street, A (1984)
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by Chef ADogg

"Dude, don't let the sequels fool you--this one is GOOD."
4 stars

This movie has everything you could possibly want--an intelligent, imaginative script; visual ingenuity; and enough blood n guts to satisfy the striped sweater madman in all of us. More than just a reminder of a time when Wes Craven made HORROR films (not to be confused with his later, slasher oriented cannon), this is a great movie.

Well, it's good. I don't know if it's great. It occasionally takes the low road, and you have to dock points for that--even when said path includes watching a very young, very eighties Johnny Depp being sucked into a bed, and then spewed back in a torrent of cow blood.

This is one of those movies where direction and acting take a backseat to plot, no matter who toils behind the scenes. The premise, quite simply, kicks ass--a hideously burnt man carouses through the dreams of some disturbed teenagers, catching them at the climax of the nightmare and killing them.

And then they wake up dead. Or something. I think that's like the tagline--"They go to sleep and wake up dead!" But, y'know, if you were dead you really wouldn't wake up at all. That doesn't really bear any relevance in any direction, but it's an amusing concept.

Anyhow, the story centers around one teenager, played by Heather Langenkamp, who has these weird nightmares where she's stalked by Freddy Kruger, the neighborhood boogeyman. I think there's like a twist at the end where his identity and back story are revealed, so I won't go into it. I don't remember being surprised the first time I saw this movie, but I probably knew the whole story going in.

If you don't know yet, I won't spoil it.

So Langenkamp gets all weirded out and everybody thinks she's going crazy. And it's so frustrating! It's one of those movies where you see everything and you know its all real n shit, but nobody in the plot can see it, and they all say, "Heather Langenkamp, you must be going insane," and you want to yell "But she's not! It really happened!" at the TV and you accidentally kick over your soda and your popcorn and your girlfriend yells at you to simmer down 'cause she's missing the movie.

And it's pointless anyway to yell at the screen 'cause they can't hear you. So sit down, dunce.

Craven shows a rough mastery of horror technique that always reminds me of John Carpenter on crystal meth. Everything is dank and dark, to create the mood, and it works. It's one of those movies where you want to be let out, 'cause you're like suffocating. You really get put right in the center of everything. Carpenter used to do that, too.

Good texture in every direction. Sometimes in horror movies, you look around and say, "Hey, that's dumb." It could be like a set piece or a could be a shift in tone or anything that distracts you from the film; "Nightmare on Elm Street" comes strapped with none of that. You watch it for awhile and get scared and want to turn it off but you're having so much fun that you just leave it on.

The acting is top notch, for this kind of movie. I try to rate movies independent of their genre, but scary movie acting is so generally piss poor that I give this movie extra points. Call it effort points--sometimes the acting feels a little bit cheesy, but you know they were trying.

Acting, direction, plot--these are all good things. But the real hook of the movie is seeing Freddy Kruger. The first time you see him, you're like "WTF?" He's the only really scary horror franchise villain. Michael Myers was menacing, Jason Vorhees was just plain dumb. Freddy Krueger works because he lives inside the nightmares n shit--he knows what scares everyone because he stomps around the darkest corners of their head.

Real thought was put into this movie, I like that. A lot of movies, especially scary movies, are pasted together for profit and no other real reason. "Nightmare on Elm Street" aspires to something higher than quick cash, you gotta respect that.

This is really well-put together movie. It has the scares and the technical shit down, but the real kick is watching your greatest fears visualized and slapped on celluloid. It's surreal and crazy, and lots of fun.

If Salvador Dali lived long enough to see the slasher movie revolution and decided to show everyone how it was done, this is what he would come up with. And I mean that in a good way. (Sorry, TAJ).

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1148&reviewer=123
originally posted: 10/29/99 13:27:36
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

7/25/17 Chaz Walter This will always be the best in the series. Amazing. RIP Wes Craven. 5 stars
1/15/15 the truth Imaginative,dumb,fun slasher movie that rides the line between tongue-in-cheek and scary 4 stars
9/29/14 FireWithFire The parents were NOT WRONG in killing Freddie, this film insults all common sense!!!! 1 stars
2/04/13 J Bomb One of the best horror movies I've ever seen. To Hell with the sequels and remake. 5 stars
8/07/11 art GREAT FILM,the best HOROR FRANCHISE EVER,FREDDY could kick jason and micheal's BUTT"S! 5 stars
5/04/10 art THEY SHOULD HAVE STOPED after THIS one! 3 stars
1/29/10 PAUL SHORTT UNPLEASANT, ROUTINE HORROR 2 stars
1/19/10 Stanley Thai A good movie with a terrible ending that prevents it from being a classic. 3 stars
12/29/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Best of the series, which isn't saying much. 2 stars
12/29/09 art MORE SILLY THAN SCARY! 1 stars
12/13/09 Michael Jay Very creepy idea for a film, but turned out to be cheesy fun. 4 stars
10/04/09 art THIS MOVIE IS A REAL NIGHTMARE! 1 stars
9/16/09 art FREDDY BURIES JASON AND MICHEAL,nightmare on ELM STREET is A ICON in thriller movies! 5 stars
6/05/09 art PINHEAD FROM HELLLRAISER,COULD GIVE FRED KRUGER A RUN FOR HIS MONEY! 1 stars
3/09/09 blarginbadigalnohif GREAT MOVIE 5 stars
2/10/09 lo& Scary as hell, a little cheesy though. 5 stars
1/20/09 Camilo Espinoza One of my favorite horror movies 5 stars
4/27/08 Jayme Isaacs I Like This Movie 5 stars
4/11/08 mark madsen never like this movie 1 stars
4/10/08 Brandy One of the only horror films I was ever interested in watching. I could never stomach any o 4 stars
4/04/08 Colleen Cousineau One of the first horror films that got me talking to the screen. Excellent. 5 stars
4/03/08 shaw 1 of my fav 4 stars
1/04/08 action movie fan lame,boring silly movie not scary at all-freddy kruger looks like costume party clown-crap! 1 stars
1/16/07 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
12/28/06 Mark Louis Baumgart Dates some, but at the time he was unique, and he deserves his icon status. Great stuff!!! 5 stars
10/08/06 Bitchflaps Jungian overtones, terrifying images, unforgettable film. 5 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies a great premise- If you fall asleep you're dead 4 stars
6/02/06 chris f the best horror movie of all time 5 stars
5/07/06 Woza Better than Jaws 5 stars
3/24/06 UndeadCaleb First Movie to scare the hell out of me 5 stars
3/24/06 Dethbyhashi One of my all time favorite horror movies 5 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Scary and surprisingly subtle unlike many of the sequels 5 stars
12/21/05 miss patience 5 crappy.......so not ....it is the best elm street there is duh............. 5 stars
11/24/05 cr my most favorite horror movie of all time, scary as hell and nancy is one favorites 5 stars
10/27/05 chris great acting by robert englund i loved this movie 5 stars
10/14/05 Darren O Stylish, brilliant, and with an ideal boogeyman. Langenkamp makes a great heroine. Classic. 5 stars
10/08/05 Mrs.Depp Best Movie i ever saw, Johnny Depp is so great and very adorable in this film! 5 stars
8/25/05 Eden Surreal and imaginative horror. Only let down by weak ending 5 stars
5/17/05 what? good film. sequels were shit though. 4 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Radically overrated. Was 80s horror so bad that this is held up as "the best"? 2 stars
3/15/05 brody two hooks up 5 stars
3/13/05 R.W. Welch Gimmicky teen horror flick has inventive premise and good acting for the genre. 4 stars
11/18/04 chris surprisingly boring 2 stars
11/05/04 Freddy Hey i must say i did a pretty good job on this 5 stars
8/29/04 American Slasher Goddess Scary, unique and brilliant. Englund is spectacular as Freddy Krueger. 5 stars
8/16/04 Dallas Moye The reason Wes Craven was born 5 stars
8/07/04 Anthony G GREAT 5 stars
7/03/04 nftqa NOT BAD....nah....GREAT!!!!! 5 stars
6/03/04 mr. me darkofnight is a fucking retard 5 stars
5/24/04 Blakers A great film 5 stars
5/02/04 American Slasher Goddess Scary and creative. Englund is amazing as Freddy Krueger. 5 stars
4/18/04 valerie hart a great movie to taly creepy freddies so kool and its got some funny scenes too 4 stars
4/15/04 J One the horrors of all time! Besides Johnny Depp is shredded in 1million piece! **** 5 stars
4/10/04 Rohail (Freddys biggest fan) I am the ultimate fan, Period!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ A classic... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric If all of them was as good as this it would have been a awesome series 5 stars
12/12/03 Captain Spaulding Origional and very scary, none of the sequels even compare... 5 stars
12/12/03 Charlie and the Chocalte FActory Great! 4 stars
12/10/03 Samuel A very great film!! 5 stars
12/03/03 Kyle Classic scare - but don't bother with the sequels. 4 stars
11/27/03 movie guy sucked i liked freedy v.s jason better 1 stars
11/11/03 douglas lacayo this movie is terrorifically good 5 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Scary all the way, Englund kicks ass as Freddy Krueger. 5 stars
10/16/03 Erik Van Sant Craven's best film. Children pay attention: Freddy Krueger was scary at one point. 5 stars
8/29/03 DARREN ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! 5 stars
8/16/03 Red great 5 stars
8/09/03 Liz mirizz hmmm.... hard 2 say, i guess It was ok 3 stars
7/31/03 nr A GREAT FILM 5 stars
7/22/03 Double G I'm speachless, this movie blew me away!!! WOW 4 stars
7/14/03 Samuel Justus The only one that was good cause they made this one like it was a real movie in the others! 4 stars
6/14/03 Alice The movie was so different at the time from all the other slasher horrors..Awesome! 5 stars
5/31/03 mee AWESOME 5 stars
5/12/03 Kyle What happened to you, Wes.... 5 stars
5/04/03 sleepy worth it, to see Depp's first appearance on film...his first acting job...ever! 5 stars
4/06/03 Dave The only film in th series that takes itself seriously enough to actually be scary. 5 stars
1/05/03 Monster W. Kung Not a masterpiece, but not far off either. 4 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby One of the scariest ever made. A masterpiece. 5 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum An overrated beginning to an overrated series 3 stars
8/16/02 Shaun sleep kills 5 stars
6/07/02 Matthew cool 5 stars
5/15/02 Blake This movie was dying for a sequal. 5 stars
4/28/02 Butterbean Of course, it's the best of the series. 4 stars
4/20/02 Jason It's much better than the Friday the 13th movies. That's for sure! 5 stars
3/01/02 Chowie I AM YOUR BOYFRIEND NOW........... 5 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 My fave horror film..still scares me 5 stars
10/23/01 Sthenno Wicked ass horror flick.Wonderful idea played to the hilt. I always liked this one. 5 stars
10/07/01 jawsboy certain music and acting hurt this slick shocker. great atmosphere! one of the best!! 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk It doesn't get much better than this, kids... 5 stars
7/10/01 JT Truly one of the classics in the horror field and a must for anyone with a taste for horror 5 stars
6/29/01 King Jackass This says it all --------------------------------------------> 5 stars
5/18/01 Alexander OVERATED in every way! 1 stars
4/14/01 LiL This was so fantastic! A masterpiece, it kicks all the sequels asses! 5 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi This movie is a modern horror classic. Orignal and unapologetic. KICKS ASS!!! 5 stars
12/02/00 The Evil Penguin one of the best in the series 4 stars
10/16/00 TIM incredibly inventive and well written 5 stars
8/17/00 Rich Corle AWESOME, 4th best in the series!! 5 stars
7/19/00 Terrie Smith Good old "Freddy". The first and the best of the lot. One of Craven's best. 4 stars
7/18/00 Bender Very scary. Freddy is creepy and scary. Freddy became so lame after part 2. 4 stars
5/05/00 matt THE ONLY GOOD ONE OUT OF ALL OF THEM 5 stars
5/03/00 cort major An american classic in everyway.Astounding-ground breaking 5 stars
5/02/00 Pansy Excellently made shite! 5 stars
5/01/00 yo momma I agree with the guy below me! 5 stars
3/26/00 HILLWOOD HOUSTON IF YOU THINKS THIS MOVIE IS NOT GOOD WELL YOU SUCK 5 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Freddy Krueger was actually scary once... 5 stars
2/06/00 Steve Layne At least the 2nd best in the series 4 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster Excellent , the best of the series . It's just a shame it spawned so many crap seqeuls. 5 stars
10/30/99 the Grinch Scared the hell outta me when I was 10. Not so much now, but it's earned its place. 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Despite its flaws, this film always freaks me out. Not many horror flicks do that you know. 4 stars
6/25/99 David Keech The only one from the series that was genuinely scary. RE is great. 4 stars
1/26/99 donkey_dew Scary? are you fucking kidding me? what a snooze fest. horrid. lame. 'nuff said. 1 stars
1/24/99 Meepos. If only horror hadn't lost it's way. A very good film, scary and funny. 5 stars
1/24/99 MR HOLLYWOOD!! better than 'Excorcist'!!,Wes Craven is one hell of a film-maker! 5 stars
12/20/98 mike brilliant horror fick...very well made 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink One of the genre's classics! Along with Scream, Wes Craven's masterpiece! 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob Yeah, this creeped me out and blew my mind. I'm better now! 5 stars
10/20/98 {{{OZ}}} An original idea that was executed (pun intended) really well. 5 stars
10/18/98 Johny Truly scary 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Nov-1984 (R)
  DVD: 13-Apr-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Nov-1984 (R)


Directed by
  Wes Craven

Written by
  Wes Craven

Cast
  Robert Englund
  Ronee Blakley
  Heather Langenkamp
  Amanda Wyss
  Nick Corri
  Johnny Depp



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