A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street ★★★★

Whatever you do,

Don't

wake

up.

Despite already knowing the premise of the film, and my lack of interest in the slasher subgenre, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a well crafted, creepy and atmospheric film. Craven's dreamscapes are creatively imagined, right down to the greens and reds that allude to Freddy's continual stalking presence in the film. While some horror villains are obscured, Craven does not hesitate to show us his villain, as we are immediately introduced to him in the opening sequence. As a result, we are vigilantly looking over our shoulder the entire time, anticipating when and where Freddy will strike next. Like the teens in the film, we cannot do anything to escape his relentless presence as he hunts his victims.

Often I find it very difficult to relate with characters in slasher films (e.g. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as they are underdeveloped and their motivations are irrational. Rather than yelling at the TV telling Nancy not to descent into the dark basement, we are able to sympathize with her, knowing that facing Freddy is inevitable. We share in her frustration as her friends and family refuse to believe her, and we feel her increasing sense of imprisonment as the film progresses.

Despite being made in 1984, the sound editing, dreamlike soundtrack, and vivid imagery used in the film still effectively create a sense of terror and dread. Craven continually plays with our expectations, as we move seamlessly between worlds.

Oh, and that ending... I'm really glad that it wasn't spoiled for me after all these years!

Trevor liked this review