'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)—A Movie Review

Want to know whose film debut 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' was?

'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)—A Movie Review

Elm Street must not be a fun street to live on. People have nightmares every night.

A monstrous figure stalks teenagers in their dreams, giving chase, before viciously killing them. Fighting sleep, Nancy ends at nothing to defeat this ghostly child murderer even if she has to go into her dreams to do so.

Instead of watching A Nightmare on Elm Street at night, I decided to watch it during the day on my first viewing. It still terrified me. A Nightmare on Elm Street bore an entertaining and very sinister film creating a big impact on audiences coupled with the fear of sleep.

I love Heather Langenkamp’s performance as the teenage Nancy Thompson. Her frightened reactions to the horror followed by a genuine journey of growth is a trait that I have always admired about Nancy. Her incredible wit, especially when designing handcrafted traps at the end of the movie is a very noteworthy scene that captures her character.

Robert Englund has gone down in history as one of the best horror movie villains as Freddie Krueger. With the nightmarish unsettling appearance, sinister clothing, and threatening gloved hand posing sharp weaponry, Englund took the liberties in his ghoulish behavior and humorous smart-allic comebacks.

At first, Amanda Wyss (Tina) appears to be the protagonist until it turns out that she is one of Freddie’s victims. Wyss was outstanding running away from her stalker including her talk with Nancy about her nightmares.

Wyss and Jsu Garcia (Rod) established one of the most famously bloody scenes in the whole movie. Switching the ceiling to the floor, and harnessing Garcia to the ‘floor,’ the scene where they are violently screaming for each other as Tina is being murdered by the invisible threat is a well-directed scene.

Want to know whose film debut A Nightmare on Elm Street was? That’s right, that is Johnny Depp plays Nancy’s boyfriend, Glen! Langenkamp and Depp created an endearing relationship. I am very impressed with Depp. Depp mostly stays in the foreground, lightly dismissing, but still supporting Nancy as she inspects for clues.

Ronee Blakely and John Saxon are terrific as Nancy’s parents. Nancy’s family has its issues. The actors worked very well to create a distantly vibe just from their interactions. Blakely’s drunken monologue about the story of Freddie Krueger was well-acted.

One minor character that stood out to me was Lin Shaye as Nancy’s teacher. Her reactions were genuine and heartwarming to how she has to control Nancy’s terrifying screams from her nightmare after falling asleep in class was impressive.

The late Wes Craven surpassed in his incredible direction. It’s an original story. Craven knows suspense and how to provoke his audience. Craven invested in the topic of dreams even sporting a new terror. Eventually, we have to fall asleep. There is no fighting sleep.

The special effects were very impressive and gross at the same time. I know I will always shiver hearing light scratches against a pipe. The soundtrack is very unnerving but gets you into the right mood all at the same time.

One of my most favorite scenes of all is where Nancy wanders the dream-like school halls, following a bloody pathway, into the boiler room. The whole sequence is filled with lingering suspense and terror.

A Nightmare on Elm Street has spawned a number of sequels, a remake, and has made quite the impact in horror culture. It is intense at times, especially the subject of a child murderer killing people in their sleep. I know I was afraid to sleep the night after I watched the film. A Nightmare on Elm Street has become one of my favorite horror films to sit and watch.

movie review
Marielle Sabbag
Marielle Sabbag
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Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction, and I even enjoy writing reviews about movies and plays. I would love to become a freelance writer and leave the world inspiring minds.

See all posts by Marielle Sabbag