Patrick Jensen’s review published on Letterboxd:
"One, two, Freddy's coming for you.
Three, four, Better lock your door
Five, six, grab a crucifix.
Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, Never sleep again...."
I have to admit that I haven't watched any of Wes Craven's films before now. The man has obviously been a vast influence on the horror genre as a whole, and it was sad that he passed away earlier this year. May he rest in peace.
As we have entered October, we have reached a month where I decide to watch a lot of horror films. Or horror-related films. Or downright horrible films, as they can cause a lot of terror within me. All joking aside, my first experience with Wes Craven was a very positive one, and now that I have finally experienced the horror that is Freddy Krueger, I thought this was a great horror film.
The reasons as to why this film works are many. The concept of a killer who takes the lives of his victims during their sleep is genius, as he gets you when you are at your weakest and least conscious. But it is not just the scary thought of the killer that works. The film builds up tension extremely well, thanks to its score, production design, and sound effects, that create an unhomely atmosphere, and it is further complemented by the writing, that allows the film to have some quieter moments as well. The practical effects should also be praised, especially during the scene where Freddy cuts up his own skin to show maggots inside of his body. Added to that, Robert Englund is just perfect as Freddy Krueger. He becomes the character to such an extent where he not only gives a convincing performance, but also becomes a genuinely terrifying presence. I definitely believe that he would kill me if he entered my dreams, and I wasn't even bothered by the jump scares thanks to Englund's performance.
My gripes with the film are not many, but they could get distracting at times. The acting was, as I probably should expect from a low-budget film, very wooden, which did break my immersion into the film. While Heather Langenkamp as Nancy wasn't a bad choice for the film's protagonist, her delivery was sometimes very off. This did make her character come off as a bit too ditzy at times, and I found it somewhat distracting. But it wasn't just the acting. The writing for each character seemed a bit weak as well, and the characters felt a bit too stereotypical.
Overall, I am not too bothered by the films weaknesses. Its strengths is what makes it stand out in the genre, and it is a film I highly recommend.