A Nightmare on Elm Street ★★★★★

"But he can't get you now. He's dead honey, cos mommy killed him."

This is a masterclass in horror.

Let's start with that the film is actually scary. First time I watched this was on my laptop, I was really impressed by it but never felt particularly scared. Tonight I watched this classic on the big screen and the whole experience was cranked all the way up. The opening credits of the film get into your head immediately, and in a surround sound environment with all the tiny nuances getting picked up, it puts you in the nightmare world and makes you stay.

The film looks fantastic. Not just in cinematography, but in the execution of it's practical sequences as well. I forgot about the scene where Tina appears in her body bag and gets dragged around the school. It's such a haunting image. Speaking of Tina, her death scene is just incredible, and I still don't know how they did it (and I kind of don't want to know). It's so visceral and chaotic how her body really looks like she's being dragged up and down the room by some invisible animal; until it just stops, and her bloody corpse falls on the bed.

Robert Englund is the motherfucker.

Watching this again, I saw that he plays Freddie so differently in this film than the other films I've seen, and how he's portrayed in other pop culture media. While it's so much fun watching Freddie gleefully shoot off one liners as he makes his kills ("Prime time, bitch!" being a timeless classic), in this, he's a genuine creep. He's not funny to anyone, only to himself. He deepens his voice, he lurches forward with a gnarled smile, makes genuine threats, and I noticed that in some scenes, he tends to stay on one side of his body; which gives him a really strange gait and makes him that much more disturbing.

What this film also carries out expertly, is the way it portrays generational hatred. All of the adults are so unbelievably frustrating and inept that it hurts; and it's 100% intentional. The whole premise of the film is the children of Elm Street paying the price for their parent's mistakes. So while the kids are paying for it, the parents refuse to listen and try to dodge responsibility and action at almost every turn, because they'd rather bury their heads than accept what's happening to their children. The new generation's anger with the previous one is displayed by Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson, and it is agonising watching her trying so hard to get through to her drunk mother and dismissive father. The refusal to try and understand really got under my skin, and I thank Wes Craven for that.

Guys, it's just one of the best to ever do it.

William liked this review