A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the blend of a great idea and perfect execution. It gets something that is real, dreams, and puts it together with a supernatural villain out for revenge. Many horror films tend to have a genius concept, but fail overall because of poor execution. I believe the reason why Nightmare is so successful is because of its director Wes Craven.
While this is a slasher movie, it is unconventional in some aspects. The characters aren’t cardboard cutout teens waiting to get killed, they actually take time to flesh them out and have you sympathize with them in different ways. This is due to the fact that it has less of a body count than most other slashers, which makes it easier for the story to focus on them. Even though I mentioned that there aren’t as many kills as other slashers, that doesn’t mean it is tame at all. I would even argue this movie has more balls than most horror films that are released today.
The special effects are monumental, even today. They had to think of and invent ways to make certain scenes look believable because most of what was done, because it was right in front of the camera. There isn’t an ounce of CG, everything is practical and real. That’s why it is so convincing to this day.
Let’s no forget the performances, they’re done just as well as the special effects. Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund steal the show as Nancy and the iconic Freddy Krueger. You truly feel a sense of anxiety from Langenkamp’s breakout performance, while building up a lifetime of fear from Englund. The both of them truly sell the idea of someone killing you in your dreams, a place where you can’t defend yourself. I also have to mention how well John Saxon does too. He could have easily been the cliché parent who doesn’t believe his daughter about what is truly happening; but again because they take time with the characters he has the ability to sell it through delivery and expression.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is an A+, top tier, unconventional, and original horror film. The make-up and special effects are in a league above most, while not sacrificing on character or story. This has always been one of my personal favorite movies. It has both universal respect from critics and audiences alike, and is culturally significant. Thirty-four years after it has released, it still sets the bar for horror.