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First-Time Watch Review - A Nightmare On Elm Street

by Dana Andersen . Published Sat 31 Oct 2020 10:56, last updated: 30/10/20

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie you go into, even for the first time, thinking you know exactly what to expect. It’s going to be cheesy, with terrible effects, and a typically messy 80’s plot.

All the parodies have prepared you for the silly tale of a man that shows up in teenagers dreams, and then the movie gives you everything you knew you were getting in all the best possible ways.

The audience is first set up with a false protagonist, Tina, who is quickly killed in a scene that easily rivals modern effects.

Her death is the catalyst for good ol’ Freddie Krueger to show up and begin terrorising the teens around town, giving us a fresh idea on an otherwise fairly typical slasher plot of the time.

Nancy then becomes our main character, and Heather Langenkamp is truly fantastic in the role. She so often has a look of true horror and disbelief that looks so genuine it makes your heart clench in your chest.

We also see Johnny Depp debut in this movie, looking brilliantly retro in a crop top until he dies in one of the most impressive, complicated and over the top scenes, to have been seen in any horror movie.

Pushing the plot forward, the teens realise they have to stay awake and resort to downing as much caffeine as possible, until Nancy falls asleep in a clinic and manages to pull Freddy’s hat out of the dream world and into reality.

Cheesiness aside, it leads to Nancy’s mother revealing the grisly truth about Freddy in a way that doesn’t feel shoved in for the audience.

The lead up to the finale is exciting and only slightly reminiscent of Home Alone, and we lose minimal characters in the run up to Nancy realising the way to beat him, is simply to not be afraid of him.

Everything is finally resolved, and Nancy steps out into a lovely morning, but just like we had that false protagonist at the start, we have a false happy ending that soon becomes just as horrifying as the rest of the movie was.

Although it hasn’t aged perfectly, and some parts feel very dated, A Nightmare on Elm Street is overall so well made and well written that it doesn’t really matter.

It’s a timeless tale of horror, that really does make you slightly scared to go to sleep, even when watching it for the first time as an adult.

The mixture of predominately pretty good acting, terrifying and brilliantly portrayed death scenes, and a plot that preys on something we all do, and can’t stop doing, have made it into a horror film that really is a must watch for anyone that considers themselves to be a horror fan.


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