Movie Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1984 horror movie starring Robert Englund and Johnny Depp.

Synopsis: A group of high school students are terrorized by a deceased child murderer that hunts them down while their are sleeping and uses their dreams to kill them. With the adults refusing to believe them and being unable to remain awake forever, one of them hatches a plan to trap the killer before he gets her or she is driven completely insane.

Who's in it?

The movie stars Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss.


My wife watched the re-make of this film a while back and were very unimpressed with it. And, as a result of that, have been wanting to see the original again. This finally happened last night when we found some free time after the kids went to bed.

Since it had been a while since I had seen it, I wasn't sure if the movie was going to be as good as I remembered it. As it turns out, it was as fantastic of a horror film as I expected it to be.

Ironically, this film has quite a bit of excess gore and gratuitous nudity, two things I'm not a huge fan of when it comes to newer horror films. Despite those two things, however, I thought this film was fantastic and think it still sets a standard many films just fail to reach.

The thing that really sells this film, in my opinion, is Englund's Fred Krueger. He manages to be very menacing despite a limited dialog, in part because director Wes Craven set the mood with some realistic yet creepy background scenery. I've seen more than enough of these movies to be desensitized for the most part. Yet, when he popped out of the bushes or from behind a bed, I am not ashamed to admit it made me jump too.

One thing I found I wasn't a huge fan of was Depp's performance in this film. This is a bit ironic since I normally enjoy his movies. But, he was kind of flat in this movie (his first) and didn't really seem to offer much in terms of emotion. He walked in on a bloody murder scene, witnessed one of his friends get hung and his girlfriend was about to have a nervous breakdown. Yet, he was so unemotional, it was like his character didn't care at all. And, as a result of that, his extremely violent death doesn't have as much of an impact on the movie as it probably should have, mostly because I was trying to figure out why his girlfriend was with him in the first place.

Final Opinion

Obviously, this movie was so good, someone attempted to remake it. Even today, however, this film is still one of the best horror films I've seen and this original is considerably better than any imitations.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/04/2017, StevenHelmer
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