This is a segment I’m bringing back from “Phase 1” that I’ve always enjoyed doing. I find a somewhat well-known or critically acclaimed film on Netflix Instant streaming that I’ve never seen before and I finally sit down to watch it. Before I do that, I come here and give my impressions on it without having seen it; what I know about it, who’s in it and what I think will happen. Then I come back and do a small review, talking about my experience.
Today I scrolled through my List and found Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. I am familiar with the Wes Craven name, but not so much his filmography. After looking through his credits, I need to apologize to the internet film community because I have not seen a single one of Craven’s films.
Horror is not my go-to genre at all. Never has been and probably never will be, sorry. But lately I’ve been seeing a lot of good independent horror movies like It Follows, The Witch, and Get Out (very excited for It Comes At Night as well). This has also inspired me to go and watch some of the classics for the first time: The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen. So naturally, when I saw Wes Craven’s Elm Street on Netflix, it was a no-brainer for my next Netflix Movie Pick.
I honestly know very little about this movie. I know Freddy Krueger is the main character or bad guy and it has something to do with dreams. I think I’ve seen some shots in a bedroom with a person, probably Freddy, pushing through the wallpaper. I’m also familiar with the poster of the girl in bed and Freddy’s claws above her head.
Since dreams are used in this film, I’m assuming, is it possible that none of it is real? That the characters live in this weird town that scares them in their sleep? Or it could be some real guy terrorizing people… or person? You’re probably laughing at my awful predictions here but they seem reasonable to me. They’re also making me really anxious start the film and find out. So that’s what I’m going to now.
The ’80s are an interesting decade. By today’s standards, and the way I watched this movie, I imagine Freddy is a lot less scary than he was in 1984. We see him right away and fairly consistently throughout the film. Like a lot of films made in this time, you have to consider the fact that they aren’t going to hold up with what we have today. So I can see where Freddy Krueger is a legitimate figure in the pantheon of horror monsters.
Elm Street begins with Freddy making his iconic claws, made of knives, attached to his rugged gloves. This scene, with the screen being partially filled and a Carpenter-esque score conjures a creepy tone and made me a bit uneasy. The rest of the film never really reached that point again for me. There were some scenes with Krueger that made me chuckle and others that didn’t affect me much. Like I said, I can understand it years ago, but now I didn’t find myself really scared.
However, the mystery aspect behind these nightmares plaguing the kids did interest me and kept my attention. And I had no idea Johnny Depp was in this, and that it’s his first role! Him and Heather Langenkamp each had great performances as the two kids we see the most out of.
Looking at my predictions, I suppose I was kind of right. Kids were being terrorized in their sleep which creates some kind of other dimension where the dead, or at least Krueger, can physically hurt people in the real world. I literally just began writing after the movie so I haven’t thought it out all the way, but one thing that confused me was the scene at the end where Nancy (Langenkamp) grabs Krueger to bring him into her world where everyone sees him. Her alarm goes off in bed, she wakes up and Krueger is there, right? Then later after he’s set on fire and escapes from the mom’s bed, Nancy stops him by stating she’s dreaming and he loses his power and disappears. But wasn’t she actually awake and Krueger was physically there?
Other than that (and let me know if I missed something) I enjoyed the ending, and especially the part with Freddy going after the mom and somehow taking over that car. Overall, I can’t say that I was too impressed with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Seeing it 33 years later, knowing its classic status left me a little disappointed. But I can say that I’ll have something to think about when I go to bed tonight.