Our minds are the only place where we ever really have full, absolute privacy. Our dreams are supposed to be a safe haven, a place where our subconscious protects us from the worries of the world. But what happens when this stops being the case? We all have the occasional bad dream, but what happens when those nightmares come to life, and sleep, the source of rejuvenation and tranquility, harbors a horror which we cannot escape? A Nightmare on Elm Street introduces a world where reality is harsh, but dreams are deadly.
Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a child murderer who escaped conviction due to a technicality, met a fiery death at the hands of the furious parents of Elm Street. What they didn’t realize is that they hadn’t solved one problem, but simply created another, far more dangerous one. Freddy comes back as a supernatural entity with the ability to enter kids’ dreams, murder them there, and effectively kill them in the real world as well. When Tina (Amanda Wyss) starts dreaming about Freddy, she makes the grave mistake of sharing that information with her friend, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), and Nancy’s boyfriend, Glen (Johnny Depp), who then start to dream about the psychic serial killer as well. Later Tina’s boyfriend, Rod (Nick Corri), is pulled into their nightmare, when he starts dreaming about Freddy… shortly after being arrested for Tina’s murder, which Freddy committed. As Nancy and Glen fight to stay awake and alive, Freddy’s past comes to light and their parents must deal with the ramifications of their vigilante justice as they now content with a killer whom they cannot pursue in the waking world.
A Nightmare on Elm Street might be one of the most ingenious, thought-provoking horror films of all time. It took something which we’ve all experienced, nightmares, and dialed it up about a thousand notches. The film even incorporated aspects of the very real and frightening sleep paralysis and sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS), and in combination with teen romance, high school, and meddlesome parents who are doing more harm than good, this film (as well as the sequels and remake which it spawned) introduced the idea that dreams can come true, in the most terrifying, deadly ways.
I give this one 5 stars.