Hello again Empire. I write today with a heavy heart, as I just found out that Horror master Wes Craven has passed away from brain cancer. His greatness will live on through the fear he created in his movies, and today I'll be doing a review of his most popular film in his honor. As I'm typing, I am in fact watching the movie, so thats a first. It is one of my favorite movies of all time, definitely my favorite horror movie. It's popularity is well earned, and is definitely a must-see. Lets take a look.
We start off following a character named Tina, who is plagued by horrifying nightmares about a man with knives on his fingers, a brown hat, and a green and red striped sweater(sound familiar? it should.) She wakes up with the cuts in her bedclothes still there even in the real world. She decides to have her friends Nancy, Glen(Johnny Depp's first movie roll), and her boyfriend Rod sleep over to make her feel safe. While everyone is there, she still has a nightmare. The legendary Freddy Kruger makes his first kill. Oh, one more thing you should know, if you get hurt in a Freddy dream, you get hurt in real life, and if one were to die in the dream, they'd die in real life too. So Tina gets sliced and thrown around while Rod looks on in horror.(p.s., this is arguably the bloodiest movie Wes ever made.) Rod then flees the scene before the others break down the door and find the grisly scene. We then follow the character Nancy, played well by Heather Langenkamp. As she walks to school the next day, she runs into Rod and he tries to tell her he's innocent, since he is being blamed for Tina's murder. Then Nancy's father, the sheriff(played by John Saxon, Bruce Lee's final costar) shows up. Apparenty he used his daughter as bait to catch him. Rod is arrested, and Nancy gives her dad shit about it. At school, she falls asleep in english class. She sees Tina in a body bag and calling her name while being dragged down the hallway by some invisible force. She follows, eventually reaching a large boiler room. She runs into Freddy there, and a chase ensues. She then wakes herself up by burning her arm on a hot pipe. She then freaks out and gets a free excuse to go home immediately.(lucky little...) As she leaves, she finds that the burn on her arm is still there. Later, as she takes a bath, she falls asleep and is attacked by Freddy. After that she is sitting in her room watching The Evil Dead (I'll explain why this is important in the next section) When Glen climbs through her bedroom window. She asks him to watch her sleep(not as weird as you think, hold on!) and wake her up if she tosses and turns at all. She goes into the dream world, and watches as Freddy walks into Rods cell at the police station. She tries to warn him, but instead Freddy chases her all the way back to her house, through her house, and into her bedroom where she finds that Glen has fallen asleep. She struggles with Freddy for some time before waking up. During the dream, Freddy cuts open one of her pillows and sprinkles feathers everywhere. Why is that important? Because she then notices a few feathers in her room in the real world. They then rush to the police station to save Rod. They arrive too late, as Freddy hangs him with his sheets just before they get in, making it look like a suicide. Then Nancy is taken to a sleep study hospital where she has a dream while hooked up to electrodes. She screams and thrashes around before waking up. She then pulls a hat from under the covers. Its Freddy's hat. She asks her drunk as hell alcohaulic mother about it, but it gets nowhere. She then goes on a walk with Glen and they discuss dreams for a bit, and Glen notices that Nancy has a book about booby-traps. When she gets home she finds that her mother has put bars on all of the windows, and puts more locks on the doors. Her mother then tells the truth about Freddy. He was a child murderer that stalked Elm Street. When he was released on a technicality, the parents tracked him down to a boiler room and burned the place down with him inside. Nancy's mother has his claws hidden in the furnace in the basement as a trophy. Nancy then plans to bring Freddy out of her dreams and have Glen be there to help take him out. But Freddy is one step ahead, after Glen's parents prevent him from sneaking out, he falls asleep and is killed by Freddy. The scene is nothing but blood. Literally. He gets pulled into the bed and a massive fountain of blood shoots out the hole. Its awesome. Many consider it to be the greatest horror movie kill of all time. But anyway, Nancy freaks out because Glen died, but then still carries out her plan. She tells her dad to break down the door to her house after she gets Freddy. She is Chased b Freddy in the dream world for a while, and eventually succeeds in bringing him out. He then chases her through the house, which she heavily booby-trapped. So Freddy ends up locked in the basement on fire. Nancy's dad busts down the door and they go to get Freddy. But they find that the door is wide open,and there are flaming footsteps leading out of the door and up the stairs. They find Freddy still on fire and on top of Nancy's mother. They throw a sheet over to snuff the flames. When they remove the sheet, they see a weird burnt skeleton float into the bed and disappear(fucking WHAT?!). Then Nancy's dad leaves the room, and Freddy rises from the bed. Nancy then tuns away like the badass she is, plainly stating that she no longer fears him, which takes away his power, and that he is nothing. Freddy tries to attack but vanishes. When Nancy goes out the door, she apparently shows up on her porch in daylight, Her mother next to her and announcing her sobriety. Nancy's friends pull up in a red convertible to pick her up. She gets in without even considering that this could be a twist ending. Then the windows roll up by themselves and the roof folds out, revealing it to have green and red stripes. The car drives off and Freddy's hand bursts through the door of the house and pulls Nancy's mom in. The End.
What I Thought
Wow. This movie is pure genius. I'm not just saying that out of respect, I thought that even before Wes passed away. The suspense is flawless. The feeling of paranoia is pretty overwhelming since you never really know when a character is dreaming right away. Something weird happens and you then realize that its a dream. The paranoia is furthered by weird things happening even when the characters are awake near the end. The way they used Freddy was great. They never fully show him in the light in any scenes. He is shrouded in darkness, and doesn't do all of his one-liners. He does however get a few lines, some of which pretty clever and really scary. All of the characters are interesting, and the acting is pretty much flawless. We then have expert editing and creative music to tie the whole package together. Still wondering about the whole Evil Dead thing? Well, to explain what that means we have to go back to one of Wes Craven's earlier films, The Hills Have Eyes. In that movie, there is a Jaws poster ripped in half in the background to represent how that movie was scarier than Jaws. Then in The Evil Dead, director Sam Raimi did the same thing, except with a Hills Have Eyes poster. Then Wes used The Evil Dead for the same reason in this movie. They went back and forth like that for some time. Its a pretty funny story right?
Well there you have it. The magnum-opis of Wes Craven's career, reviewed in his honor. I give this film a perfect 10/10. Its a masterpiece of epic proportions. The franchise bloomed into, well, just that, a franchise. A multi-million dollar franchise with numerous titles under its belt. I'll leave those movies alone for now though, because they were pretty hit-and-miss. There were more bad ones than good ones to say the least. But for now that's all. Tomorrow I start another year of school, and my schedule for writing may be interfered with. But with that I'm out. Have a great day out there!