Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1984. New Line Cinema, Media Home Entertainment, Smart Egg Pictures, The Elm Street Venture. Screenplay by Wes Craven. Cinematography by Jacques Haitkin. Produced by Robert Shaye. Music by Charles Bernstein. Production Design by Gregg Fonseca. Costume Design by Dana Lyman. Film Editing by Rick Shaine.
The first in a long series of films, joining Friday The 13th and Halloween as the triad of horror franchises that dominated the box office in the 80s. Though not as inventive as John Carpenter’s horror classic, this film is definitely far ahead of the boring Friday series, with Heather Langenkamp giving a hilariously bad performance as one of a group teenagers beset by bad dreams. It seems that she and her high school friends, who all live in her neighbourhood, are being plagued by the same nightmare: a killer with a burned face wearing a glove decorated with sharp knives chases them down, something they barely survive before waking up. You could just imagine their surprise when, during a sleepover party, the nightmare comes alive and one of their group is actually murdered before their very eyes. Langenkamp takes it upon herself to catch the bad guy despite the fact that everyone in the neighbourhood thinks she’s gone off her rocker. Not wholly entertaining for those uninspired by horror films, but this one is free of many of the genre’s cliches, and what trademarks it does indulge in are used with refreshing originality. Johnny Depp appears in an early career role.