It’s that time again: Halloween in May! Oh the perils of writing a blog with a ridiculously long lead in time. As I write this I am chomping on a fun pack of Haribo Scaremix and snuggling under a blanket because winter has started to make itself known.
I think the fact that it took me so long to reach A Nightmare On Elm Street shows how horror movies really were not a part of my cinematic diet when growing up. However, thanks to cultural osmosis, it feels like I have seen this film already. It speaks for the place of A Nightmare On Elm Street within the horror movie canon that it has been so frequently borrowed from or pastiched.
However, despite this film’s presence within pop culture making a lot of the main plot beats ultimately predictable, I really found myself enjoying it. Compared to a lot of the slasher films that this produced, A Nightmare on Elm Street feels oddly tame. Sure there’s a lot of blood, but this isn’t torture porn (like Saw) or full of unusual deaths (like The Evil Dead). In fact, the number of deaths is minimal – and that is something that I did not expect.
Speaking of not expecting things, that’s the strength of this film: playing with expectations. Even with me skirting over the ambiguity of the final scene, this film toys with the idea of dreams and reality. It’s subtle to begin with, but by the time you reach the final 15-20 minutes of the film it becomes increasingly hard to work out whether the characters are wide awake or within a dreamscape. It makes for interesting post-film discussions.
Despite enjoying this film, I have no desire to see any other film within the franchise. Especially the direct sequel, which sounds weirdly homophobic.