Picks and Pans Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street

UPDATED 05/27/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/27/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

It's not going to be any picnic on 4th and Main, either. Director Wes (The Hills Have Eyes) Craven includes two moments of comic relief. In one, a teenage girl, haggard from lack of sleep, looks in a mirror and exclaims, "Wow. I look 20." In the other, it is revealed that the featured monster is named "Freddie Krueger." Other than that, Craven goes for the scare 91 minutes out of 92. Freddie, who shows up in the nightmares of four teenagers the same evening, is a cadaverous-type guy who wears a plaid shirt and has long, stilettolike appendages on the ends of his fingers, as if he had an overimaginative manicurist, or perhaps an excessively iron-rich diet. He is out for blood, which he gets in vast, gushing quantities, though he seems to be filled with what looks like antifreeze. Craven is something of a generational turncoat. While he is 35, all his adult characters have the intelligence and courage of cantaloupes. John Saxon, the John Carradine of his era as far as B pictures go, plays a police detective. Ronee (Nashville) Blakley seems to be half asleep as Saxon's alcoholic ex-wife. It's their daughter, Heather (TV's Passions) Langenkamp, who is Freddie's main adversary. Langen-kamp is quite impressive; if this were a different movie, her acting ability would probably attract some attention. But then in this kind of movie it's not the actors' sweat and tears the audience cares about; it's only the blood. (R)

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