A Nightmare on Elm Street: Infinifilm Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) has been having some horrific nightmares, ones that involve an eerie figure with razor sharp blades instead of fingers. She isn’t alone in these unusual dreams however, as she soon learns her friends have also had similar nightmares. The terror moves from the realm of dreams into real life however, when her friend Tina (Amanda Wyss) is murdered in brutal fashion. Although her boyfriend was there at the time, he insists he is innocent and claims some very odd things unfolded. Nancy believes him and starts to think Tina’s death was somehow related to the nightmares. She tells her father about the dreams, but he brushes her off and questions her sanity. But Nancy still believes the nightmares are more than mere dreams, especially when more young people start to turn up dead. If she and her friends are to survive, they need to stay awake at all costs. If they are killed by the dark figure in their dreams, they won’t wake up in a cold sweat and in fact, they won’t wake up at all. But who is this horrific stalker that slashes through their dreams and is there anything they can do to survive his wrath?

This is a true horror classic and the start of one of cinema’s most extensive franchises, not to mention one of the all time great horror creations, Freddy Krueger. While Freddy would be best known for his one liners and dark humor, those elements aren’t on showcase here. Although later installments would blend black humor with the horror, the original film takes a more serious approach. Freddy is more villain than comedian in this first film and as always, the twisted slasher was played by Robert Englund. Englund is great in the role, as usual, but reins in his performance more here, for a more effective result. I don’t mind his over the top antics in later films, but this is my personal favorite kind of Freddy, as he is much more eerie. The concept of a dream world is well executed and used to create some impressive tension, so the atmosphere is excellent. You can never be sure what is real and what isn’t, which keeps the audience in constant suspense. In my opinion, A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the all time classics of horror cinema, a film no horror collection can be without. New Line’s Infinifilm release gives us a new transfer, new soundtrack, and a slew of terrific bonus materials. No, this isn’t a dream, so if you’re even a casual fright fan, this is one release you simply can’t live without.

Video: How does it look?

A Nightmare on Elm Street is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is an excellent transfer, a brand new incarnation that provides a more refined presentation. The print is clean, with only a few minor marks here and there. The image is sharper this time around, with a little more detail present and that is sure to please fans. I found contrast to be deep and accurate, with dark black levels that provide adequate shadows, but never obscure the visuals. As far as colors, the design has been changed in places, with a cooler scheme that some will like, but some might not. I think the movie looks better than ever here, but some fans might be disappointed to the changes made in some scenes.

Audio: How does it sound?

As they’ve done in the past for some horror flicks, New Line has slapped on dual 5.1 soundtracks, with both Dolby Digital & DTS options available. I found the DTS option to be the better of the tracks, with tighter overall presence and cleaner, crisper bass, but both offer a terrific experience. The surrounds are alive from start to finish here, with lots of outer space background fodder, as well as the eerie music and of course, Freddy’s murders to spark up the speakers. I never had any trouble with dialogue here, with vocals coming through in solid form at all times. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The original release offered an audio commentary track and the film’s theatrical trailer, both of which have been ported over to this edition. In addition to those supplements, we have a wealth of new extras, starting off with a new audio commentary track. Wes Craven heads up the participants, which include various cast & crew members, quite a few folks when all told. A decent session, with several perspectives on the production, but don’t expect to learn a lot of new information here. The best of the extras is Never Sleep Again, a fifty minute documentary that takes us inside the production of this horror classic. The piece starts with how the concept was developed, moves through the various stages of production, and ends with coverage of the film’s success. A well crafted and fun to watch supplement, well worth a look. You can also check out two shorter featurettes, one on how New Line was able to expand thanks to the film’s success, the other of which examines the real life mysteries of dreams and how they impact our lives. This release also includes several alternate end sequences, as well as a special Nightmare on Elm Street trivia quiz. This is an Infinifilm release after all, so you can choose to access video clips and text prompts as you watch the movie itself. I chose to explore the extras outside of the Infinifilm process, but you can check them out however you wish.

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