A Nightmare on Elm Street... puts more emphasis on bizarre special effects, which aren't at all bad.
Vincent Canby - New York Times
Craven vitalizes the nightmare sequences with assorted surrealist novelties.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
A highly imaginative horror film that provides the requisite shocks to keep fans of the genre happy.
Variety Staff - Variety
Still stands on its own as an intriguing and chilling example of how horror works best when the characters and the audience don't have to be lobotomized.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Craven knows which big, red Freudian buttons to push, turning Freddy into a true monster from the Id.
Jamie Graham - Total Film
First feature for knife-handed horror idol Freddy.
Charles Cassady - Common Sense Media
...a low-key horror effort that's ultimately not quite as enthralling as its premise might've indicated...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
An imaginative, menacing, and scary film with top notch performances, an original premise, and horrifying villain...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Seeing the movie again, I was reminded that while the Krueger character did have some taunting, humorous dialogue, it was more eerie than funny. Krueger was truly a menacing, terrifying boogeyman in the beginning.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
... ingenious exploitation that plays on primal fears and subconscious anxieties...
Sean Axmaker - Seanax.com
...decidedly anti-art - at one point, a teen dozes off while reading Shakespeare - yet it still manages to rank among the top horror movies of all time.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
A fantastic horror film that still holds up resoundingly well today.
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
What the film did more than anything else was create a new horror star.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
The Sandman of Reagan's dozy suburbia
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Terrifically spooky and original, the film continues to feel completely modern despite being almost a quarter-century old.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
...one of the great horror efforts and a worthy successor to the classic monsters of yesteryear.
Steve Biodrowski - ESplatter
My favourite horror movie.
Stefan Birgir Stefansson - sbs.is
An inventive and terrifying horror film that explores the inner psyche and its ability to turn nightmares into reality.
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
What makes Freddy truly terrifying, and an inspired invention on Craven's part, is that he exists not in the real world but in the shadowy realm of dreams.
Simon Braund - Empire Magazine
It succeeds by preying on archetypal fears and imagery - the myth of the bogeyman, the power of the unconscious conjuring up the worst horrors imaginable.
Dean Essner - Film4
One of the most intelligent and terrifying horror films of the 1980s.
Dean Essner - TV Guide's Movie Guide
An actual story, made by somebody who cared enough about his ideas to make them different and original.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
The far superior of the two defining horror franchises of the '80s.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
You'll forgive ole Freddy if he doesn't quite pack as much punch as he once did. Neither will any of us 20 years from now.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
By 1984, the slasher film had already been done to death, but Craven added a fresh take with his idea of a killer that attacks in dreams.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
What's so clever about Craven's variation on teen-horror is what now seems so obvious about it: A Nightmare on Elm Street takes all of this fear of unmanageable desires and makes it explicitly, even bluntly Freudian.
Leo Goldsmith - Not Coming to a Theater Near You
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie defined by its dual legacies.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
It's all good scary fun.
Dean Essner - Time Out
classic '80s horror...and Johnny Depp dies
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
Chuck O'Leary - Fantastica Daily
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Despite lame sequels the original is a classic of modrer horror.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Joshua Tanzer - Offoffoff
One of the best all-out horror movies ever made.
Shannon J. Harvey - Sunday Times (Australia)
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A well-crafted, meaningful addition to its genre.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
In 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street revived the teen horror genre, later spawning six sequels about Freddy, the burn victim/child killer who kills you when you fall asleep.
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
This progenitor of the series (and the teen slasher genre) still packs the same freshness and dramatic purity it demonstrated 15 years ago.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
There has never been a movie like it, and there never will be.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org