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The wise-talking dream-based killer brings the pain in every movie in which he appears. This is partially due to Wes Craven’s masterful writing and also because of the amazing portrait of the character by Robert Englund.
In total, there have been nine movies released in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and we’re going to dig into all nice of them and rank them from best to worst. If you can’t decide which Freddy Krueger movies are worth your time, check out this list and get ready to never sleep again.
This movie is just straight-up bad. I love Freddy Krueger. He’s one of my favorite characters in any medium. And with that said, I hate this film. The only redeeming quality of Freddy’s Dead is the return of Robert Englund in the Freddy Krueger role. Everything else about it just terrible. It’s not scary, the writing is trash, and it feels like Rachel Talalay (that’s right, it’s not by Wes Craven) couldn’t figure out a good way to end Freddy’s story.
Freddy Vs. Jason is a cool movie. The idea of two horror icons squaring off is appealing, but unfortunately, the execution is rather poor. I can’t go as far as to say the battle is unwatchable, but I can say that it could be much better. Robert Englund is in the Freddy role, which is nice, but there’s not much else to be excited about. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill slasher, but it feels like it could have been so much more.
While the A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot isn’t horrendous, it’s a bit too samey to feel like a must-see film. There’s a reason this movie came out in 2010 and hasn’t seen a sequel. The movie has staggeringly terrible reviews more or less across the board, and while I don’t think it’s a great film by any means, I think the negativity is a bit overblown. If you want to see a Freddy with modern sensibilities, it’s worth a watch. Just don’t go in with the highest expectations.
By the fifth Nightmare film in 1989, it seems like the crew was running out of ideas for Wes Craven’s beloved killer (Wes Craven wasn’t involved with the films at this point). As is always the case with the bad Freddy movies, Robert Englund stands out as the one bright spot, making this worth watching just for the style he brings to the table.
Personally, I think A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master has some of the funniest Freddy Krueger moments in the series. But, Nightmare isn’t a comedy, and this one leans a little too heavily on the humor and not enough on the tension that brought the franchise to the dance. Still, it’s a solid horror flick that’s worth watching for fans of slasher movies.
The sequel to the original A Nightmare on Elm Street makes the list at number four, which is actually quite a bit lower than I originally expected it to be. The sequel does a great job of expanding on Freddy’s lore, but in the end, there are just other movies in the franchise that are more enjoyable to watch.
As far as the original sequels go, this is really where Freddy Krueger peaked. This film is packed with everything that makes Freddy awesome—great murders, hilarious lines, and incredible suspense. That’s probably because it has all the key pieces—Wes Craven’s writing, Robert Englund’s acting, and a bunch of scared teens getting killed in their sleep.
New Nightmare isn’t part of the Freddy Krueger continuity, but that’s okay because it definitely features all the Freddy goodness you could ever want. Rather than the traditional dream invading, this incarnation of Krueger is actually a movie killer who invades the real world. It’s very meta and very entertaining. Freddy (played by Robert Englund) is menacing, evil, and twisted, which is exactly what fans want.
It feels like such a cop-out to just pick the first movie as the best in the franchise, and while New Nightmare is fantastic, there’s just nothing like the original. Freddy comes from a generation of silent slashers, so there’s something so refreshing about him taunting his victims. It adds an extra layer of fear to the already terrifying idea of being attacked in your dreams. Everyone in this movie does a fantastic job of playing their roles. There’s even a very young Johnny Depp in the movie. If you’ve somehow never seen the first Nightmare movie, you absolutely have to watch it, as it’s a straight-up classic.