The fourth NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was very bad. But, after a night off from the series, I went back for more. Not sure what else to say in this intro. I’m running out of ideas. So, on to the article…

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I watched A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD (1989) on 10.21.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

The first eighteen minutes of this movie are not so bad. There is the obligatory opening scene wherein the hero from the previous movie, Alice (Lisa Wilcox) takes a shower which utilized plenty of blurry shower shots of a body double before a nightmare hits. Only this one does not, in a surprise, feature Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). After she wakes up, we are taken to Alice’s graduation where we meet a whole new set of ‘friends’. These future victims (which my father would always refer to as ‘cannon fodder’ any time we watched a horror movie together) aren’t so bad, except for this one character, Mark (Joe Seeley). This character is either the worst acting performance in movie history or the worst written character in movie history. Maybe both. But certainly one or the other. He is a comic book artist who wears annoying 80s clothes and delivers terrible lines. On the other end of the spectrum is the minor character Greta (an unknown Erika Anderson) who both looks good and manages to give some of the best line deliveries in the series.

Anyway, around the eighteen minute mark, we are introduced to a newly born monstrous Freddy Krueger fetus (pictured below). This little thing, born in one of Alice’s nightmares, crawls into the clothes of Freddy and he is reborn. Because, well, why not. But Alice seems to forget that all she needs to do to kill Freddy is point a mirror at him, because he becomes murderous again. Meanwhile, Alice is pregnant too (in a plot point that lacks surprise since, you know, they called the movie DREAM CHILD). So Freddy is trying to pump the kid full of Freddy juice while Alice gets an ultrasound. This scene is awkward, terrible, and confusing.


But, on the other hand, it is ambitious. The kills in this movie all try to be bigger and more grotesque that the high level of gore established by the previous films. Sometimes these kills feel too elaborate for their own good, like a motorcycle death which goes on for too long. Some are just absurd, like an overeating scene which I guarantee was not watched by the makers of EVEN before they filmed the gluttony bit. And then there is the comic book kill. That annoying character, Mark, falls asleep and drops into a comic world. The scene design is smart, simple, and interesting. It manages to be one of the more clever concepts in the series. But then Freddy turns into a muscular Dick Tracy type villain and it gets stupid. This may be redeemed by a bit of a clever kill in the following moments, but the inconsistency makes this nothing more than an interesting oddity.

Some of the movies in this series, especially 2 and 4, are fairly lazy entries in the series. This fifth one isn’t lazy. It wants to be good. It just drastically misunderstands the concept of good. In trying to make Freddy a post-EVIL DEAD comedic villain, the movie gets the tone all wrong. It also has moments where it turns Freddy into a guy scared by his surroundings, which really feels out of place. Further, in trying to be interesting, the movie often extends beyond its technical capabilities, as in a poorly effected staircase scene which channels MC Escher as drawn by a middle school art student. But I give this movie credit for trying, for wanting to be more than just another sequel. It just can’t be nearly as good or clever as it wants to. I bet if  Director Stephen Hopkins (who would later be one of the execs on the TV series 24) a budget in line with a modern horror film that he would be able to provide us with a really interesting horror film. His skills, budget, and resources (not to mention a truncated production time by all accounts) just were not in place in 1989 to deliver a quality movie.

So I walk away from NIGHTMARE 5 feeling underwhelmed but, at least, somewhat interested. There were some bad stretches in this movie, but I’ll take actively bad over passively boring.




FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on October 22, 2014.

5 Responses to “johnlink ranks A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD (1989)”

  1. I actually really liked this one. For me, the odd numbered entries are tops, the even ones rubbish.

    • Funny how that works out. I am generally feeling the same, though three is better than one or five in my book so far.
      With the original Star Trek movies, it was the opposite. The even numbered ones were fine and the odd numbered ones were brutal.

  2. The weird thing about this movie. You could take out the Freddy stuff and you wouldn’t miss him. His scenes don’t seem to fit with the rest of the movie. Nice review.

  3. […] times. And he was hilarious. This one is memorable for the perfect mix of horror and comedy…Baby Freddy (scroll down just a bit to see the […]

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