Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Film Review



Not As Good As A Wet Dream

(Spoilers for the previous three Nightmare on Elm Street movies are below).

Watch this opening!

You know when a movie starts like that, you’re going to be in for a rough ride … especially when it’s a horror film.  Despite an intro that suggests what you’re about to watch is a softcore porn, DreamMaster is not as bad as it looks… which by this point it should look awful. There are some entertaining deaths, ridiculous fight scenes, and a even a few trippy moments.  This isn’t a good movie, or a truly terrible movie, it’s just entertainment with a whole mess of silly flaws and creative decisions.

After being released from the mental institution Kristen Parker (Tuesday Knight), Joey Peterson (Rodney Eastman ), and Roland Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) are back at high school trying to put their lives back together. Freddy (Robert Englund) is resurrected and soon begins to terrorize the trio.  Kristen tries to warn her new friends Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her brother Rick (Andras Jones) about their impending danger.

That song you’re listening to in the opening title sequence is sung by Tuesday Knight, who takes over the role of Kristen from Patrica Arquette.  I’m guessing this was supposed to be a career launching moment for her, and after listening to that song, thankfully it wasn’t.  Losing Patricia Arquette is not a terrible loss in casting, but needless to say Kristen’s role in this movie is limited as the focus eventually starts to shift to her friend Alice and her brother Rick.

Alice is a daydreamer, and a character that is struggling to find her identity.  She too will eventually get sucked into Freddy’s dreamworld, though by the time she discovers who she is nearly everyone she ever cared about has died. It’s dichotomies like these that ruin any chance of endearing character development.

With no characters to care about, all that’s left is to hope for some solid killing scenes. You can count on those, as this film features one of my all time favorite slasher deaths. Other entertaining aspects include Alice’s brother Rick who appears to have been greatly influenced by the great Japanese art of karate.  We get a lengthy musical sequence where Rick is air punching and kicking his “awesome” karate moves in the garage. Shortly after there’s a scene where he’s giving his sister some good “what westerners think a karate master’s sound advice should sound like.” From the minute Rick begins his Japanese schtick, you’re dying to see him meet Freddy. Unfortunately for Rick, it’s a shame you can’t dropkick your dreams.

Spoilers for Freddy’s resurrection in this movie are below … you really shouldn’t care though.

Freddy’s resurrection is laughable. A dog literally pisses fire over where Freddy’s bones were buried at the end of the third movie.  Shortly after a fissure splits the ground and Freddy is back.

Spoilers over.

Parenting skills reach an all time low in this movie. At one point one character’s mother tells her daughter “she’s just tired,” when she laments the loss of two of her friends that were recently killed by Freddy. The mother then drugs her daughter with sleeping pills after she mentions she’s seeing Freddy again, in effect basically killing her.  EPIC PARENTING FAIL!

Alice’s mother is dead, and her father has turned into an alcoholic, but she is too timid to confront him about the issue.  Alcoholism was supposed to be one of the underlying issues explored in this movie, but it’s ultimately left at the wayside.  Not helping the anti-alcohol message, is the fact that most of the people touting it are all chronic smokers.

DreamMaster has enough entertaining moments to see it through to the end.  There are some plot twists early on that I was really thankful for and it at least allowed the film to make an attempt at standing on its own.  Freddy Englund continues to be great at the role that’s defined his career, and the final showdown is also pretty epic, albeit it will look pretty ridiculous especially to a modern movie audience.

Until Freddy vs. Jason came out this was the highest grossing film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.  To be honest that’s kind of sad, because it encouraged the creation of more Freddie movies and what comes after this doesn’t smell like roses.

Score: 5.5

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