Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child Film Review


Director: Stephen Hopkins
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox
Series: A Nightmare on Elm Street
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 90 minutes

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Better Not Dream and Drive and/or Making This Movie

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

If A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 was a movie that signaled that the Nightmare franchise was in decline, then the fifth installment of this series all but confirms that decline has shifted to free fall.  

The Dream Child looks to take the franchise in a newer and darker direction, but it does so by ignoring a lot of the previously established rules in the franchise. Normally I wouldn’t care except they’re continue the story from Nightmare’s 3 and 4, so logically the rules should remain the same, or new differences should be explained.  This never happens, and along with some terrible acting performances this turns into one of the worst films in the franchise.

It’s been a year since Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her boyfriend Dan (Danny Hassel ) defeated Freddy (Robert Englund) and now they’re graduating high school, making new friends, and preparing for their futures.  But Freddy can’t seem to die and this time our clawed friend has returned through the dreams of an unborn child, all while looking for revenge against the people responsible for defeating him in the last movie.

For the film going audience that wanted Alice to take her clothes off in the previous film but were ultimately left disappointed … you don’t have to wait long in this movie.  The opening credits is a lengthy sex scene, followed by a shower scene, followed by a Freddy’s coming back scene.  While Alice is a pretty young lady, it’s never a good sign when the film you’re about to see chooses a sex scene to grab your attention … at this point you know the word quality was going to be thrown out the window. And out the window it goes …

Freddy’s resurrection scene see’s him being brought back to life in the church where Alice defeated him in the last movie.  I’ll admit this resurrection’s a little less ridiculous then the dog pissing onto Freddy’s bones in the last movie, but it’s longer, a whole lot more boring, and the keyword is “a little less” ridiculous.  Speaking of ridiculous, after Alice defeats Freddy with the mirror in the last movie, you’d think she’d remember to try that again in this movie … she doesn’t.  The fact that Freddy’s weakness is mirrors isn’t even mentioned in this movie makes it feel like the new director and writers didn’t even watch the last one.

Alice and Dan’s new friends include comic book artist Mark (Joe Seely), Mark’s crush and swimmer Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter), and model in training Greta (Erika Anderson). Hurray! Fresh meat for Freddy. There’s a lot wrong with this movie, and I quite frankly don’t feel like going through all of it so here are some quick hits. I have to mention the relationship between Greta and her mom.  It’s pretty awful, bad enough to be compared to the relationship between Kristen and her mom in the last movie.  While asshole parents continue to be a running motif in the franchise, Alice’s father Dennis seems to be recovering from his alcohol addiction.  This potentially makes him the first parent to be redeemed, unfortunately he still doesn’t know how to make his own dinners. Alice’s doctor adds a nice touch of misogyny to the movie as he equates Freddy’s reemergence in her life to “woman’s troubles.”

While the last film kind of explored alcoholism … if you could even call it that, The Dream Child tries to explore teen pregnancies.  This is a divisive topic to cover, and quite frankly feels extremely odd in a silly horror movie.  Not only does this feel like an attempt to cause controversy to increase ticket sales, it inspires some of the worst one-liners in the franchise.  Freddy screaming, “It’s a boy!” shortly after being reborn comes to mind.

When Freddy isn’t screaming generic baby lines, he’s excessively using the word bitch, like he’s got a patent on it. Credit to Englund though for making it through some of the worst dialogue in the series, and once again being the only actor to look like an actual actor. Apart from a few solid kills, this is a forgettable affair and a blemish on the buttocks of movies with Freddy Krueger in them.

Score: 3.5

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