Sunday, November 9, 2014

In short: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Brain A: “So, how are we going to get Freddy back up and running this time? We already had the fire-pissing dog.”

Brain B: “Well, then how about…how about Alice is pregnant and Freddy something-something tries to be reborn something-something through her unborn child?”

Brain A:”Yes! Something-something! Brilliant! And he can only be beaten back again if Alice finds the remains of Freddy’s mother! Because that totally makes sense!”

Brain B: “Now to the important bits. How many kills?”

This, or something very much like it must have happened during the first brainstorming sessions for the fifth and still not final A Nightmare on Elm Street movie. You really don’t need to know more about the plot than this, apart from the fact that Alice (still Lisa Wilcox, who also just happens to be the only actor on screen actually putting effort in, despite the film really not deserving any) has somehow managed to acquire a new group of friends none of whom know anything about Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund in a performance so phoned-in I wouldn’t even be sure it isn’t a professional Englund double if he weren’t listed in the credits) or the absurdly high death rate among their age peer group even though they must have been on the same school as the last two bunches of Freddy victims, so Freddy has somebody to kill.

Needless to say, while I found more than enough to criticize about Nightmare movie numero four, this is the low point of the Nightmare series up to this point, with a script that just copies various plot beats from the films that came before it without adding anything to them or making any interesting changes – unless increasing their stupidity counts – but really only ever wants to get to the next special effects sequence with a now completely idiotic Freddy doing lame wise-cracks. Everything that isn’t an effects scene, neither director Stephen Hopkins nor screenwriter Leslie Bohem seem to have even the least interest in, leading to a shoddily written mess that probably thinks “It’s all happening in dreams” is an excuse for its complete lack of…well, an interesting plot, engaging characters or just simply good ideas. Too bad that excuse is already disproven by – at least – Nightmares one and three.

Even worse, the effects sequences in general aren’t even very good, with technical flaws meeting boring conceptions meeting a lack of imagination, style and humour that really turn this one into a film that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Halloween: Resurrection or Jason takes Manhattan. And yet, it’s still not the worst of the NIghtmare on Elm Street films…

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