A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master ★½

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: 80’s Neon and Missed Opportunities - starring Off-Brand Patricia Arquette and Off-brand Christian Slater

This is the first one in the series I haven't seen, and I just want to rant a bit. Literally just finished watching this one, and usually I like to give myself a couple days before I write a review to think about the film. Not this time. With these kinds of films you either go full absurd or completely serious. The Friday series does that well, so does the Halloween series, or look at the Chucky series. Even I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, which are exceptions to the rule because they blend absurd satire and a serious tone, they do it well! Dream Master had some of the most absurd shit I’ve ever seen, and then would turn around and want us to take it completely serious; as if a dog didn’t just fire-piss Freddy back to life. By the way, what the fuck was up with that? Kincaid and his dog are in a dream, digging up Freddy’s remains from the 3rd film, but if they’re in a dream; if so then how’re they reacting to real life objects? You could say it’s Freddy metaphorically coming back to life, but that little hellhound literally digs up and pisses fire on Freddy’s grave. The plot also didn’t really make sense and seems to be full of half thoughts. Why bring back the Dream Warriors we loved, just to so easily kill them off in the beginning? Why did the mute kid suddenly start talking? They show and mention Alice’s abusive dad several times, but there’s no pay off there either?

Visually, NOES4 is great. I loved the 80’s neon everywhere, I loved the sets, and the special effects were great. It just bugs me that horror films, most of them not just this series, insist on these rules to their worlds and then break them if breaking them means easier writing; Freddy can interact with the real world, but also Freddy can only hurt you in your dreams. Freddy’s “children” have powers, and now they can inexplicably pass powers between one another too, which was never even talked about once before. Also these powers seem super useful to defeating Freddy and then in the end they’re completely useless and it’s something like a child's poem that defeats him? I just wasn’t a fan of NOES4. It was more of everything I disliked from 3 and less of everything I liked from 3. Plus no Patricia Arquette? Wtf is that shit. I wish it had chosen to just be completely absurd instead of trying to go back and forth between absurd and serious. More of that Kafkaesque body horror and soul pizza, and less of the shy girl, with a crush on a boy, being abused by her single father. Best Nightmare soundtrack, though.

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