A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

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

Hoop-Tober 2018 Entry #5

We've gone full cartoon Freddy Krueger at this point. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER marks the point I realized I can't stand Renny Harlin as a filmmaker, and that barring the first, third, and last in the original series I have absolutely no appetite for Freddy's schtick.

The quick summary: Quickly picking up after the good will earned from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS the survivors are picked off rather quickly but not before previous heroine Kristen imparts her dream pulling powers to mousy friend Alice, who inexplicably can now absorb the powers of her Freddy killed friends. A showdown ensues as Freddy has plans for her to draw new children into his trap.

In a word, oof. Freddy's not only become a pale parody of himself, but the kills have become pale parodies as well - by having Freddy "play" in the dream worlds of the mental patient kids in DREAM WARRIORS we've lost the real dread of terror coming from mundane dreams....there's still not a more terrifying image than the original when Nancy falls asleep in class to see her friend dragged through the school halls in a body bag. Craven understood that the horror comes from the nightmare mixing with reality, but here Harlin paints everything in such broad strokes you never once feel that unease. That coupled with Englund's performance ratcheting up the goof makes for one of the worst entries in the series.

If there's any saving graces, it's a few instances toward the end. In one brief moment, we see the main characters repeating actions, not knowing Freddy is purposefully putting them in a loop to keep them from stopping his reign of terror. Then there's the brief bit of practical effects at the climax as the souls of Freddy bulge out of his body, and arms sprout from everywhere to pin him against a wall.

Ultimately though the film goes absolutely nowhere except to set up the notion that even though all the original Elm Streets kids are dead Freddy has a way to get more children (and more movies in the franchise)...it's nothing but a stop gap to yet another subpar movie. You may find the film fun in a cheesy way, but with zero scares and no real reason to exist it's a bore.